Hedgepeth: The trips kind of helped us narrow it down, and make sure that we were right in our minds.
Did you learn quite a bit on those trips about each of the colleges and football programs?
Hedgepeth: I did learn a lot, mainly about (the school's) academics and got a feel for the different schools, and how the coaches were going to coach. So, I did learn a lot.
You must have liked what you saw in Stillwater. What was it about your visit to Oklahoma State that impressed you?
Hedgepeth: It wasn't an easy decision (to pick Oklahoma State). I had some really good schools and a lot of schools that I really felt comfortable with, but when I was there I just really felt comfortable. I talked to Coach (Jason) Jones, and he's a really good guy, and with him (as my position coach) I felt that I would get a lot better under his direction, and he has a lot to teach me. I guess it was where I felt the most comfortable.
For someone who has lived in Derby, Kans., since the first grade, how have the KU and K-State fans in Derby reacted to the news that you'll be playing at Oklahoma State?
Hedgepeth: There are (a lot of KU and K-State fans) but I've been really surprised. Everyone has supported me, and my decision 100 percent. When I go out and see other kids form school and visiting different people in the community, they're always congratulating me. I expected some smart comments but actually I haven't gotten any. Everyone has been real supportive. I'm glad about that.
Derby head coach Brandon Clark indicated that after playing exclusively on defense the past two years that you'll also be playing on offense this season. He says you'll be playing wide receiver, running back and even quarterback. How's that going so far in practice?
Hedgepeth: We've been lining up in some different formations, and working against our defense. I'm pretty excited.
Does it concern you that playing both ways may wear you down, especially in the fourth quarter of games?
Hedgepeth: I've been working on my conditioning this summer because I know it is going to be a pretty tiring task while trying to be on the field all the time. Hopefully I can push through it, and if I need a break here and there, we've got some pretty good depth and they'll help me out.
As a freshman, the Derby varsity football team was 0-9. This class of seniors has been instrumental in helping turn it around the past three years, going to the state semifinals last season and finishing with a 10-2 record. What does it mean to you to have been a part of that?
Hedgepeth: It means a lot to be able to be a part of re-establishing the football program. It really means a lot. It gets me pretty excited to look forward to this season because my whole senior class is a great group of guys and great athletes. We should be able to do some pretty good stuff this year.
You have yet to make a ‘B' in high school. Why are academics so important to you?
Hedgepeth: It's just something that's always been important. My mom and dad have always stressed it, and let me know that be just one dimensional, that I need to have the academics and the athletics. They stayed on me when I was younger and it's just carried over to high school.
Is there any pressure as you begin your senior year of high school to keep that streak going?
Hedgepeth: I'm going to try to do as much as I cannot to get one.
What's going to be your toughest class this year?
Hedgepeth: Probably my Calculus class.
Do you have any advanced placement or honors classes?
Hedgepeth: Yeah, I've got three AP classes and an Honors class. My AP classes are Calculus, Government and English, and my Honors class is Physics.
A lot of high school seniors in your shoes would just take some electives, and slide by while enjoying their final year of high school. It doesn't sound like that's what you're doing?
Hedgepeth: I wouldn't have felt right to just kind of go easy. I've never done that, so why start now? I'm going to have to get ready for college classes anyway.
Are you planning to graduate in December, and enroll at Oklahoma State in January for the spring semester?
Hedgepeth: I am going to do that. I talked it over with my dad, and I had all my credits out of the way, so I figured I could get in and start learning the system a little better and get in for spring ball. Hopefully, that'll help as far as helping the team.
Any message for Oklahoma State fans?
Hedgepeth: I'm just looking forward to it, and I'm pretty excited.
Fri., Sept. 11 Salina Central
Fri., Sept. 18 @ Goddard
Fri., Sept. 25 Hutchinson
Fri., Oct. 2 @ Maize
Fri., Oct. 9 Salina South
Fri., Oct. 16 Wichita Southeast
Fri., Oct. 23 @ Wichita East
Fri., Oct. 30 Wichita Heights