What was going through your mind the night before you reported to Mississippi State for training camp?
"The first thing that went through my mind was what to expect from Coach Croom and all the other players about me as a freshman. I was excited about knowing that I was coming in and playing in the SEC and knowing that our first game is on ESPN. The one thing that scares me is if I'm ready for this big step or big challenge that I'm about to take."
Do you believe you are ready?
"One of the things that I always tell myself is if it is meant to be, it will happen. That eases the stress off of me. I think I can play on this level. If a lot of people have doubt, well the truth will eventually come out."
Traveling from your home to Mississippi State, did you and your dad talk about this next big step in your life?
"Actually, he has been talking about that since I signed a scholarship (laugh). He hasn't stopped talking. I think he is more excited than I am. I can tell it has always been his dream for me to play in the SEC because he played in it. I always had the same dream and am excited about it, also."
Did you feel pressure from your dad due to him wanting you to play in the SEC?
"No, not at all. A lot of people thought that in my younger days that I was forced to play football, but one thing my dad always told me was don't play because I played, play because you want to play. That took a lot of pressure off of me. That made it easier on me to play the game and I enjoy playing it very much."
What did you do during the summer to prepare for your first season in the SEC?
"I worked out twice a day the entire summer, running, lifting weights, doing whatever it took to prepare me for when I got here."
Juco TE Robert Walker
What is your height and weight?
"6-4, 262 pounds."
What are your goals this season?
"Coming into the season, I sure hope that I'm able to play tight end. They don't know if they are going to play me at defensive end or wherever. Coach said he wants to try me at fullback and defensive end to give us some depth. But he also wants to keep me at tight end because I have a very good shot there. He said I'm a pretty good athlete, so whatever fits me the best and will allow me a lot of playing time is where they want to play me. Hopefully, I'm looking to start. I'm not just trying to get some playing time. I want to get out there and start and make the Bulldogs better, so we can have a winning season."
What position did you play in high school?
"In high school I played linebacker. I was a blue-chipper, a top-50 in the nation linebacker. I was offered by just about every school in the SEC, including Mississippi State. Coach Sherrill recruited me, too. I was committed to LSU out of high school but it didn't work out because my ACT score wasn't high enough. So, I had to go to juco. Coach Muschamp sent me to juco in southwest Mississippi. I could have played linebacker, but they had two juco All-American linebackers starting there already. Coach said I was too athletic not to be on the field playing, so he put me at tight end. I ended up, as a freshman, taking the position of the guy who is now at Clemson and was a sophomore at the time. I like tight end a lot and fell in love with it."
Have you told them you prefer to play tight end?
"I have, but that is not the question right now. They all know that I really want to play tight end, but we don't have much depth on the defensive line, so they probably want me to play defensive end. But, if they will let me play tight end, I think I have a real good shot to show them that I can probably start at tight end."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com, the source for Mississippi State sports on TheInsiders.com sports network. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.