When Bryce Giddens leaves Moultrie this time next year to begin his college football career, he’ll won’t have to worry about a new color scheme for his wardrobe.
Giddens, Colquitt County’s rising senior center, committed to Southern Mississippi recently.
And all that black-and-gold apparel? No problem. Those are the Eagles colors too.
Giddens and his father, Packers offensive line coach Kevin Giddens, visited the Southern Miss campus in Hattiesburg several weeks ago.
And the 6-foot, 260-pound center said, “It felt like home.”
Giddens had received 13 offers, but it didn’t take long to choose which one after the visit to Hattiesburg.
Now he will be able to concentrate on extending his streak of 36 straight starts for the Packers and helping them get back to the state playoffs.
Southern Miss assistant Robert Matthews recruits South Georgia and watched Giddens during spring practice.
Matthews also watched video of the player who was considered one of the top offensive linemen in Region 1-AAAAA the last two seasons. He was an All-State selection last fall while helping propel the Packers record-setting offense.
Southern Miss is a member of Conference USA and plays an outstanding non-conference schedule.
The Eagles will be looking for a starting center in 2012 and if Giddens can earn the job, his first start would come against the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.
“They think I’ll have a chance to be a four-year starter,” Giddens said.
Giddens said he did not expect much problem grasping the Southern Miss offense, which is similar to the one the Packers run.
“It’s mostly just different terminology,” he said.
Giddens said the school has what he called “top-of-the-line facilities,” and he like the players he met while at the school with his father in his unofficial visit.
But he especially likes the relationship he is building with Matthews and offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic.
Heading into his third year as the offensive line coach at Southern Miss, Kapilovic also will be the run-game coordinator for the Golden Eagles this season.
Southern Miss has been among the nation’s leaders the last two years and running back Damion Fletcher has run for more than 1,000 each of hte last two seasons.
In his first season at Southern Miss, Kapilovic coached offensive tackle Ryan McKee who was signed with the NFL as an undrafted free agent into the NFL and is now with the St. Louis Rams.
Last year, Kapivolic produced an All-Conference first team selection in offensive guard Ryan Hebert and two honorable selections in tackle Kyle Burkhart and center Cameron Zipp.
“I really like him,” Giddens said of Kapilovic. “He reminds me alot of my dad and Coach (Joey) Bennett.
“He’s real intense, but he’ll take car of you.
Kevin Giddens and Bennett have shared the offensive line duties the last three seasons and have produced a number of outstanding players, including Xzavier Ward, who signed with Georgia; Garrett Brewer, at Georgia Southern; Trey Rhyme, Murray State; R.J. Taylor, currently playing at Henderson State; Chris Walsh, who signed at St. Augustine’s in Raleigh, N.C.; and Thomas Marshall.
Preston Mobley, who will join Giddens as a senior on the Packers offensive line this season, also is expected to be able to play on the collegiate level.
Giddens moved into a starting role in the fourth game of his freshman season and has started 36 straight games.
Barring injury, he is likely to finish his career with perhaps the most starts ever of any Packer player.
Giddens said his father did offer some guidance.
“He didn’t want to influence me,” Bryce Giddens said. “But he did want me to commit.”