MAHONE: Don't judge a player just by his size

Derrick Mahone

Derrick Mahone

In sports, size does matter.

If it didn't, Jermaine Hough would be playing his college football in the Southeastern Conference or some other major conference.

Instead, the former Lovejoy two-sport standout is playing at Jacksonville State in Alabama. The Gamecocks play a good brand of football in the Football Championship Subdivision, the second-highest level in the NCAA.

But it is still not the same as the big lights of college football's highest division. It's not the same as playing in front of thousands of fans on national television.

It's all because Hough didn't have the measurables coming out of Lovejoy in 2012.

He was deemed undersized at the cornerback position, but college coaches and recruiting services didn't measure his heart or desire.

Unfortunately for Hough, that is something that just doesn't appear on the state sheet.

And lucky for Hough, he has plenty of it.

Hough is listed at 5-foot-10 on the Jacksonville State roster, but he plays much better than his height and 163-pound frame.

This past January, he was named to the College Sports Journal Freshman All-American Football team after finishing seventh on the team with 42 tackles, including 29 solo hits in 11 games. He led the team with three interceptions and last October was named National Freshman of the Week by The Sports Network.

There is no doubt that he has made an impact with his new team.

And those that have followed Lovejoy football are not surprised. After leading the Lovejoy Wildcats to the Class AAAA title game in 2011, Hough was named the classification’s player of the year by the Associated Press.

He was also the Clayton News-Daily's defensive player of the year.

What Hough lacks in size, he more than makes up for it in other areas. He, no doubt, is skillful enough to play in the big boy division, but few gave him a shot.

Their loss is definitely Jacksonville State's gain.

Here's hoping that in a couple of years, as the Lovejoy graduate continues to progress, the NFL might overlook his size.

But not matter what path he choses, Hough is almost guaranteed to be a success.

Derrick Mahone is the sports editor of the Clayton News-Daily newspaper. He can be reached at dmahone@news-daily.com. On Twitter? @DerrickMahone_