How's your team doing this year?
"At first, it started good, then we had a few ups and downs. We had our first loss against Northwest Rankin. That woke us up. Our coach told us we came in with the big head."
How did you do in your last game?
"Last Friday night was the best game of the year for us. We won 42 to 40. Hattiesburg had this one receiver who was good. Everything that was thrown his way he caught it. His name is James Hollingsworth (6-4, 200). He is good, real good. I gave him his props after the game. Everytime they would lob it up he would outjump our DBs. After he beat them, he gave them a little stiff-arm and it was off to the races. He had pretty decent speed; enough to get the job done. (He has the build) like (Jim Hill HS WR) Jason Husband."
Ken, who are you guys playing this weekend?
"Wayne County. This is going to be the game of the year. Like Coach (Dan) Davis said, this could be like a state championship type game for us and them because it is such a big game for both of us."
Switching over to you individually. How are you doing? Let's talk about your offensive stats as a tight end first.
"I think I have 5 receptions for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns."
How are you doing defensively?
"The last time I checked was about three weeks ago. Coach said I had 45 solo tackles and 17 assists. I think I have over 80 tackles for the season. We've played 10 games."
Being a senior this year, where have you seen improvements in your game?
"I think I'm doing better this year as far as being a leader on the field. I think that is my biggest improvement. Last year I wasn't a talkative type. This year I'm out there encouraging the other players. If they make a big play, I tell them good job. I also am better at knowing where all my teammates are when the defense is on the field. I know where they are to lineup and what they are doing. Last year I was lacking that; I just knew my position."
Have you gotten bigger, stronger or faster?
"I know I have gotten faster. As far as running the ball down, I know I have gotten better at that."
I've seen you at most of the MSU games this year so you are in a great position to answer this question. State is not doing very well this season. How does that affect your opinion of them? Does it make you question your commitment to State?
"No, it doesn't. I know they aren't doing great right now, but every team goes through good years and bad years. I understand that. But just because they aren't having big games against big-time teams isn't going to change my mind about where I'm going to go to school."
You've seen the fact that they have played a lot of young players this season. Does that give you hope for the future of MSU football?
"Yeah, a lot of hope. That is one of the things I also hope to do. Me playing (my freshman year) is my biggest goal. My biggest fear is that I will get redshirted. I don't want to get redshirted."
If you don't get to start would playing on special teams be ok with you?
"It wouldn't be a problem if they put me on special teams."
I know you were at last week's game and you heard the boos by the fans.
"(Laugh) I heard them."
How does that affect you as a player?
"I can understand why they are booing. I understood where the fans were coming from. I think it is like this; the best man should play. Jerious (Norwood) brings a lot to the offense. He can turn two yards into five or six. What he did Saturday is the same thing he did in high school last year. It is hard to find (a player) like (Jerious)."
Is Jerious the kind of player you can build a team around?
"No doubt, no doubt about that."
Let's switch over to recruiting. What teams are still calling you?
"West Virginia, South Carolina, Southern (Miss)....Arkansas just started calling....Ole Miss, and LSU still call. State still calls. Ole Miss and Southern called tonight, but I wasn't here."
It sounds like recruiting hasn't tailed off at all even though you are committed to State.
"It is getting heavier."
What do the schools talk to you about?
"I don't even know if the coach from South Carolina knows I'm committed. He talked to me about a (official) visit. He wants me to come up there on a visit. Southern (Miss) and Ole Miss know that I'm committed but they are still trying. They throw the probation stuff in my head."
Really? What are they saying about probation?
"They rub the probation stuff in. They say that State is about to go on probation."
That's interesting. Well, that should just about do it, Ken. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. I'll call you in a few weeks to get another update.
"Alright. Bye, bye."
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports and Mississippi high school sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.