OG ZeVeyon Furcron
Weight: 320 pounds
Major: Sport Administration
Hometown: Crest Hill
ZeVeyon Furcron started his career on the defensive line, but switched to offense last season. This year, the guard from Crest Hill has helped the Salukis win five straight games behind a vaunted running attack. Three backs are averaging over five yards a carry (D.J. Davis, Javon Williams Jr. and Romeir Elliott), as well as wide receiver Avante Cox (9.9 yards a carry on 20 attempts). SIU (7-4) is tied for second place in the Missouri Valley Football Conference heading into Saturday's matchup with No. 1 North Dakota State, and could clinch a playoff berth with a victory.
In this week's Meet A Saluki, Furcron talks about his accomplishments in the weight room, being named a captain, and dealing with his mother's death earlier this year.
The team wore shirts that said 2-9 on the back during offseason workouts this past winter and spring. What was the reason for wearing those shirts?
We were a 2-9 team last year and thought we were better than that. Those shirts were meant to never let us forget about what happened last season and to always keep that in the back of our mind when we're working out, on the field, or even going to class. We realized that we had to be better than 2-9 and it stuck with us.
You're known for being one of the strongest guys in the weight room. What are some of your biggest lifting accomplishments?
I set the offensive line squat record at 800 pounds last offseason. I already had the record at 775, but when we started to go heavy again, I figured that I could probably break my record. That ended up happening by hitting 800.
Can you get past 800?
I don't know. My knees are telling me differently, so I'm content with that being my max. I'll probably lower the weight a little bit in the future.
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How does your lower-body strength help on the football field?
It transitions perfectly. Being in the trenches on the offensive line, you got to have that lower body strength and be strong down low and even up top as well. It's important to build that strength.
Was anything done differently in weight room last offseason?
Credit to Meade (Meade Smith) and the coaching staff. We didn't do anything too different, but they definitely had some things planned to take us to the next level. From the Navy Seals training day to different drills on the field, it worked. Also in the film room and focusing on different stuff. Our coaches were getting us mentality and physically prepared to be a successful team.
Fast forward to fall camp, coach Hill (Nick Hill) named you a captain. How did it feel to receive the honor?
It meant the world to me. With what I went through with my mom passing away, I knew how proud she would've been for me and how proud of me she still is. Having the team behind me, supporting me through that meant a lot.
What did it mean to have your team's support during the period of your mom's passing?
I don't think I would've made it if it wasn't for my team. That's what brothers are for. I know the type of players and coaches on this team, along with the family and Saluki culture. I knew they were going to stick with me and I appreciate them more than anything.
What has this season's success meant to you as a fourth-year player?
It means a lot. I'm a senior in the classroom, but I still have another year of eligibility. For the guys who don't, this is their final chance. I've been with D.J. (D.J. Davis), Ernest (Ernest Dye Jr.), Chinn (Jeremy Chinn), Marnin (Jacob Marnin) and many others since the very start, but this is it for them. We're all trying to play for them. We still have more football to play, but we wouldn't have experienced this success without our seniors.
Do you feel more comfortable on the offensive line since it is your second year with the group?
I feel like I have taken my game to the next level this season. Especially the mental part of the game. I played O-line in high school and had a year under my belt last year. But getting in the film room and learning different schemes and techniques has helped me improve. I just have to keep striving to get better by watching film. You can never know or learn too much.
A few weeks ago, D.J. Davis was giving you a hard time about your voice freshman year. What's behind that story?
When I came in freshman year, all of us football players had to introduce ourselves to the team. I know my voice isn't the deepest, but I don't care. I was in the middle of the line, so everybody is going and then it gets to me. When the first word came out of my mouth, the whole team started dying laughing. I remember it because coach Hill responded with, "Why are you guys laughing, he's one of the strongest guys in the room". I was just coming out of high school, so I appreciate coach sticking up for me at the time. It's all love with my teammates though.
What kind of relationship do you and coach Hill have?
It has grown a lot in the last couple of months. He did some things he didn't really have to do. It took my respect level to a different stage with coach Hill and the rest of the coaching staff. But especially with him and coach Olson. They were there the night of my mom's passing. One phone call and they were immediately on the road. That meant a lot to have them there for me.