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Regional College Football: ‘Silly kid’ becomes a force





Former Louisa High School football coach Mark Fischer was seeking a big target for his team when he spotted Kerry Wynn in the hallway.

    This week, The Free Lance–Star is previewing the college football season. Here is the schedule:

    Monday: Maryland

    Tuesday: Virginia

    Wednesday: Virginia Tech

    THURSDAY: Regional schools

    Friday: National preview

Fischer liked Wynn’s then-6-foot-3 frame and figured the Lions basketball standout would transition well to the gridiron.

What transpired after the first encounter surprised even Fischer.

“It’s one of those Cinderella stories,” said Fischer, who is now the head coach at St. James High School near Myrtle Beach, S.C. “We thought he could play receiver, and we kept convincing him to take little steps. Before we knew it, we felt like he had an opportunity and the potential to be a force on the football field.”

Wynn became an all-Jefferson District and all-Region II selection at linebacker and tight end. In 2009 he signed with the University of Richmond, the same program his uncle, James Smith, played safety for from 1987 to 1990.

Wynn began his career with the Spiders as a defensive end. But this season, he’s been moved to defensive tackle.

The once-lean basketball player is now a menacing 6-foot-5, 260-pound interior lineman. He’s slated to start for the Spiders in their season opener at Virginia on Saturday at 3 p.m.

“I think first of all he had a very productive preseason camp,” Richmond first-year defensive line coach Levern Belin said. “He’s demonstrated the ability to do some things that will help us be successful on the field.”

Belin said that from watching past film it appears Wynn was often “manhandled.”

He entered Richmond weighing 215 pounds. He was 235 pounds as a sophomore, before he made the jump to his current weight.

Last season, Wynn started all eight games he appeared in. He recorded 32 tackles, including seven for loss, and four sacks.

He was recently named a preseason second-team all-Colonial Athletic Association selection by Phil Steele magazine.

“I think being a year older and recognizing he needed to add body mass is really going to help Kerry,” Belin said. “He has totally bought into the program. He’s doing everything on his end to make sure he’s giving us a chance to be successful.”

Wynn was recruited to Richmond by current Virginia coach Mike London, who guided the Spiders to the 2008 national championship as their head coach.

Since Wynn entered the Spiders’ program he’s had three different head coaches (Latrell Scott, Wayne Lineburg and now Danny Rocco).

Fischer said London recruited Wynn as a potential outside linebacker in the 3–4 defense.

Wynn eventually outgrew that role, but Belin said he still has the athleticism he demonstrated when he was much smaller.

“He possesses all the athletic skills needed to not only play the position, but to excel at it,” Belin said. “It’s just a matter of when the chips are on the table if he’s going to play up to his capabilities and utilize his talents. I’m anxiously awaiting kickoff [on Saturday] to see Kerry put his hand down on the grass.”

Fischer saw enough of Wynn in action, even if it was for just two seasons. Wynn played youth football, but didn’t try out for the Lions until his junior year.

Fischer said Wynn “was just a sweet, silly kid” whom the coaching staff often told his “blond roots are showing” whenever he goofed around.

“You get a handful of kids to coach in your career where the memory of coaching them will stay with you forever,” Fischer said. “Kerry is one of those kids.”

Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-5526

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