Steve Robertson - Genespage.com

Mississippi State verbal set to battle in the trenches for State pride.

The All-Stars from the state of Mississippi will collide with their counterparts from Alabama as the two hand picked teams battle for state pride at noon this Saturday. One of the top offensive line prospects in Montgomery this weekend is Gautier High School (MS) product Paul Gainer. The long time Mississippi State commitment has been looking forward to this opportunity for some time.

The All-Star coaches have to work diligently to get players from different programs and different parts of the state on the same page quickly. Some teams use different terminology, so players have to execute first and ask questions later. Being able to get five players who have never taken a snap together moving as one is a real challenge.

""It gets a little hectic, but it's still fun," Paul Gainer shared. "We have some good players and we have had a lot of fun. We only get a few practices to get everything together, but it's been fun."

Mississippi's home base is Faulkner College. The team eats, sleeps and works together throughout the week in a real bonding experience. Gainer, a Gulf Coast student athlete, has shared a room with a prospect from northeast Mississippi.

"My roommate is Connor Reinike from Starkville," Gainer shared. "He's a cool guy. We were talking last night about how it's such a blessing to be here. I never imagined anything like this. When I came out here, it was just so exciting. It's just a blessing to be out here and be a part of this."

The All-Star teams have a chance to get away from home and spend some quality time with their peers. While the annual border war is a real matter of pride for the coaches and players, Gainer reports that he has enjoyed many of the off the field activities during the week.

"I'm a fat guy, so I have enjoyed all of the eating," Gainer said with a laugh. "We eat good out here, man. Seriously though, I have enjoyed the practices. It's a chance to bond and compete with the other players and just make each other better every single day. It's been great."

Gainer has found himself gravitating towards many of the other players on the team that are headed to Mississippi State for their college careers. There are currently five Mississippi All-Stars committed to Coach Dan Mullen and his staff.

"It's been good being out here with Austin Williams, James Jackson, Aaron Odom and Kylin Hill," Gainer said. "I am trying to do some scouting out there too. There are a couple of other guys out there that we are trying to put on the team with us, so we can really be good next year."

Before the future Bulldogs make the move to Starkville, there is the matter of winning the All-Star game and closing out their high school careers on a positive note. Gainer believes things are trending positively for the Magnolia Staters.

"We are going to be good and we are going to be ready,' Gainer said. "I don't know if I am going to start or not or if we are all going to be in the rotation. I know when it's my time to be out there that I am going to be ready. We're going to be good."

Mississippi won the All-Star game last season as the game rotated back to Mississippi for the first time in several years. The current senior class hopes to build on that success.


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