Wilkerson was also impressed with Sanders not just because of his athletic ability but the way he carries himself as a person. "The good thing about Joey is he is such a great kid, he is a very respectful kid," said Wilkerson. "That is a tribute to his high school coach and his family."
It won't surprise Wilkerson if the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Sanders has a great career at State because of an intangible all the great ones have. "He has such a great work ethic," said Wilkerson prior to Thursday's morning practice. "You really have to have a great work ethic to play at the next level. I look for him to have a great career at Mississippi State. Everything you need, he has."
Sanders, who wasn't heavily recruited until the middle of his senior season, takes great pride in his work habits. "I am going to come out here and give 100% everyday," said Joey, who chose MSU over Ole Miss in a recruiting battle that went down to the wire.
Although, as Sanders said, "it is really a blessing to play (on the Mississippi team)," he has no doubt that he belongs on the team. "I know I belong here. I think I am one of the best receivers in the state," said Joey, with no hint of cockiness in his voice. "The other receivers here like Chris Johnson, Anthony Perine and Brandon McDonald, they are really good receivers, too."
Once Saturday's all-star game is over, the next thing on Sanders' schedule is preparing to join his new MSU teammates during the second semester of summer school. "(The State coaches) have sent me workout books to get ready," said Sanders, a first-team All-State selection at the conclusion of his senior season. "(High School teammate)Omarr (Conner) and me have been working out every other morning."
Sanders' is hoping the workouts that they have been doing is preparing them for more than just a redshirt year. "I'm going to come in and try to play this year," said Sanders, who holds school records for most touchdowns by a receiver, most yards and catches. "It just depends on how hard I work. I don't want to redshirt, I want to play this year."
After watching him perform this past season and the past two days, I have no doubt that the Mississippi State coaches will have a tough decision to make when it comes time to decide whether to redshirt him or to play him.
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.