Vidal Scott's Focused on Having Fun
Now there's a perspective worth keeping while playing college sports. Especially when the finish line is right in front of DT Vidal Scott's face.
Welcome to The Ypsilanti Eleven! Let’s talk about the transfer portal a little bit. And by that, I mean let’s talk to somebody who went through the portal and found themselves committing to Eastern Michigan for their final year of football.
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Transfer Portal Update: May 11, 2022
DT Vidal Scott wants to make great memories
One of Eastern Michigan’s late additions through the transfer portal this year should bring a lot of experience to the team’s interior defensive line.
Vidal Scott, from Pensacola, Fla., chose EMU as his fourth and final college to play at. He originally signed with FCS-level Central Arkansas out of high school back in 2017 (West Florida Tech), but when he finally saw just how good of a first step he had against some of the offensive linemen he stood across, he went he junior college route to try and level-up.
You might already know the rest from a quick glance at his player bio page. From UCA, Scott wound up at Hinds Community College, ended up transferring up to Arkansas State, played 23 games and started in 16 of those in his two seasons as a Red Wolf, and now he’s going to use his extra year of from the 2020 pandemic year as a transfer graduate student.
The traditional line of thinking is that Scott accomplished what he planned to out of JUCO, but now maybe it’s time to try and level up one more time? Or go anywhere where scouts will pay attention to you? Isn’t getting to The League the ultimate dream at the end of the day?
But Scott wears #42 as a defensive tackle because he’s different.
Yes, he loves the competition, and he loves to dominate at the middle of the line of scrimmage. However, Scott’s future plans aren’t completely dictated by all the stress that usually comes with trying to impress NFL scouts.
When I called Scott to ask him about his future plans, I was actually the first one to bring up the NFL maybe five minutes into our conversation. The reason I brought up the NFL was because I curious why he hadn’t done so.
Whenever recruits, especially the young ones, are asked what goals they might have for themselves entering the college arena, there’s a good chance that they might say that they want to play the game at the highest level.
“Don't get me wrong, I do care about the NFL, but it's just 50/50 for me,” Scott said. “Yeah it'd be great, but at the same time it's not the end of the world.”
Scott looked around and saw how so many talented players would drown themselves in anxiety over chasing NFL dreams, which may or may not have ever come to them.
“I've literally like six months left to play collegiate football. I just want to live in those six months, because who knows what's going to happen after those six months? That was really the biggest thing for me. I just want to make sure I wanted to get the most fulfillment out of these last six months of my collegiate career.”
Scott saw what he was looking for when he took a mid-week trip up to Eastern ahead of the team’s spring game. He wants to have the time of his life, but that doesn’t come without winning. At Eastern, he sees the team getting a MAC ring, and winning a bowl game.
When head coach Chris Creighton showed Scott a slideshow of the team’s success during this tenure, the d-lineman saw what he was looking for. A win at Rutgers. A win at Purdue; Illinois. Big wins over Western Michigan; Toledo. Four bowl games over six years.
Maybe that all sounds like small potatoes. But those moments were not taken for granted by the players in the pictures, and they were the kind of images Scott saw himself being in.
“When I had met with (Creighton), he showed me a great Power Point and he showed me about the Power 5 schools he beat, the bowl games, … it just showed me great memories the team had together,” Scott said. “My previous schools, it was never like that. I don't mean to talk down on (Arkansas State), but it felt like everybody was on their own path or their own journey, nobody was together.”
“As soon as I got (to EMU), everybody was really friendly and welcoming, nobody was cutting their eyes at me or anything like that. There really wasn't anything for me to think about.”
Out of high school, Scott got to Central Arkansas and admitted that he started to hate football. Once he left and got to Hinds C.C. in Raymond, Miss., Scott said he learned how much he loved the game.
“The guys I went to JUCO with, I still talk to them to this day. Even if it's not a full conversation, we'll still chat it up on social media,” Scott said. “JUCO was a hell of an experience. Truly, if I could do it all over again, I probably would… To withstand some of those circumstances just to play football, you really have to love the game. I started to feel that same feeling I had when I was 12 years old, especially when I was out there dominating. And everybody around me in JUCO was just for each other. It wasn't just one selfish person, now everybody had the same objective because everybody was dealing with the same circumstances.”
Now as a member of the Eagles, Scott has the chance to start at the beginning of the season, and be a senior leader for the younger guys in his position room. At Arkansas State, Scott was on the field for 941 total snaps (per Pro Football Focus), which is more than what anybody else from EMU’s interior d-line group can currently say. The career snap counts for EMU’s returning DTs: Alex Merritt’s at 727 career snaps, Peyton Price with 223, Aaron Hamilton 187, Dexter Manior 60 (58 at EMU, 2 at Navy), Tim Grant-Randall 20, and Melvin Swindle II 7.
Within those 941 snaps, Scott got in on 42 tackles, 9 for loss (3 sacks), and broke up one pass.
“I'm trying to come in there, add some dogs to the defense, and also try to be a leader to the team. I don't want it to be just about myself, I actually want to care about the person next to me. I actually want to play for the person next to me. I want to feel what that feels like.
“I'm going in to be a starter, but I also want to be a leader and a team player. I also want to bring joy and some static out there.”
Local DE Sterling Miles comes in, and other notes
INCOMING: DE Sterling Miles from Cincinnati
Adding local talent through the transfer portal is always a good move in my eyes. Eastern added DE Sterling Miles from Cincinnati as part of its post-spring portal management. Miles is from West Bloomfield and signed with the Bearcats in 2020. Out of HS, he had a 3-star rating by 247sports composite and held offers from nine MAC schools, Minnesota, Temple, and Washington State.
COMMITTED: OL Coleon Smith to Southern Illinois
Smith made his announcement on Friday that he was headed to Southern Illinois. Smith was a huge loss for EMU’s O-line room, considering he was a 3-star recruit with Power 5 offers (Kentucky, Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas, Maryland, West Virginia) out of local Belleville HS, and a member of the 2020 signing class meant he left with plenty of projection left in him.
COMMITTED: QB Baron May to East Tennessee
May tweeted out his announcement to join East Tennessee State last weekend. The former 3-star QB out of New Philadelphia, Ohio who likely wasn’t going to see the field again in 2022 .
OUTGOING: CB, Thomas Shorack
Shorack was a former walk-on at Arizona State who tried his hand at Eastern Michigan for two years before hitting the portal again. Shorack has two years of eligibility remaining. It was an uphill climb with the talent that he was coming in to compete against.
Old friend alert: Jairus Grissom to Saginaw Valley
Not exactly timely, but I haven’t brought this up yet so I figured now’s a good time.
Jairus Grissom, former dual-threat QB from River Rouge who also tried out at RB and WR for Eastern Michigan during his time, is now off to play at Saginaw Valley.
Grissom transferred out of EMU after the 2020 season and played for Morgan State in 2021. After Tyrone Wheatley, Inkster native, left MSU’s head coaching spot to be a RB coach for the Denver Broncos, Grissom hit the portal again. In his public notice, Grissom said he was looking to play at whatever position “QB/WR/CB/FS”, and has two years of eligibility as a graduate student.
Grissom was a great athlete in college, and I always thought there was potential for more than what his final production reads: 191 rush yards on 28 carries, 31 receiving yards on 5 catches, and 4/5 passing for 50 yards over three years at EMU.
Originally a part of the 2017 signing class out of high school, Grissom was the No. 23 ranked player in the state of Michigan (by 247sports comp.) and was the highest-ranked player in EMU’s signing class that year. All-time, Grissom’s is the 12th highest-rated recruit in school history.