Steve Robertson -

Oakland High (TN) defensive back returned to Starkville for the first time as a Bulldog verbal

Mississippi State welcomed well over 100 high school and junior college players to campus Friday night for the Bulldogs' annual Big Dawg camp. One of the top prospects in attendance was Bulldog verbal Kaleb Oliver who did not participate in drills, but took in the sights and sounds of Mississippi State with his mother.

"Things went really well," Kaleb Oliver said. "I got a chance to check out the academic center and all of the athletic facilities. My mom and I got to tour the campus and ride around and see everything. We got to see all of the buildings. It's a beautiful campus here."

During the June camps, Oliver was working hard to earn the approval of the Mississippi State coaches. Now firmly in the Bulldog fold, Oliver was able to relax and enjoy getting familiar with the Bulldog atmosphere.

"This time was a lot different," Oliver chuckled. "I got to hang out more with the coaches and talk some football. I was able to relax more and just get to see how Mississippi State does things."

Since offering his commitment to the Bulldogs last month, Oliver has seen some pretty major changes in the level of attention he was receiving from other programs.

"The day after I committed, Purdue called me and offered me," Oliver explained. "Outside of that, all of the other schools have pretty much just laid low."

Oliver was identified and pursued by Mississippi State defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, Peter Sirmon. Sirmon is responsible for recruiting Oliver's area. To hear the three star defensive back tell it, the pair were fast friends.

"We have a great relationship and it's even better now that I've committed," Oliver said. "They haven't really said if they want me to play free or strong safety. I am hoping to play some at strong and to play some at nickel back just to see how it goes."

With no other college camps on the calendar, Oliver is preparing to begin his final season at Oakland High. Expectations are high heading into the fall.

"We are looking really good this year," Oliver shared. "We have won a couple of 7-on7s. We went out to North Carolina for a tournament and we came in third our of 32 teams. I wish we would have won it, but I was proud of how good we did."

Graduation will give way to new relationships and new teammates. On Friday night, Oliver was able to spend some time with a lot of the players who will be a major part of his college experience.

"It's nice to be able to get to know everybody." Oliver said. "It's neat talking to each other and finding out what stands out to them about Mississippi State. We all have some different answers to that. I a still very solid with Mississippi State. I am excited to get back and watch some games. I know that they're going to win some games this year, because that's just what they do here."

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