"I got an offer from Delta State, but I didn't want to go there. I wanted to try and make D-I somehow. I grew up a huge State fan. I went to baseball and football camp here. I signed with a juco, but I got some letters saying that I had gotten scholarships at State that I hadn't even applied for, engineering scholarship."
What engineering field are you majoring in?
Sorry to interrupt you. What happened after you found out about the scholarships?
"I got word that (MSU assistant) coach Stump would like to talk to me. I contacted him and he told me that they would really like to have me on the team. They told me that I would have to earn my spot, so I decided I really wanted to try it. It didn't matter if it was on special teams as a snapper or whatever. I decided with all the scholarships that I had, that I would come here."
You walked on and redshirted your first season. What were your objectives coming into last spring?
"I just wanted to learn the system and get to know my teammates better. When you are on the scout team, you really don't have a clue as to what is going on. I really didn't get to know the other tight ends that well. During the spring, I got to know them better and figured out where I stood on the team and where I needed to improve. Basically, I felt that I learned a lot. I kind of got banged up, as most everyone did, but I learned what SEC football is all about. It doesn't take long before you get your first injury, but you have to play through those."
What did you do during the first part of the summer?
"I was working out and taking a few summer school classes at Northeast (MS) Community College, which is about 30 minutes from my home. There was a trainer at the local wellness center that kind of took me under his wing and worked out with me every day. He really pushed me."
What are you trying to achieve during the second session of summer?
"Really, to get in shape. Then when the fall comes around, push for some kind of special teams spot and try to catch the coaches eyes. I really feel that I have to get a lot faster."
What are your hopes for this team this coming season?
"The record is what everybody looks at and that is something we all want to take care of. But we also want to grow as a team. You hear people say all the time that the best teams don't always win and the best players aren't always on the winning teams. The teams that play well together are the winners."
You mentioned a little about what you would like to do during the upcoming season. Talk about that a little more.
"I want to help anyway that I can. It looks like right now I'm going to be on the scout team and work on the defense everyday. I'm ok with that, because I'm trying to help them get better. Maybe I can make the special teams and help the team on gameday. I'm really open and want to help any way that I can."
I was never a good football player. In fact, I barely even played, so I don't know what it is like to play football on the college level not even as a walk-on. Talk a little about being a walk-on. Is it frustrating?
"It is frustrating. Of course the coaches want to work with the guys who are on scholarships. And that is definitely understandable. Sometimes you feel like you are being left out, but you just have to have that mentality that some day you will get your chance. You never know when that will be. You never know if you skip a practice, that is the practice you would have gotten your chance."
Do you look around at the team and find walk-ons such as Josh Morgan and think to yourself that is my goal, to achieve what he has achieved?
"Definitely. He has earned his spot. I think when Josh came up and Pig (Prather) got hurt, he had to play in the Egg Bowl and just dominating. He took advantage of his chance and now he is right up there as an All-SEC player."
Thank you, Britt.
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.