Sterns has become a big catch for Indians

By TED DUNNAM / Assistant Sports Editor

Reggie Sterns is still waiting for his dream season.

So far in his career at McMurry University, he's been a defensive back's nightmare waiting to happen.

When one mentions the proverbial diamond in the rough, no one fits the bill better than the 5-10, 165-pound Sterns.

Prior to stepping on the McMurry campus, Sterns hadn't played football since junior high school. When he plays his first game in 1997, opposing defenders will be lining up against an NCAA Division III all-American candidate.

The progression Sterns has made the past three years is remarkable. Obviously, he'll be a marked man this year, but that doesn't mean defenses will be able to stop him.

It's all but a certainty that Sterns, a senior, will shatter most of McMurry's receiving records when the upcoming football season is concluded.

"Any time Reggie Sterns gets his hands on the ball, he's got a chance to score," McMurry head coach Steve Keenum said. "He's definitely our go-to guy. He's really quite a story."

So we'll let Reggie tell it.

"I had played baseball at Waxahachie and I just got tired of it," Sterns said. "I had some friends playing football, and I just decided I wanted to play. I'm glad I did. It's turned out pretty good for me.

"Originally, I just came here to go to school. I wasn't going to play any sports."

In his sophomore season, Sterns hauled in 34 passes for 627 yards and three touchdowns. Last year, Sterns had 54 catches for 758 yards and six touchdowns.

Those numbers are expected to escalate this year.

"I wasn't catching the ball very well when I first came out," Sterns said. "But I knew I had the ability. I was a receiver in junior high and I was always able to catch the ball.

"I was a little scared at first, but coach Keenum had a lot of confidence in me. I just wanted to be able to help the team."

Sterns has done just that. Last year, he was selected to the first unit of the American Southwest Conference team. His past numbers give no one reason to believe that won't happen this year.

The only question is whether he'll earn all-America honors.

"I just want to play the best I can and help the team win conference," Sterns said. "If I do that, maybe all that other stuff will fall into place. I don't really think about all the records.

"The main thing I want to concentrate on is being more focused. I haven't been focused all the time like I should be."

Sterns says the McMurry defense may give him the opportunity to showcase his talents.

"Our defense was No. 1 in the conference last year so we know it should be good this year," Sterns said. "On offense, we need to pick it up more. We lose focus a lot, and I'm part of that.

"Each year I learn something new. You never stop learning. It helps you to be a better player."

Sterns' success is no fluke - he's got a good role model.

"I like Jerry Rice. Not only is he a great player, he's got a great attitude," Sterns said. "He just goes out there and does his job. He doesn't showboat. That's the kind of player I like."

Although Sterns is unquestionably a team player, he has set a goal for himself.

"I'd like to catch about 85 passes. It would be nice to have the ball thrown to me every play, but that wouldn't be good for the team," he said. "I just want to go out there and help us win."

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