Kevin Dockery: No Longer a Diamond in the Rough

Most recruiting services barely had MSU starting cornerback Kevin Dockery on their radar screen when he was a senior in high school. However, he never doubted himself even back in the days when he was playing quarterback as a senior for Hernando (MS) High School and only had one scholarship offer, an offer from Mississippi State.

"I always looked at myself during the recruiting process as a diamond in the rough," said the 5-9, 187-pound senior. "I knew I was better than what most scouts and coaches were rating me as. I knew if I came in and worked hard, then everything would take care of itself."

About to be a four-year starter, he sure proved that statement to be correct.

And his counterpart on the opposite of the field, junior corner David Heard, another lightly recruited player coming out of high school, has also done well. He's even stepped his game up another notch, at least based on what Kevin and MSU head coach Sylvester Croom have seen in training camp.

"David has come back this year and is playing a lot better," said Kevin Dockery. "He's really stepped up his game. He's reacting a lot quicker. He's just trying to elevate his game to be the best player that he can be."

Kevin and David, despite being starters, have two very highly recruited freshmen pushing them hard in practice, Derek Pegues and Keith Fitzhugh. What kind of effect has that had on him?

"It helps me elevate my game because in practice you have that competition," said the easy-going Dockery. "And in game situations, when you need a breather, you know you can come out of the game and feel comfortable with your backup being in. It helps you sleep a lot easier."

And he's also doing his best to help the youngsters sleep a little easier at night by offering pointers when he notices things they need to improve on.

"I give them pointers here and there," said Dockery. "If I notice something in their technique that they may need to correct, I help them with that. I also tell them to continue to work hard and, in time, it will pay off."

Coach Croom, during his press conference, mentioned how cocky Pegues is, probably too cocky for his taste. Has Dockery had a tougher time getting him to listen when he offers advice?

"He's cocky, but at the same time he listens," said Dockery. "If we suggest that he do this instead of doing that, he trys to take our advice."

As for being cocky, that's not a bad trait for a cornerback to have. In fact, it's probably a requirement, according to Dockery.

"You have to be cocky and have that edge about yourself," he said. "We all have it, but some of us just show it more than the others."

As for what his future expectations of the two very talented freshmen are, Dockery didn't mince words.

"The next four years, Mississippi State will have a secondary with two shutdown corners," said Dockery. "Both of them are going to be really good players at that position."

With two experience starters in Dockery and Heard and two potential all-stars backing them up, Mississippi State fans may be in for some fun times the next four years.


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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