The past two years you've been working to come back from an injury you suffered in the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Football Game. Was that the first time during your career when you have been injured that severely?
"I have never been injured like that. It was a time in my life where I had to question whether I wanted to continue playing football. During those two years, I saw a lot and did a lot of crazy things. I'm just thankful I'm playing again."
After you were injured, there were rumors that you weren't rehabing like you should. Was it tough on you, after having things come so easy for you because you were so talented, to rehab like you needed to.
"I worked hard. It's just when you are a young guy and you see your knee isn't getting any better and you are going through a lot of pain and a lot of things are going wrong, it was tough. It was a bad situation. My knee injury wasn't just a typical ACL. As a youngster, I couldn't handle it. Because of that, it took a toll on me."
How many surgeries did you have?
After all the things you've had to deal with since suffering the injury in the MS/AL All-Star game practice, would you recommend signees play in all-star games?
"You can't ever say what is going to happen to someone. A person can get hurt doing anything. I wanted to play in the game just for the respect of the state and to show people what I could do. I know that I had showed a lot during my senior year, but it was something you wanted to do. All the great players played in it, so you wanted to play in it, too."
When did you finally see the light at the end of the tunnel where you saw that you would be able to play football again?
"When Coach Cooper came in, he put me on the depth chart. When I saw that, then I thought that I had a chance to play again and do something. From there, I started doing more than I had been doing. I got it in my head that I could do something with myself again."
When did you feel your were close to being back to the Clarence McDougal of old?
"After playing in the spring game, I knew I was back. I still don't have the acceleration that I used to have, but I'm coming back. It just takes time. I'll play this season and get better and better. It's a learning process right now and a mind thing. When you get confidence that you can play better, you will do better."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher and owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial site for Mississippi State sports since October, 1996. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org