A Q&A With Redshirt Freshman Malcolm Johnson

Mississippi State redshirt freshman Malcolm Johnson talks one-on-one with Gene's Page about his new position, redshirting his true freshman season, his summer workouts and his team and personal goals this season.

Malcolm Johnson Profile

Several of the Mississippi State coaches have really been impressed with your potential as a hybrid wide receiver/tight end. What are your thoughts about playing that type position?
"Honestly, it doesn't matter to me. The coaches have more experience at this and they can see my future better than I can. They know what is best for me and I expect them to put me in the situation where I can help the team, help the team win. And, basically, that is what I want to do, help the team win."

How has playing that type position affected the way you work out. When you think about it, you still need as much speed as possible but you also need more weight due to the requirements of that type position.
"There has been a slightly different way with my off-season training because I had to pick up some weight. So, I've been eating a little more. But I'm still trying to stay loose so I can run the same way I already could. When I was a receiver I wasn't as fast as all the cornerbacks so I used my size to my advantage. Now, as a tight end, it's completely opposite. I'm undersized now, so I have to use my speed as my advantage. I'm trying to do things differently to set myself apart from everybody else."

Now that you can reflect back on it, what are your thoughts about redshirting your true freshman season?
"I really think redshirting blessed me as a person. It helped to develop me as a man off the field and also during my maturing stage as a football player. It also showed me that good things will come to those who are patient. It also allowed me to see what this program is built on, that is relentless effort and hard work. If you work hard enough good will come to you in due time."

Compared to last summer, how much more difficult was this summer? You knew, going into the summer, this would be your first year to actually get on the field in games.
"Summer was different. We had difficult times. But hard times don't last long. The coaches did a good job of trying to mix up the fun with the hard work in an attempt to keep you motivated. Coach Balis is very good with motivating an individual to get the best out of you.

"Also, you have to keep talking to your people back home, your family and the other people who motivate you. You also are motivated by your teammates, your brothers beside you. You can't let them down. You have respect for him and he has respect for you. You don't want to let him down."

What is your team goal and your personal goals for this season?
"The team goal is we will strive to be SEC champs, be better than last year and go undefeated at home, protect our house.

"My personal goal is to help the team out any way that I can."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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