Steve Robertson - Genespage.com

Mississippi State sophomore Jamoral Graham enjoying life after a position change.

Jamoral Graham played last fall as a Mississippi State true freshman. Graham made his college debut as a punt returner and eventually earned some reps as a slot receiver. After a few growing pains, Graham made the switch over from pass catcher to pass defender. Now in his first full season as a cornerback, Graham appears to have found a home.

With sixteen tackles to his credit as well as quarterback "hurry" against Troy that will make the 2015 season highlight video, Graham is making a solid contribution to the Mississippi State secondary. When the news broke that senior Will Redmond was lost of the remainder of the campaign, Graham knew that he would be expected to carry more of the Bulldog weight.

"I have just been trying to do my part," Graham said. "The role is sort of changing now. I am just working hard and listening to my coaches every day. I am working on all of the techniques that Coach (Deseha) Towsend has given me.

"I work hard and try to learn as much as I can from (Taveze) Calhoun and Tolando (Cleveland). They are really pushing me. When you get that push from your teammates, you want to be able to go out there and help them in a game."

Graham has played largely as a reserve this fall. With Redmond going down to injury, Graham has adopted a next man up mentality. With Tolando Cleveland now starting in place of Redmond, Graham has seen his name move up the depth chart as well.

"I am taking a lot of coaching and working with my team mates every day to get better," the Newton County native said. "I am a competitor and I am just going out there working to get better. I want to take everything we do in practice and take it to the games."

Mississippi State defensive coordinator Manny Diaz shared recently that he has been pleased with Graham's improved tackling ability. Graham takes such praise in stride and reports that he stills sees the transition from offense to defense as a work in progress.

"I have always been a player that could play both sides of the ball, but it's a lot different in college," Graham said. "We really work on tackling. We rep it every day in drills. We had five step tackling drills and things like that. It's about repetition now. I know there are some things that I can do better, but I feel like I am doing pretty good with tackling now."

As a former receiver, Graham understands route concepts and the nuances of the pass catcher's responsibility. The ability to recognize some of those keys has helped Graham become a more complete football player, but cautions he is still learning to live life in the nation's most unforgiving conference.

"This is the SEC and nothing is easy here," Graham said. "I am an athlete, so I just try to play my game to the best of my ability and do what my coaches tell me to do. You have to have a lot of respect for the game to be able to play in the SEC. If you work hard and listen to your coaches, then things will be alright."

Graham was one of the most heralded prospects in the state of Mississippi his senior year at Newton County High School. While the early bravado of playing as a true freshman reared its' head at times last fall, the former four star reports that he sees the game with a new sense of humility.

"I just have to step it up now," Graham said "I am in a big time role now. I have to accept that and do the things Coach Townsend tells me to do. He is a great coach and he played in the league for a long time. He knows everything about playing corner. When he says something, I listen and then I go out there and rep it. 

"I trust him and he pushes me every day to get better. He is always telling me that I can be a great player if go out there and work like he worked. He gives me a lot of motivation. He tells me that if I keep working hard that it will all come to me."

Graham and the rest of the Bulldogs will be in action this Thursday night on the road at Missouri. The Tigers are working hard to earn bowl eligibility, so Mississippi State should expect a solid effort from the home standing Tigers. ESPN will handle the broadcast duties.


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