TN OL Malcolm Rawls

Malcolm Rawls (6-4, 310, 5.1, East HS in Memphis, TN), one of the most highly recruited offensive linemen in the nation, talked about his official visit to Mississippi State this past weekend.

Malcolm Rawls Profile:

How was your official visit to Mississippi State?
"I thought that it went real well, getting to spend time with Coach Croom. And the important thing to me was being able to hang out with the players. That's how I'm going to approach all of my visits. Whatever I decide on, that's going to be my family for the next 4 or 5 years, so I want to get to know them as much as I can."

Did you know much about Mississippi State prior to your visit?
"I talked to (MSU running back) Coach Drayton and Coach Croom, but I didn't know anything about the players. And I had never been to Starkville."

Obviously, Starkville is much smaller than Memphis, the city you currently live in. How does that affect your feelings about Mississippi State?
"That doesn't affect it one way or the other because it's not about the town, but the people in the town."

Now that you have been around the players, what are your feelings about them?
"They are real nice. My host was Deljuan Robinson, he is from Hernando (MS). I really appreciated him."

What kind of impression of Coach Croom did you come away with after meeting him one on one?
"Coach Croom is a real great man. To me, he takes a genuine interest in his players, not only with football but with education and player development."

Did you talk to the MSU players about him? If so, what did they say?
"They said the same thing. They told me that Coach Croom has made a big difference in the short time that he has been there. They really believe in him and are looking forward to the bright future of playing for him."

What did the coaches say they like about you?
"A lot of kids have the body, the size and the strength, but Coach Croom said he really likes me because I'm really intelligent. It's getting so close now, you need the players who make the least mistakes."

Now that the trip has come and gone, has Mississippi State's status moved up in your recruiting?
"I would have to say so, but being my first official visit, I don't have anything to compare it to. But despite that, I really think it was a pretty good visit. I had a chance to have all my questions answered about the university as far as athletically and academically. All in all, it was a pretty good trip."

Have you decided what other schools you are going to official visit?
"Right now, Tennessee, Memphis, Arkansas and probably Oklahoma State. I had Tennessee set up but I have an all-star game the week of that visit, so I'm going to have to reschedule it. The Memphis visit is the first weekend in December."

You could sign with just about any school in the nation. Why did you choose those five schools to visit?
"This is going to be a very big decision for my life and I have to go with a gut decision. And I can tell by just talking to the coaches, I can feel it."

Have you grown up a fan of any of those schools?
"I lived in the Mississippi area for a long time. I grew up in Grenada and my dad lived in Winona. And we have family in Columbus. That is the Mississippi State side. My mom is an alumni of Arkansas. And I grew up in Memphis watching the (Tennessee) Vols. Memphis, I have family and friends here."

Where does Oklahoma State fit in the pictures?
"I like the coach that is recruiting me because he is a guy from Memphis."

You said you have family in Mississippi. Was that the reason you chose to visit Mississippi State?
"No, I just wanted to know more about Mississippi State. I had a genuine interest in them."

Whas there one factor that cause that interest moreso than any other?
"I was being honored as player of the week at the Memphis Touchdown Club and Coach Croom was the speaker. After hearing him, I felt like it was just me and him in the room talking. He wasn't actually talking to me but his speech made me feel like he was."

After getting to know Coach Croom, his coaching staff and his players, do you think they will do something significant during Coach Croom's career at Mississippi State?
"I do. I think Coach Croom is going to turn the Bulldogs around."

I interviewed a teammate of yours last night, Dan Williams. Do you and Dan want to go to the same school?
"Yes sir. We would love to continue playing together."

Are you good friends or best friends?
"Me and Dan are best friends. We have been knowing each other since the 7th grade."

Have you ever gone up against Dan in practice?
"Yes sir."

Who usually wins those battles?
"The thing about Dan is I can block him, but he won't stay blocked. He has a nose for the ball. Even if I block him, he will find a way to get to the ball and make that play. I know with Dan if I don't give 100% I could get beat."

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Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at swindoll@genespage.com.

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