[Premium site article] A prized running back coming out of high school, six feet or taller, nearly 200 pounds makes a switch to defensive back at the college level. Sounds familiar to MSU fans, think Pig Prather. Now add the name Walter Burdett to that list.

"I have had the chance to learn from Pig a lot since I have been here," Burdett said of his newfound mentor. "He has really talked to me about his switch, and he has been really successful."

Successful might be an understatement. All-American honors last season, pre-season all-America honors this season, rated as the No. 1 professional prospect by one publication and a three-year starter on one of the nation's best defenses, sounds like a great resume.

Burdett won't have the time to be a three-year starter, but with his size and speed he has the ability to make a big impact for the Bulldog defense.

"The coaches keep telling me I have a lot of ability," Burdett said, "but ability doesn't mean anything if you don't do anything with it."

At 6 foot one and 210 pounds, Burdett already sounds like a safety, but add in 4.5 speed and you have the combination that coaches drool over. Now, move that combination to a position that allows him to blitz; cover and help with the run and you have the potential to have a big time player.

"I love the opportunity just to go out there and hit, that is one thing I really love about football. In this defense I get the chance to run and make plays. That is the main reason I came to school here," Burdett said.

Burdett comes to MSU after a standout career at Middle Georgia CC where he played for the past two seasons. Burdett posted 55 tackles, three interceptions and three fumble recoveries at a position listed as falcon.

"The falcon position at Middle Georgia is just about the same as the dog position here," Burdett said. "That gives me the advantage of already playing in a system like this one. It won't be as much learning that I have to do."

Although Walter did''t get much playing time at the dog position during his first game as a Bulldog, coach Jackie Sherrill has already said that he will get more time during the next few games. That can be attributed to him knowing the position.

While Walter has made his name known on special teams so far, he said the one thing that really has motivated him is his family. His family lives in Georgia, but they made the trip to Starkville for the Memphis game to support Walter.

"It is always good when you know that there are people there just to watch you," Walter said about his family making the trip for his game. "That really means a lot to me to know that my family is behind me.

"My dad is really the one person that motivates me. He has always pushed me to go out and play hard. When I was younger I was smaller and slower than everyone else, and my dad always pushed me to just play hard. Now, that is what I try to do every game."

Once again MSU fans can give credit to coach Sherrill and his staff for finding a gem in the Junior College ranks.

Grant Alford is a free-lance correspondent for Gene's Page. He is a student at Mississippi State University. You can contact him by email at hammer634@hotmail.com.

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