Steve Robertson - Genespage.com

Mississippi State signee Tyre Phillips took part in football practice sessions last week.

Mississippi State signed nine of scout.com's top 100 junior college players when the signing period opened on December 14th. Coach Dan Mullen and his staff took a big step forward on that day with over a dozen new Bulldogs expected to enroll in Starkville once classes resume on January 6th. One signee getting a head start on what it feels like to be a Bulldog is offensive line signee Tyre Phillips.

A product of the East Mississippi Community College Lion football program, Tyre Phillips has grown accustomed to winning. Earlier this month, Phillips and EMCC capped a tremendous season by winning eleven in a row including the final game of the season, a 27-17 besting of Kilgore College in the Mississippi Bowl.

With his days in Scooba, Mississippi winding down, Phillips made his long standing commitment to Mississippi State official by inking with the Bulldogs on signing day. Just two days later, Phillips was in Starkville going through the practice paces with his future team. 

"It was an amazing experience," Phillip said of participating in Bulldogs' bowl prep both Friday and Saturday. "I got to go through all of the meetings and then go to practice. Coach (John) Hevesy didn't want to put too much on me, so he had me running with the scout team. 

"It was a chance to just sort of see how they do everything and learn how they talk. I just got a chance to learn how things go and get an idea of what it's going to be like when I get up there.

"I got a chance to see how Coach Hevesy does things. I know that he means what he says and he says what he means. You have to know that from the beginning."

Walking into the Mississippi State practice facility was a moment Phillips reports that he will never forget. The place simply felt like home once the talented offensive tackle got a sense of his surroundings and found the locker assigned to "Tyre Phillips".

"It was just a great feeling for me. It was like my dream had come true," Phillips explained. "I have worked so hard to get to this point, so it meant a lot to me. Just being out there with the other guys and getting to know everybody was a big part of things. I can't wait to get back up there."

While December signees cannot travel to the St. Petersburg Bowl with the team, Phillips will be watching from home with friends and family. Having gone through a couple of practice sessions with the Bulldogs, Phillips has a better idea of what to expect when the team takes the field.

"After being in practice, I know what to expect once I see the defense," Phillips said. "I have a pretty good idea about what they are going to run and what protections to run. It's exciting. I am looking forward to watching the game and seeing how we do."

The Grenada, Mississippi native felt a solid bond with the Mississippi State program from the very beginning. Now the talented offensive tackle represents the Bulldogs everywhere he goes by wearing the Maroon and White and proudly displaying an "M-State" tag on the front of his pick-up truck, 

"I just knew from the first time I ever attended a Mississippi State football game that I felt at home there," Phillips shared. "When I heard those cowbells for the first time, it just felt like a special place to me. I have liked Mississippi State ever since.

"I am excited to get up there and get started. I am happy to be a part of the Bulldog family."

Phillips was selected to the NJCAA All-Region 1st Team after helping East Mississippi to the Region 23 Title and the nation's sixth best scoring offense. The talented tackle will be joined in Starkville by fellow Lion alums safety Brian Cole and defensive lineman Chauncey Rivers. 


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