By LAURENCE HILLIARD
When it comes to football, Paxton Sims can be described as a chip off the old blocker. The Choctaw County High School graduate is an offensive lineman at Southeastern Louisiana, following in the cleat steps of his father, Stan Sims, who played on the line at Mississippi State during the mid 1980s. ‚ÄúWhen he was young, I would take him out in the yard and work with him on technique,‚Äù Stan Sims said.
‚ÄúGrowing up, he talked about offensive line play,‚Äù Paxton Sims said. ‚ÄúI knew more about it than any other position.‚Äù
Sims, listed at 6-2 and 290 pounds, is entering his senior year at Southeast Louisiana. In his first year after transferring from Copiah-Lincoln Community College, he was a reserve lineman as the Lions finished third in the Southland Conference with a 7-2 record, and 7-4 overall. Southeast Louisiana is a Football Championship Subdivision (Formerly 1-AA) school.
He began his high school career at Ackerman High School before that school was combined with Weir to form Choctaw County in 2013. ‚ÄúAt first, I didn’t really care too much for it,‚Äù he said of attending a new school as a senior. ‚ÄúBut I’m glad we did it. It opened a lot of new doors for me, new friendships. We went up a classification (from 2A to 3A). It was a little better competition.‚Äù
Sims played guard throughout his high school career. His teams reached the MHSAA playoffs his last three years, with the 2011 Ackerman team reaching the third round.
His play in high school drew praise from Adam Dillinger, who coached him at Ackerman and Choctaw County. ‚ÄúPaxton, as an offensive lineman, was as good as anyone I ever had. He was very athletic for his size. But more than anything, he had a lot of intensity,‚Äù said Dillinger, who is currently athletic director and assistant football coach at Eupora.
Sims received an offer from Co-Lin prior to his junior year in high school and never wavered. ‚ÄúThey offered me before anyone else did,‚Äù he said. ‚ÄúI committed to them early and never got away from them.‚Äù
He was a guard as a freshmen and center as a sophomore. The Wolves reached the state championship game before losing to East Mississippi his first year. The team began his sophomore year ranked No. 1 in the country, held that ranking for five weeks, but ended up missing the playoffs.
Sims enrolled at Alabama A&M, but left after one week for ‚Äúeducational reasons.‚Äù
So he moved on to Southeastern Louisiana in Hammond.
‚ÄúI really liked what they had to offer. It’s a winning program. Coach Ron Roberts is a phenomenal head coach with an excellent ¬†background in winning. He’s a really good guy to play for.‚Äù
Roberts returned the compliment, saying ‚ÄúPaxton has done a tremendous job this offseason. We expect Paxton to be a major contributor and push for a starting job this fall.‚Äù
Sims feels the Lions will have a successful season. ‚ÄúI see a lot of improvement. We’re looking solid on the offensive line. The backfield is set. We’re on the right track to be better.‚Äù
Camp begins August 2, with classes starting two weeks later. During camp, the Lions will practice in the evening, beginning at 7 p.m. ‚Äúbecause its cooler.‚Äù
Stan Sims, who attends all his son’s games, said football has changed since he was at Mississippi State and the change is reflected in offensive line play. ‚ÄúEverybody is going with a spread offense. They do zone blocking, which is totally different than the game I played.‚Äù
Sims is pursuing a degree in general studies, with a major in business and minors in horticulture and family consumer science. He’s not sure what he will do after graduation. ‚ÄúMaybe something in insurance.‚Äù