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Northside senior DeAnthony Muse changed everything, especially his future.
STEPHANIE KLEIN-DAVIS | The Roanoke Times
DeAnthony Muse, a 290-pound defensive lineman for Northside, has committed to play college football at the University of Richmond.
JOEL HAWKSLEY | The Roanoke Times
Northside's DeAnthony Muse blocks Amherst County's Hunter Hicks during the Vikings' game against the Lancers at Northside High School on Friday.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
DeAnthony Muse is called “Chief” around Northside High School.
He might as well be known as the “Transformer.”
Muse has transformed his grades.
He has transformed his personality.
The 6-foot-1 Northside senior has transformed his body.
And he has transformed his future.
Muse, a 290-pound defensive lineman for Timesland’s top-ranked team, made his college choice earlier this summer when he committed to Richmond.
However, when Northside head coach Burt Torrence first met Muse several years ago, the youngster was a struggling student with an evasive demeanor that had potential trouble written all over it.
“If you look at his grades from middle school, it’s all D’s and F’s,” Torrence said.
“He was in the shadows. He didn’t really want to converse with adults. The first day I met him, he wouldn’t look me in the eye, and that’s a big deal to me. We started from that.”
Muse admits he was not a model student before his freshman year.
“I’d get in trouble, hanging around with the wrong people,” he said.
As a far as positive contact or dialogue with teachers, Muse wanted none of it.
“I just wanted to really stay in myself,” he said.
His motivation to change came from outside sources and from within.
“I just wanted to turn my life around,” Muse said. “I just wanted to be successful. When I came here, they pushed me and pushed me to do it.”
Muse is as solid in the classroom as he is in the middle of Northside’s defensive line. Two years ago as a 220-pounder, Muse was the Timesland Sizzlin’ Sophomore of the Year on defense.
In 2012, Muse was named first-team All-Timesland as a 244-pound lineman.
Meanwhile, his GPA grew along with his weight.
“Right now he’s got a 3.6 grade point average and nearly 1,000 on his SAT,” Torrence said. “And that’s not taking Basket Weaving 101. He really has become an outstanding student and an outstanding individual.
“I think it was gradual thing. It was building that trust with constant reinforcement and constant involvement. I make no bones about it. He’s like [a] son.”
Torrence and Muse were regular traveling partners on college visits.
On a few of the trips which included other Northside players, the coach began to notice something about his reticent star.
They were having actual conversations.
“Before, I would have never imagined that,” Torrence said. “But he’s witty. His personality is very charismatic. He’s quick with comments.
“It’s funny. When he does that, before the comment even comes out of his mouth he’s already laughing or chuckling.”
Dealing with Muse on the field has been no laughing matter for Northside opponents.
The Vikings (3-0) host Salem tonight. Muse and 6-foot-5, 298-pound teammate Chance Hall against a Salem offensive line led by 6-foot-5, 280-pound Alex Light could be worth the price of admission.
“He brings a level of intensity,” Torrence said of Muse. “That switch is going be on from Play 1. “He demands a double-team, sometimes a triple-team.”
Muse could be a bigger headache for blockers this year. He weighed 244 pounds during his All-Timesland junior season. Since then he has added 46 pounds, and none of it appears to be fat.
“He’s a freak of nature, genetically,” Torrence said. “We went down to Liberty this summer and really changed our offseason program. We saw significant changes across the board.
“To keep his quickness and still run a 4.83 [40-yard dash] at Marshall University this summer just shows he’s done the work.”
To add calories Muse said he ate five times per day, often — he sheepishly admitted — at McDonald’s.
“I talked to a whole bunch of players,” he said. “They said to add bulk on, you needed to eat more, train harder and drink more water to recover.”
The Northside star committed to Richmond after the Spiders offered him a scholarship when they saw him at a one-day camp at Wake Forest.
He said current Richmond players and former Timesland stars such as Salem’s Seth Fisher and Rockbridge County’s Porter Abell helped convince him to commit to the Spiders.
“They told me it would be good for me,” Muse said. “Their [coaching] staff kind of reminded me of the staff here.”
Former Northside standout Tyler Fisher tagged Muse with the nickname “Chief,” two years ago partly because of Muse’s quiet, detached demeanor.
Now Muse is more engaged in Northside’s hallways and classrooms.
Muse brings his Bible — King James Version — to a study group that meets each Thursday at Northside before school begins.
He has been involved in helping with the Little Feet Meet, a Special Olympics-style event that Northside has hosted for the past four years.
In the last three years, Torrence said Muse has had just one grade below a ‘B.’
“He got a ‘C’ in Spanish his sophomore year,” Torrence said. “He was still in his shell. The Spanish teacher requires them to give orals, speaking in the language, and he couldn’t do that.
“It shows you how much he’s grown.”
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