Freshman QB Riley Morris
Riley is a walk-on quarterback from Canadian (TX) High School. He explained why he is walking on at Mississippi State.
"I was going to walk-on at the University of Texas, but then I decided not to go there because I didn't have a good feeling about it.
"A friend of mine had talked to someone (at MSU) and he said that they didn't have a lot of quarterbacks, just three coming back and they had only signed one guy. They said there was a real good opportunity that I would have a shot to play in the next couple of years. So I took that (opportunity) over a shot to go somewhere else where I could have gotten a scholarship. I came out here to (unofficially) visit in late May or early June and ended up here and I love it."
What schools recruited you out of high school?
"Illinois, UCLA, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Texas, Texas."
What schools offered you scholarships?
"I had scholarship offers from Northeastern - it's a I-AA (school) up in Boston - and all of the Ivy League schools."
Redshirt junior LB Marcus Hunter
How did you wind up at Mississippi State?
"My first year here, I didn't play football, then I walked on in 2002."
Don't you have a unique nickname?
"Some folks call me WCBI or newsman."
You work for WCBI-TV in Columbus, Mississippi don't you?
"I work for them part-time right now. It will be part-time until I graduate from college."
When did you start working for WCBI?
"I started working for them when I was a senior in high school. I started as an intern in sports, then I got a job in production and worked my way up. When I walked on here, I didn't have time to work production, but they wanted to keep me on. Now, I work sports whenever I have free time."
What schools do you cover?
"I cover all area high schools, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Alabama, junior colleges like EMCC, ICC and Northeast. I pretty much cover all the schools in our viewing area."
What is it like to be a Mississippi State football player and cover teams like Ole Miss and Alabama?
"In the past few years I haven't gotten to play (in games) so the guys on those teams don't know that I play for Mississippi State."
What keeps a walk-on going when you are practicing, but not playing in games? Is it the thought that you might be the next Rudy, the walk-on at Notre Dame who lived his dream of playing in a game for Notre Dame?
"Yeah. But I just love playing football. I started playing football when I was in the 5th grade. I've loved playing it ever since. And I'm a Mississippi State football fan. That is what keeps me coming out here. I had a scholarship to EMCC, but I love Mississippi State so much that I decided to take a shot walking on here just to be a part of this football program."
Have you ever been on the travel squad or dressed out for a game?
"I've dressed out for four games but I've never been on the travel squad."
Have you enjoyed it even with the down years the past couple of years?
"Yeah, I've liked it, but this past year I was thinking about focusing more on academics and letting it go, but Coach Croom came in with a new system and I like what he is doing. I just want to give it one more shot to see if I have a chance. Even if I play in one game like Rudy did, it will all be worth it."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com, the source for Mississippi State sports on TheInsiders.com sports network. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.