Steve Robertson -

Itawamba Community College defensive tackle expected to be a big part of the 2017 Bulldog defense

With Mississippi State making the transition to a 3-4 defensive alignment, the Bulldogs needed to make some adjustments in their targets for the defensive line. One of the top early targets for the new Bulldog defensive coaches was Itawamba Community College defensive tackle, Lee Autry. Autry, the younger brother of former Bulldog defensive end Denico Autry, elected to jump on board with Coach Dan Mullen and his staff back during the spring.

Since making his pledge to join the Bulldogs next year, Autry has spent his time working towards improving himself as a player. With his final campaign in Fulton, Mississippi pending, Autry believes he is ready for some big things this fall.

"We just wrapped up our summer camp," Autry said, "I feel like things went really good. We had a good team last year, but I feel like we're going to be even better this year. We have a lot of good players coming back.

"I have really worked hard this year to be better. I dropped a little weight and I feel like that I am a little quicker now. I definitely feel like I am more agile now. I really want to have a good season this year and help the team."

Hoping to graduate in December, Autry spends time each and every week in touch with the coaching staff at Mississippi State. The North Carolina native reports that his relationships with area recruiting coach, Scott Sallach, and projected position coach, Brian Baker, are very good ones.

"I talk to the coaches over there at least once a week," Autry said. "They all have a really good sense of humor. I really like them and I have a good time talking with them. I have been busy this summer, so I haven't had the chance to really get over there much since the spring.

"I am not sure when I am going to be able to get back over there. I am going to be home for the next month or so. I am on my way home right now. I don't think I am going to be back until we start camp."

Despite his commitment to Mississippi State, Autry is still being courted by several other college football programs. While the talented big man is flattered by the continued attention, it appears that the Bulldogs remain in good shape when it comes to Autry's signing day signature.

"There are still some other schools recruiting me, but things are still good between me and Mississippi State," Autry said. "Tennessee, West Virginia and a few more schools are still talking with me, but I know if signing day were today, I would be signing with Mississippi State."

Splitting time in the Indian rotation last season as a freshman at ICC, Autry played in ten games, recorded 21 tackles, two and a half tackles for loss and batted down two passes. Projected as a starter this fall, Autry is expected to play a big role for Coach Sean Cannon's squad who earned a playoff berth in the MACJC post season a year ago.

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