By Thomas Sellers Jr.
When a program is under construction, some of the building blocks may go unnoticed.
In 2012 and 2013, the Munford Cougars were under .500 and even larger players like Brytain Peddy still flew under the radar for college scouts. But enter JR Kirby to lead the Munford Cougar Football program.
Along with his staff, Kirby challenged all the players, especially the seniors to become winners. Those senior accepted the challenged and four players reaped the benefits on National Signing Day. The biggest one that day was of course Peddy inking a letter of intent to play for The University of Memphis.
“Brytain Peddy is 6’5, 310 pounds,” Kirby noted. “I’ve talked to every coach who wanted to know about him. They wanted to know why he was under the radar. I think the main thing he did was mature mentally toward these last few months.
“He would tell you he wasn’t where he needed to be mentally,” he added. “Physically he was there and we just added to it as far as the weight room. Mentally it finally clicked with him midway through the season on how good he could be and how dominate of a player he could be. And it was shown about Dyer County Week 4 and on.”
The Cougars rolled off win after win finishing second in District 13-3A and reaching the Class 5A playoffs. The collegiate spotlight was back on Munford Football. Bethel came for three players, Xavier Throckmorton, Trae Doty and McKenzie Russell.
Meanwhile Peddy helping to pave the way for record-breaking running back David Simon garnered him All-Star attention.
“He showed that (dominance) in the Liberty Bowl All-Star Game too,” Kirby noted. “He showed, ‘This guy can play,’ and He got some guys’ attention that he could play at the next level. He’s got every tool. He just has to go do it. We’re very excited for him to have this opportunity. A Division I signee, they don’t come around all the time.”
Many coaches came calling to talk to Kirby about Peddy including Memphis Head Coach Justin Fuente and his offensive coordinator.
“Peddy going to Memphis, he came on late,” Kirby said. “He really showed what he could do in the All-Star game. They’re really high on him. They think he can be a good one for the future. For us at Munford, to put us on the map and give us some recognition is really big.
“We’re really grateful for that and excited for these guys,” he added. “Hopefully for years to come we can experience that every year. I think we’ve got some guys who can do that in the future.”
Peddy said being one of the cornerstones for the return of National Signing Day to Munford makes him proud. And he never doubted he could reach his dream of signing a letter of intent on the first Wednesday in February.
“There haven’t been a lot of people who had faith in me,” he said. “But I’ve seen myself on this day. I’ve always had goals. I’ve worked toward those goals and it has led to this day. I’m really proud of myself. I’m proud of the coaching staff leading me into the right direction. I’m so blessed to have them in my life.”
Kirby and staff pushing Peddy led to a season to remember collectively and individually.
“It’s been one hack of a year,” he said. “I’ve been so blessed playing in these All-Star games and just having all this fun meeting good people. It’s just a true blessing.
“I’m very excited to go to Memphis. I had offers from ‘bigger schools,’ a couple of ACC schools,” he continued. “But the thing for me, I wanted to stay home. I’m a Memphis Tiger. I always wanted to be a Memphis Tiger. I’m just excited and I believe in what Coach Fuentas is doing down there. I’m just excited to get ready to go. I’m ready to hit the fall.”
Kirby said Peddy and his senior teammates will be missed, but he’s glad they will carry the Cougar name onto the next level.
“Personally I’m really happy for these guys,” he said. “It shows they put in the work to get to the next level. It’s been some of their goals and aspirations to do that. We’ve talked about it personally. Didn’t know if it would happen but for us to get four guys signed today I think says a lot about not just me or the coaching staff, but to these kids buying in and taking it to another level.
“Nobody really expected a lot from us because what has happened in the past,” Kirby added. “We just erased the past and went forward. They just went to work and said, ‘We want to be good.’ Winning is a great testimony to these kids and they’re going to be hard to replace. I’m happy for them and excited for them representing Munford Football the way its supposed to be.”
Now Peddy will have a chance to represent Cougar Football at a winning program. The Tigers went 10-3 this past season winning the American Athletic Conference championship. Memphis ended it’s 2014 season with the Miami Beach Bowl title.
Now the winning Tigers will join forces with the proven winner Peddy.
“I’m shocked but I worked so hard for this,” Peddy concluded. “And that’s what it comes down to for me. I worked for this. I’m proud of myself and I’m proud of the coaches. It means a lot to me.”