Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

Bulldog verbal hoping to close out prep career with playoff berth.

Gautier High School big man Paul Gainer has high hopes for his current team and his future team, Mississippi State. Fall practice has begun in earnest for both squads. Before the whistle blew to ring in the new season, Gainer had the chance to work with the Mississippi State coaching staff at the annual Big Dawg camp. The experience appears to have been a valuable one for the three star offensive lineman.

"I had a great time up there," Paul Gainer said. "Everything was great. The atmosphere was great, the environment was great and the people were great. I got a chance to get to know some of the other commits and we traded phone numbers. I already knew James (Jackson) and Austin (Williams), but I got to meet Kylin (Hill) and the quarterback Keytaon (Thompson). Keytaon is my boy. We've been texting each other ever since the camp."

The chance to meet future teammates was a big part of the experience for Gainer, but having the chance to try his future position coach, John Hevesy, on for size was also an important part of things.

"They worked me out some at center," Gainer said. "I had never played center before in my life before that night. I am not sure if that's where they plan to play me or not. I am good with whatever helps the team. 

"It was good to be around the coaches and learn some new things. I really feel like they love me. I really do. They all acted like they were glad to see me there and I felt like they loved me being up there. They told me that they can't wait for me to get up there."

The Bulldogs were able to close out Gainer's recruitment earlier this year. While the Gulf Coast product remains firm in his decision, there are other programs still in touch with the talented Gainer should his situation change.

"I still hear a lot from Southern Miss and Louisiana-Lafayette," Gainer said. "A lot of the other schools pretty much eased off, but those two are still recruiting me. They know that I'm solid to Mississippi State, but they said that they wanted me to know that I still had a home if something changed."

With his college destination set for Starkville, Gainer is now turning his energies towards Gautier High School football. A change in offensive scheme has fans of GHS excited about the upcoming campaign. 

"We have changed from the Wing-T to the spread offense," Gainer said. "That's exciting and it should be a lot of fun. It's a high paced offense and I think we have the people to run it. I feel like if we keep working hard and stick together as a team, that we can do some good things. We can't have any individuals on this team. We just have to stick together. I feel like if we do that, then we can't really be stopped.

"We aren't going to have a jamboree or anything like that. We are just going to get ready to go next week and go play George County at George County. I am looking forward to getting going. I feel like we can be a playoff team, if we just keep working hard and sticking together."

In addition to his post season aspirations for GHS, Gainer has some high hopes for the Bulldogs of Mississippi State. While most expect the Bulldogs to be a bowl team again this fall, Gainer believes the Bulldogs may challenge for some bigger and better post season locales.

"Looking at the schedule, I think we can win 10 games," Gainer said. "Alabama is going to be a tough game and LSU is going to be a good game, but I feel like they can win the rest. That game with Texas A&M is going to be a big one, but they play that one in Starkville. I feel like we're going to go up there and beat Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl. I think they're going to have another big year."

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