With a full fall season and two spring practices under his belt, Jonnas Spivey is ready to show Mississippi State fans just what he can do on the college level.
"Redshirting definitely helped me," Spivey said. "Coach (Dan Mullen) had talked everything over with me and my family and we all felt that was best for me. It gave me a chance to learn the playbook better and get bigger, faster and stronger. I think I achieved all of the goals I had for last year and now I am ready to come in and contribute. I just want to help the team the best way that I can."
Spivey reports that Bulldog receivers' coach Billy Gonzales really pushed him to strive for excellence. Now in his first season on the active roster, Spivey believes those lessons learned last year will show up on the field this year.
"We have a great relationship," Spivey said of Gonzales. "He is pushing me, because he expects more out of me. I feel like I can take coaching well and I really like how Coach handles his guys."
The Bulldogs are without three wide receivers who contributed a season ago. Joe Morrow exhausted his eligibility, De'Runnya Wilson declared early for the NFL draft and Fred Brown was dismissed from the University. Those veterans may have moved on, but the knowledge of the game they shared with Spivey remains.
"Those guys told me on the very first day to learn the playbook," Spivey said. "They told me how important it was to try to get better at everything I was doing like route running, skills and drills and going up and getting the ball. The told me about all of the things Coach G was looking for in the receivers and how important it was to just be consistent."
While Spivey is still waiting for his first college snap, he is already had to act as a mentor of sorts for some talented true freshmen who have joined the program this summer. The personable Spivey reports that he knows what it feels like to be the new guy who is still learning the ins and outs of the Bulldog program.
"I have been telling them a lot of the same things that I was told. The first thing is know your playbook," Spivey shared. "You have to learn a lot of that on your own like the formations. You have to be willing to take coaching and just work hard in everything. They've done a good job so far of being consistent."
Spivey knows what the newcomers feel like. Last summer, Spivey showed up in Starkville looking to acclimate to college life and learn a new position. To say that the south Mississippi product had questions would be putting it mildly.
"It was fun, but at the same time it was hard for me," Spivey said. "I had played quarterback my whole life, so when I got here I had to learn how to run routes and learn coverages. It was very difficult for me. I have overcome all of that now and I have a better grasp of the game."
Mississippi State has several pass catchers returning to the Bulldog offense this season. Spivey is one of three redshirt freshmen looking to make an impact. There is only one football and everybody wants to touch it. Spivey reports that he is doing the things he needs to do to improve his chances of making a move in the rotation at wide receiver.
"I am working hard to be consistent when the ball comes my way," Spivey said. "Coach G preaches all of the time that there is only one football, so when it comes your way you have to do everything you can do to help the quarterback and make a play for the team."
The Bulldog coaching staff is evaluating four different quarterbacks as they prepare for the season opener against South Alabama. Spivey claims that each of the Bulldog signal callers are capable of moving the offense, so he is not overly concerned about who is calling the cadence.
"There really isn't any adjustment for us," Spivey said. "If they throw the ball our way, then we just go catch it. That's our job. We just have to stay consistent and keep working hard. It doesn't really matter who the quarterback is. We still have to do our job."