Former Oxford star heading to Jacksonville State
by Al Muskewitz
Jul 11, 2013 | 3332 views |  0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As Michael Flint contemplated the next chapter of a college football career that had reached a crossroad, there really were only two elements that defined the equation:

Getting back on the field again and finding a place he would be most comfortable.

Jacksonville State provided both.

The former Oxford lineman confirmed Thursday he had signed and submitted his letter of intent to JSU earlier in the day, completing his transfer from Arkansas State. One piece of administrative work remained for him to formally become part of the team, but for all intents he is a Gamecock, to be reunited with his former high school coach John Grass.

“It just about is the perfect fit,” Flint said Thursday night. “I want to be at a program where I sort of know the coaches and how they run their offense, somewhere I fit in right. And I saw it as a way to get on the field and play again; that’s what I’ve been missing.

“Playing for Coach Grass and being around the other coaches, it made me feel like I settled in. The offensive coordinator was my high school coach. I’m at home where everybody knows me. It’s perfect.”

The 6-3, 310-pound high school All-American had his pick of major-college suitors during his senior year at Oxford. He was courted by then-Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and signed with Arkansas State when Malzahn got the job there. Malzahn went back to Auburn as head coach, but if Flint followed he’d have to sit out another year after already redshirting.

He decided in the spring he was going to leave the Red Wolves. He might not have been headed to Auburn, but he wasn’t staying at Arkansas State.

Todd Bates, the former Cleburne County and Alabama standout, reached out, offering Flint a chance to get back to the SEC through the Mississippi junior college route, but Flint turned his focus to JSU after contacting his former coach.

Flint said Grass’ presence at JSU was a “major influence” in his decision to sign with the Gamecocks. He also said he was “really shocked and overwhelmed” at the upgrades the program had made since he left for Arkansas and called them “nicer than a lot of Division I schools I’ve been around.”

With Flint’s signing, the Gamecocks continue to fill a big need on their roster. They lost two starters on the offensive line to graduation, and one of the returning starters — tackle Tarik Milner — missed most of the spring with an injury.

“I was impressed with the talent level we had when we got here, but one of my concerns was depth on the offensive line,” Gamecocks head coach Bill Clark said. “In the spring we had a hard time getting 10 guys out there. Getting another guy is going to be a big deal.

“There are all kind of things you can do to fit an offense — five receivers, three backs — but you can’t play without five lineman. And you’ve got to have depth. You have to have about seven or eight guys who can play who ought to be interchangeable. We sure didn’t have that.”

Flint is expected to be a guard, but has experience with Grass at tackle as well and is willing to work there for the good of the team.

“They’re going to be successful at Jacksonville State and I know it’s coming soon, and I can’t wait to be a part of it,” Flint said.

Sports Writer Al Muskewitz: 256-235-3577. On Twitter @almusky_star.
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