During his sophomore year, West Jessamine’s Derrick Little was just another player among the masses, according to his coach, Graham Heasley.
“Derrick’s sophomore year, my first year here, you couldn’t give me a plug nickel for him,” Heasley said. “I watched him play; he wouldn’t try very hard; he didn’t seem very good.”
But over the next few years, Heasley watched Little transform himself from a bit player to a starting lineman and kicker, and on Monday, the former coach of the West Jessamine Colts watched his player sign to play college football at Lindsey Wilson College.
“After his sophomore season, he made up his mind in the weight room that he was going to be a football player and he was going to start for West Jessamine,” Heasley said. “That winter in the weight room, he worked his tail off and last winter he worked his tail off.”
It wasn’t just the work Little did in the weight room and on the field that made the biggest difference, Heasley said. Little’s tale of achievement began in the classroom.
“Derrick is the sixth (player) to sign to play college football in the last three years, so this is a pretty big deal,” Heasley said. “Every one of them put themselves in position academically to make this happen, and that’s where it all starts. None of this matters unless you put your academic house in order.”
Little, who is going to be a place kicker for the Blue Raiders, said he chose Lindsey Wilson based on his recruiting trip to the school located in Columbia, Ky.
“I really liked the campus,” he said. “It’s smaller, but it’s big enough where you get that big-city feel. Their facility is really nice, and the coaches do a great job down there.”
Heasley said Little’s signing to play at the next level is a testament of what hard work and determination can do.
“He went out on his own to kick to become a better kicker, and he turned himself into an excellent high-school offensive tackle at 5-foot-9 and 240 pounds,” Heasley said. “He did it through sheer will and desire. He learned to do everything exactly right; he was a technician. He didn’t fit the part (to play left tackle), except that he did it right.”
Little will be playing for a Blue Raider program that finished 3-8 in 2012.