By LEE BRECHEEN, Louisiana Football Magazine
Some kids make preseason recruiting “lists” like this because they deserve it as a leader or as a “sleeper” to play a different position in college than the one they would play in high school.
Kris Mesloh of Parkway is someone who brings leadership, high effort and intensity to his team and plays where the team needs him more than where he might could play in college.
If you watch a game and you’re a college coach, you won’t see Mesloh as a defensive lineman in college at the FBS schools like LSU, Louisiana Tech, ULL, ULM and Tulane. But if you watch a lot of film — and I do — you have to think outside the box and take kids like this because of what they bring to the table and the team in terms of leadership and toughness.
I see Mesloh as a 5-11, 225 middle or “Mike” linebacker. That means he would have to move off the line and play a linebacker spot, and that means run side-to-side to make tackles in space with players who run on the average, just at the FCS level, 4.65 or even 4.55 in the 40.
He plays more on the defensive line for Parkway as a stand-up defensive end and also as a hand-in-the-dirt defensive lineman to stop the run, because that’s where the team needs him.
I am not saying he can’t play defensive end in college, but parents out there need to know the average defensive end in FBS goes 6-2 to 6-5 and weighs 250 to 290. All run in the 4.5 to 4.8 range. In FCS, you can walk on as a defensive end at his size, but if he makes the switch to middle linebacker in college, he would walk on or perhaps sign as a middle linebacker and learn the position.
What he has is determination, high effort, and strength. And he loves the game, which usually means a true football player will make it in spite of the measurables. Desire, intelligence, toughness all are pivotal for young men like Mesloh, and he’s got those attributes.
And this for college coaches: sometimes you just need players in your program who love the game and can become productive players, even standouts in your system if given an opportunity. There are endless examples at every level, especially at the lower end of FBS and in FCS, and in the smaller divisions.
Mesloh will play at Parkway this fall anywhere from 220 to 230 pounds.
I also like him as a fullback in college because he’s got the toughness for it and loves the game. He would also be viewed as FBS-caliber in size at fullback at 5-11, 225 or 230. With his background in wrestling, I think he could go that route as a walk-on fullback. Some kids who go FBS as fullback walk-ons end up starting two or three years and get on scholarship. I remember a former Ruston player named John David Moore who walked on at LSU and started three years as a fullback and made All-SEC.
To give you an idea of what Mesloh brings to the table, in 2021 he had 52½ tackles, 2½ sacks, 9½ tackles for losses and three fumble recoveries.
“We started Kris as a sophomore at linebacker and he grew into a defensive lineman for us as a defensive end,” Parkway head coach Coy Brotherton said. “Moved to defensive end in 2021, has a high motor, really great with his hands, and is a big-time leader for us among our 29 seniors we have in 2022.”
Mesloh is a three-year starter.
“I love playing football because I have done it all of my life and it makes me excited every play,” said Mesloh. “I love defense because it allows me to do ‘me’ and lets me do whatever I need to get the job done.”
Notes on Kris Mesloh: He would like to major in either electrical engineering or kinesiology in college.
Among his favorite colleges are Mississippi State, ULL and Harding (Ark.). He has not received any offers.
His list of hobbies include “going on vacation with my family and hanging with friends because I can make lots of memories with them. I also love to wrestle. Last season I went 33-5 on the season and finished third at state.”
His family connections with college and athletics include his mom, who was offered a scholarship to play softball for Louisiana Tech but “got injured,” he said. “Dad was offered a few scholarships in wrestling but also got injured.”
In the classroom Mesloh has a 3.8 GPA and made a 22 on his ACT.
Contact Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org