"I was committed to Washington State," Kody Schexnayder said. "And it's nothing against Coach (Mike) Leach or Coach (Eric) Mele or anybody up there. Mississippi State is just a great opportunity. It's a lot closer to home and my parents will be able to come and see me play a whole lot more.
"When I went up there and visited the campus, I just loved it. It's just a great environment. My parents really liked it too. I can't wait to go back."
It turns out that a congratulatory gesture from Schexnayder himself led to the River Ridge, Louisiana standout joining the Bulldog program.
"When I saw that Coach (Chris) Boniol was going to be taking the job up there, I called him to congratulate him," Schexnayder said. "He told me that he was going to tell Coach (Dan) Mullen about me and then things just sort of went from there. They offered me a chance to be a preferred walk-on up there. I am excited about being a Bulldog."
The journey to become a major college kicking prospect sort of began by accident. Growing up as one half of an athletic pair of twins, Schexnayder began to develop a strong leg out of necessity.
"My brother, Kyle, was always the quarterback," Schexnayder explained. "He's going to Louisiana College now, but when we're younger, I would have to get out there and run routes for him some times. He would throw passes and I got a little tired of always having to throw the ball back. I just started kicking it and pretty soon I got pretty good at it."
The journey continued as Schexnayder matured as an athlete and the chance to help his team became a real opportunity on the high school level.
"I had a great kicking coach in Johnny Curtis, he's at Ball State now," Schexnayder said. "He really believed in me and he pushed me to be the best I could be. I really owe him a lot. He and our old kicker Calvin Linden really taught me a lot.
"As I got stronger and I started to get my average up, I realized that I might be able to really do something with kicking. I got in the weight room and I got stronger."
Once Linden left the program after his graduation, Schexnayder took over full time as the team's punter and handled some of the other kicking disciplines as well.
"I think I averaged about 38 yards a punt that year and I just knew that wasn't going to cut it," Schexnayder said. "I really committed myself to the weight room to get stronger. I wanted to do all I could do to help my team win.
"I wanted to put our defense in the best possible position. It was my job to keep the other team backed up and I took that very seriously. I wanted to always help our defense in every way I could."
The extra work paid off for Schexnayder who upped his punting average to 44 yards per kick. 18 of his 31 punts as a high school senior wound up inside the opponents' 20 yard line. The incoming freshman is excited to arrive in Starkville ready to help the Bulldogs get better.
"I am coming in ready to work and ready to compete," Schexnayder. "I love competing and I love helping my team. I am really excited about being a Bulldog and having the chance to play in the SEC. I am going to go up there and give it all I can and do my best to win the starting job some day."
Schexnayder was part of an 8-4 season ago that ended with John Curtis falling to Rummel in the second round of the state playoffs. He was selected as 1st Team All-State by the Louisiana Sports Writers' Association.