Former MGCCC star Savage earns spot with Kansas City Chiefs
September 3, 2008
During the 2008 NFL season, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Bulldog fans will keep a close eye on what’s happening with the Kansas City Chiefs. That’s because former Bulldog Dantrell Savage will be suiting up for Kansas City this season. Savage earned NJCAA and J.C. Gridiron News All-American honors after two stellar seasons at Gulf Coast, rushing for 1,249 yards and averaging 138.8 yards per game as a sophomore. That 2005 team ended up winning the MACJC South Division title and earned the Bulldogs first trip to a bowl game since 1986. The following is a feature story on Savage courtesy of the Associated Press:
Rookie Dantrell Savage impresses Chiefs’ coach
by Associated Press
Monday, August 18, 2008
KANSAS CITY — The odds were long entering training camp that Dantrell Savage would make the Kansas City Chiefs roster when the season opened, but he has picked up a big fan in head coach Herm Edwards.
Savage rushed for 2,092 yards, averaging 6 yards a carry, in two years at Oklahoma State, but he was passed over in the NFL draft. The Chiefs signed him out of a tryout camp, and in the first two preseason games he has opened some eyes.
“He’s like a bowling ball with butcher knives on him,” Edwards said after practice Monday. “It’s hard to tackle the guy. He’s not the biggest guy. He’s probably not the fastest guy.
That’s probably why he wasn’t drafted, but then you look what he accomplished at Oklahoma State.
“He doesn’t go down on the first hit. If you think you can just hit him with your shoulders and don’t wrap him up, you’ve got problems. He’s going to make yards. He’s got a very strong base. He’s got powerful legs.”
When Savage returned an Arizona kickoff 45 yards in a pre-season game to set up a Chiefs field goal, Edwards congratulated Savage on the sidelines.
“I said, ‘That’s what I like,” Edwards said. “‘You just keep running like that. You keep doing that.’”
Savage said Edwards’ words “meant a whole lot.”
“It meant I’m a little bit closer to making this team,” Savage said.
Savage is listed as a running back, but on the depth chart he’s behind two-time Pro Bowl selection Larry Johnson; Kolby Smith, who rushed for 150 yards against Oakland last year after Johnson was injured; and Jamaal Charles, a third-round pick who rushed for 1,619 yards last year at Texas.
Savage made the final roster and proved he is worthy of returning kickoffs and punts. He did not return punts in Kansas City’s preseason opener against the Chicago Bears, but returned two for 18 yards in the 27-17 loss to the Cardinals.
“We challenged him two weeks ago,” Edwards said. “I said, ‘I want you to catch punts everyday after practice cause I want to get you in a game and see how you react.’ To his credit before the game, they took the JUGS machine out there because he’s never really caught balls under the lights. He wanted to be prepared to catch them in a game and he did a good job.”
Will Edwards feel comfortable with Savage fielding punts during the regular season?
“That’s what we’re going to find out in the next two weeks,” Edwards said. “That’s a tough spot, catching punts. It looks easy, but that ball takes funny turns.”
Savage knows that if he can handle those chores, it’s his ticket to stay in the NFL. At 5-8 and 182 pounds, he relishes his longshot role.
“I love it,” he said. “Being an underdog, it motivates me. They also say I’m too small. It motivates me to play harder and dig down deep.”
SAVAGE AT OSU
Speedy runner appeared in 22 games (16 starts) during his two-year career at Oklahoma State … Rushed 349 times for 2,092 yards (6.0 avg.) with 17 TDs … Also caught 35 passes for 307 yards (8.8 avg.) and two TDs.
2007: Started 11 games … Led the Cowboys with 223 carries for 1,272 yards (5.7 avg.) with nine TDs … Added 27 receptions for 259 yards (23.5 avg.) with two TDs … Set a career high with 212 rushing yards vs. Nebraska.
2006: Played in 11 games (five starts), finishing with a team-high 126 carries for 820 yards (6.5 avg.) with eight TDs … Named the Offensive MVP of the PetroSun Independence Bowl after rushing for 112 yards and a TD vs. Alabama … Majored in Education at Oklahoma State.
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