Mississippi State Bulldogs: 50 Greatest Athletes in School History

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Apr 2, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Jarvis Varnado (40) and forward Thaddeus Young (21) defends the shot of Charlotte Bobcats center Cody Zeller (40) during the first quarter at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

#32 Jarvis Varnado, Basketball Forward/Center (2007-2010)

I will be honest, when I saw Jarvis Varnado play his freshman season, I thought Rick Stansbury had lost his mind when he recruited Swat. He looked lost on the offensive end of the floor, and decent on the defensive end. But then his sophomore year rolled around, and he was an entirely different player.  Varnado was never going to wow people with his offensive skills. They got better with each passing year, but defense was always going to be his calling card. Despite the fact he was 6’9″, Varnado played much taller due to his unusually long arms and wing span. His Sophomore, Junior and Senior seasons Varnado averaged just under 5 blocks a game. He also did something most people couldn’t do, and that was block the shots of the man he was guarding. Many blocked shots often come when a player is driving to the basket and another player comes over on help defense. Varnado could do that, but opposing players could not get Swat to leave his feet on pump fakes, and he was great at timing his own jumps to block shots that way as well. He finished as the NCAA all-time leader in blocked shots in a career with 564.

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