Normally being close to home would have been a good thing during a hard time like Will was facing, but it actually made the situation worse.
"Being from Starkville, everyone knows who I am," said Will. "When I would go out to eat, or just anywhere in town, everybody would ask me why I wasn't practicing? What was wrong? Stuff like that. I just could not forget about it. When I got hurt during high school, I was still able to play basketball and football. This year I did not have anything else to fill my time. I just really wanted to be out there playing."
Being close to home was not all bad, though, he would still be around some of the most important people in his life.
"My family has always been supportive of me and everything that I do," said Will. "My brother (Andy) is in school at State too, and he has really helped me. He has always pushed me to be better and helped me."
Just a year ago Will was finishing his senior year at Starkville Academy. During the two seasons that he played football at SA, Will was the starting quarterback. But soon he discovered he could make a switch.
"While I was at State's camp they saw me at receiver, and I liked playing receiver," said Will. "When I got down to play in the MPSA all-Star game, my team had three quarterbacks. They told us we would rotate in and out, but the rest of the time we would be on the bench. I decided to switch to receiver full time for that game, and I was pretty successful."
During his senior year and after the all-Star game, the recruiting really picked up for Will. But he already had his heart set on his school.
"I was just waiting on them (MSU) to offer, and they did when I took my visit," said Will. "I got letters and calls from all the other SEC West schools, USM, Delta State and some other small schools, but I really wanted to be a Bulldog."
Will graduated from high school at six foot four, but only 180 pounds. While the MSU coaches liked his size and speed, they really wanted him to put on some weight.
"That was one of the two reasons for me sitting out a year. The coaches wanted me to mature, because I was young, but they also wanted me to put on some weight," said Will. "During this past year, I put on 30 pounds of muscle. So I would say the year was good for me."
Although Will played at the highest division of academy football, AAAA, he realizes that not too many academy athletes get the opportunity to play Div. 1 college football.
"I know this is a great chance for me and I want to make the most of it," said Will. "I just want to show other people that if you work hard you can make it, not matter what school you went to."
And all Will has done since making the short trip to MSU is work hard, and he has gotten some attention for it.
"We are going through our station drills in the mornings right now, and we have to be up there pretty early," explained Will. "When I am there, I am trying to do everything that I can do to make myself better. The other day coach Hendricks came up to me right at the end of the drills and told me to keep working hard. He said all of the coaches had mentioned how hard I was working. It made me feel good to know that I was being noticed."
Now that Will has gotten his chance to prove himself, he knows that he still has some stuff to learn.
"I still don't know everything about being a receiver, but I am learning," said Will. "I am going out in the afternoons and running and throwing with Kyle York, and he is really helping me learn the little things. He is helping me with my routes and my breaks."
At six feet four, now 210 pounds, and the work ethic to make him great, Will is now hoping for just a chance.
"I just want to get out there next year and help the team. I want to get on the field," said Will. "I just can not wait to run out of the tunnel in Oregon, I have been dreaming about that for years."
Grant Alford is a free-lance correspondent for Gene's Page. He is a student at Mississippi State University and works as a sports reporter for the student newspaper, The Reflector. You can contact him by email at email@example.com.