[Premium site article] If there is one player on the Mississippi State football team that is confident in his ability, that player is defensive lineman Dannie Snyder.

Snyder transferred this year from Arizona Western College, along with teammates Michael Oyefesobi and Kahlil Nash. His path to this position might not be the most common one, but it is one that he feels has led him to success and will continue to do so.

Snyder comes from the small town of Eudora, Arkansas. He got his interest in football because of the NFL superstar that came from just across the river.

Snyder said, "I first started liking football when the 49ers had their dynasty. Jerry Rice was there and he was from Mississippi which is right across the bridge. I really liked the 49ers and started watching a lot of football around the age of five."

Unlike most young boys interested in the game, Snyder did not play little league football. Instead he got his experience playing street ball with his uncles. He was in the seventh grade when he first strapped on the pads for the school team. It did not take long for him to get accommodated though. Dannie played on the ninth grade team the whole year as a defensive tackle.

Beginning in the ninth grade Snyder was playing as a linebacker. He said, " I pretty much dominated because I was class 3-A. I dominated through my senior season and I was one of the top linebackers in the state of Arkansas."

The confidence shows through while Snyder talks about his high school play with a grin on his face. He has a right to be happy as he looks back. In his final season he was credited with making 182 tackles and causing nine fumbles. Still a little bitter, Snyder said, "I didn't make the all-star game and I don't know how that happened. I made all-state every year."

Some might not know that Snyder actually signed with Ole Miss coming out of high school. Unfortunately he did not make the necessary test scores, and was forced to look elsewhere. He landed at Arkansas Pine-Bluff instead.

Snyder was not happy with this choice and said, "I was having doubts about myself. I was just laying back and working out. I decided I could not play at Pine-Bluff and I had to get back on the Division One level."

It was this point in his career that Dannie went out west to Arizona Western. He said, "It was hot, but it was fun. I played with Michael and Kahlil and we pretty much dominated that league with three D-lineman. Everyone went max protect on offense. It was tough getting to the quarterback sometimes with double teams but we got there." Snyder received second-team all-Arizona, but said "I thought I should have received more, but it goes like that sometime."

Again the confidence, but that is what makes Dannie Snyder fun to talk to. He works hard on the field and is a tough competitor. He is not afraid to compliment himself if he feels it is deserved.

Snyder actually attributes his toughness to those old days of playing street ball in Arkansas. He said, "When we were younger we played against the older guys in the community. They would say 'if you all want to play with us, you all cannot cry if you get hit.' They would knock the mess out us, but you couldn't cry because you wanted to continue to play. That is a big factor in the toughness."

Snyder was recruited by South Carolina, Ole Miss, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and Southern Miss when he came out of Arizona Western. He said he came to State because of the defense. "They send all their players to the next level, and that's my goal: go to the next level and have my degree."

Dannie has the kind of determination that any coach would like to have on their team. He wants people watching him to know that on the field he is going to give it his all, and he said, "Eventually that big play is going to happen if they keep coming my way."

He definitely has the right outlook on the game. He has confidence in himself and tries to instill that in his teammates. "I encourage my teammates," Snyder said, "That's what all the good ones do. If you don't have any confidence in yourself then nobody else is going to have confidence in you."

Dannie is focused on making it to the NFL. He feels he can improve his skills while at MSU and be able to accomplish that goal. "I feel I am an excellent run stopper," he said, "I'm really just working on my pass rushing." That will be his personal task for the remainder of the season.

There is a fine line in sports between confidence and cockiness. The really successful athletes seem to know where that line is and stay on the positive side of it. Dannie Snyder is one of those athletes. He is very confident in his ability, but humble enough to know his role on the team and know that he has to make improvements to his own game. Look for number 52 on the field for the Bulldogs, and be watching for his big play to happen.

Hank Allen is a free-lance correspondent for Gene's Page. Hank is a student at Mississippi State University. He is also a reporter for the student newspaper, The Reflector. You can contact him by email at

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