Leroy Cummings is a football player with his priorities together.
First, the 17-year-old junior knows the importance of hitting the books and making good grades. And he knows where football fits in -- second -- at Thomson High School.
"It's important to get an education first," said Cummings, the son of Leroy Cummings, Jr. and Elaine Cummings, of Thomson. "For me, football comes second, even though I love it."
Those who know the starting offensive guard and defensive tackle know him to be a fine student.
"I'm an A-B honor roll student and I'm proud of it," Cummings said.
This marks the second year that the 6-foot, 270-pound Cummings has been a starter on both sides of the ball.
"It feels great to be starting again," Cummings said.
He's following somewhat in the steps of his father in that he played fullback under THS Head Coach Luther Welsh. The elder Cummings graduated in 1983.
"It's great to be playing for the same coach that my Daddy played for," Cummings said. "I know Coach Welsh gets on to us when we don't do things right, but that's just because he wants nothing less than perfection from us. He's the big man in charge and I've got a lot of respect for him, because he's got a lot of respect for me. He always wants to know how I'm doing in classes. That shows me that he cares about me. It means a lot to me."
Cummings said he believes the Bulldogs will have another successful season.
"I think if we continue to work hard, we'll have a good season," he said. "We're as intense a team as I've ever seen us right now. We're doing what the coaches are telling us to do and we're having fun doing it."
One of the big concerns that Cummings said he has concerning this year's grid season is whether the team can stay consistent -- both offensively and defensively.
"We've got to be together on the same page in order for everything to come together like it's supposed to do," he added.
Cummings, who also throws the shot put in track, said playing football provides him with a foundation for becoming a man.
"Our football coaches teach us how to respect ourselves and others," said Cummings. "They also teach us how to work well with our teammates."
As for whether the Bulldogs can put together a state championship team, Cummings said he believes that possibility exists.
"It's out there for us to pursue, if that's the goal we want," said Cummings. "It won't be easy, but that goal is out there. We're going to work real hard and go after it."