Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

Shades Valley, Alabama star believes the redshirt year was the best thing for him.

When asked which redshirt freshmen player may make a big impact this fall, many players and observers of Mississippi State practice mention slot receiver Keith Mixon. Mixon, a product of Shades Valley High School (AL), has prepared himself to make plays this season. While most newcomers come in expecting to play, looking back Mixon believes the redshirt year was the best thing for him.

"It feels great to be back out here," Keith Mixon said. "It's been a long summer. It's been great getting my feet wet again. I am ready to make plays."

This time last year, Mixon was focused on finding his classes, learning his playbook and getting to know his way around a college weight room. Having had the benefit of a full year of Bulldog football under is belt, Mixon is now ready to make the move from the sidelines to the front lines. 

"It feels good," Mixon said of knowing he will play this fall. "Redshirting was the best decision for me. I got to know the plays, the formations and just getting used to making plays and feeling like I was comfortable out there. It was a good feeling to redshirt."

When Mixon first arrived on campus, he was open to whatever the coaching staff needed him to do. The former three star standout reports that he was more than willing to step on the field and help, but he was eager to follow whatever the Bulldog plan for his career was.

"Honestly, when I first got here we had those meetings and Coach G (Billy Gonzales) was all up on me," Mixon said with a grin. "I knew then that I wasn't mentally ready and probably not physically. I just stuck with it and got in my playbook and I talked to Fred Ross, that's my roommate. We just went over everything, but (redshirting) was the best thing for me."

When the spring practice sessions rolled around, Mixon was ready to put his new physique and his new knowledge of the Bulldog offense to the test. A few bumps and bruises later, Mixon is ready for some football where they keep score.

"I'm good now. I was a little banged up," Mixon said of his condition post spring. "It happens, it's football. I feel like I did pretty good in the spring game, but I had a couple of drops. I wanted to catch everything, but it happens. It's the game of football. I just want to pick up where I left off in the spring." 

While there are several new weapons in the Bulldog offensive arsenal, Mixon is growing accustomed to his role in the Dan Mullen system.

"I think I can help the offense with some big plays," Mixon shared. "I do a lot of bubbles and jet sweeps, just spread the ball around. With them moving Fred Ross around and me and Malik Dear on the inside, I think it should open us up and (allow) us to make some big plays for us.

"It feels good to know that Coach G and Coach (Dan) Mullen trust me. They see that I have talent, so it's great to know that my position coach and my head coach trust me. I can make plays for them."

With a trio of new comers to the wide receivers room, Mixon is in a position where he is helping the young guys get acclimated despite being a younger guy himself. The personable wideout knows exactly how it feels to show up on campus needing a friend to show you the way.

"Jamal (Couch) is pretty big," Mixon said. "He reminds me of Bear (De'Runnya Wilson). He just has to learn. He can help us out a lot on the outside. I think Reggie (Todd) was coming in as a basketball player. He has really good ball skills. They're all still young. They have to learn how it took for me. They're doing great in meetings. They are doing way better than I did. They are catching on quick."

Mississippi State opens the season at home on September 3rd when the Jaguars of South Alabama pay a visit. The Bulldogs are 2-0 All-Time against USA with the most recent victory coming in 2014 when the Bulldogs won 35-3 in Mobile. Tickets are available for the Bulldog season opener with a kickoff scheduled for 11 A.M.

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