Malik Heath is a proven commodity despite being a prospect just entering his junior season. The talented wide out showed on Saturday that he can be a physical presence in both the running game and the passing game.
Despite coming up short on the scoreboard, Heath believes the experience gained in Starkville will help his team prepare for the season opener this coming weekend.
"I feel like we need to get in shape more," Heath said. "I know we can tackle better than we did today. I think we just need to give more effort and we will be straight."
A back and forth game seemed to be favoring Callaway after Heath's big gain in the passing game. The junior standout reports that he is prepared to do all he can to get his team into the endzone with regularity this fall.
"All I was thinking was that I was about to go up there and get that ball," Heath said. "Big players make big plays and I needed to make a play. I really wasn't in the best position, but I still went up and got it. That's what I am supposed to do.
"I feel like that big play gave us some confidence. I feel like sometimes the team feeds off of me and I wanted to make a play to keep everybody's heads up. I feel like I am the leader on offense, so I feel like I need to lead more. If I get down and start putting my head down, then they are going to start shutting down. I feel like I need to be a better leader to keep them up."
Having the chance to play in Davis Wade Stadium, the home of the Mississippi State Bulldogs, appears to have been a positive experience for the 2018 verbal commitment.
"It felt great to play in my stadium. It was good to be home," Heath said. "This is where I want to come to school at, so it was great to come out here and see how it feels on the field and see what it's like to play before some of our fans. I know there will be a lot more fans when I come up here. but I can get used to that."
Heath's Bulldog debut is still two seasons away, so his focus is trained on more immediate concerns. This Friday, Callaway will take on Ridgeland in the season opener for both teams. Heath expect his team to clean up some mistakes made during the jamboree and bring a solid effort in week one.
"We have to lock in this week and stay focused," Heath said. "I think we might have lost a little focus last week. We just need to practice hard and be ready to come out and play hard against Ridgeland. If we do that, then I think we're going to be alright."