Dan Groom, aka “Thunder Dan,” has been named team captain of CLJJ High School as Big Blue commences two-a-day practices. For his senior year, Thunder Dan is making the switch from Defensive End to Outside Linebacker under the tutelage of Mayor Lavon Hayes. Thunder Dan sits down with us after a grueling practice in sweltering, southern summer heat.
Is it safe to practice in these record temperatures?
We are taking precautions, for sure. We start practice at 6am and then come back at 5p for the afternoon practice, and miss most of the heat that way. Coach Scott works us hard, but he makes sure we’re hydrated. He’s a big believer in pre-hydration, because once you’re thirsty you’re already dehydrated.
What’s it like to have a former NFL star as a mentor?
Lavon Hayes has had a tremendous impact on Thunder Dan. Thunder Dan would not be sitting here with you right now as team captain if it weren’t for Lavon Hayes.
How has Lavon Hayes helped with your transition to a new position?
In all aspects, really, especially my pass rush. He even showed Thunder Dan how to make a bomb egg-white omelet packed with protein that gives me the gas to get through these practices.
I’ve heard rumors that you took ballet from Dash Dewitt this summer… is it true?
Yeah, Dash is my ballet guru. Thunder Dan got razzed by the guys pretty good in the locker room, but after a few big hits due to my improved and nimble footwork from ballet, it shut the guys up pretty quickly. Dash is chill.
Any predictions for the season?
Well as Coach Scott always tells us, anything short of a state championship will be considered a disappointment.