Give thanks on Thanksgiving for having your family members close by your side. Then, on Saturday, give thanks to the Mississippi State football seniors that will end their careers this Saturday.
This time of year is for giving thanks. And on Thanksgiving of this year, I will give thanks for having all my close family members still on this earth with me. And I hope each and every one of you will have your family members close by your side on Thanksgiving so that you can share that wonderful day with them. While I'm sure sports, in particular MSU sports, are very important to all of you who are reading this, there is nothing that can compare to the importance of family.
While the seniors that will play for Mississippi State University's football team one last time this Saturday may not be true members of your families, they are still an important part of your lives because they have given their blood, sweat and tears for the university that you love so dearly, Mississippi State.
Although these seniors haven't enjoyed the success that they hoped for when they first signed with or walked on at Mississippi State, they have done things the right way on and off the field and have worked as hard as they possibly could. Those things allow them to go out as winners.
And each of you, as fans, should show your appreciation to these seniors for casting their lot with YOUR university.
Mississippi State's football seniors - Jerious Norwood, Chris McNeil, Avery House, Jamaal Johnson, Marcus Evans, Brett Morgan, Tee Milons, Derek Ambrose, Clarence McDougal, Kevin Dockery, Willie Evans, Brooks Crabtree, Terrence Beaman, Johnny Wadley, Britt Cross and Jeremy Jack.
Tail back Jerious Norwood, a Parade All-American as a senior in high school, will leave MSU with the career record in rushing yards. Jerious could have chosen just about any school in America, but he chose MSU. Despite not enjoying the success he had hoped for, he never has complained and always refers to we when talking about MSU. I is not a part of his vocabulary.
Center Chris McNeil, one of the most highly recruited offensive linemen in the southeast as a senior in high school, chose MSU over numerous schools. After a promising redshirt freshman season ended with an injury, Chris worked hard on his rehab and came back good as new the next year, earning playing time in all but one game his sophomore season. During his junior and senior seasons, he will have started 22 games. Chris exemplifies what hard work can do.
Offensive tackle Avery House, who didn't play his true freshman and redshirt freshman seasons, could have given up and transferred to a smaller college where he could have earned more playing time, but he stuck with it and became a starter at tackle his senior season.
Cornerback Jamaal Johnson is a player who walked on at MSU after finishing his career at Mendocino (CA) Community College. He could have chosen smaller schools where he could have been an immediate starter, but he chose MSU because he wanted to play in the toughest conference in the nation, the SEC. Jamaal, through hard work and dedication, has earned playing time in every game since arriving on the MSU campus, including one start.
Marcus Evans is a walk-on defensive back who, through his hard work and dedication, earned a scholarship from MSU head coach Sylvester Croom in August of this year. A former Starkville High School standout, Marcus first signed with Alcorn State and then transferred to Mississippi State. Playing his first season this year due to NCAA transfer rules, Marcus will play in all 11 games.
Brett Morgan, like his two brothers before him, signed with Mississippi State coming out of high school. A diehard MSU fan, Brett has always been a team player who has done whatever the coaching staff has asked of him.
Wide receiver Tee Milons had several schools that wanted his signature out of high school, but he chose to stay close to home by signing with Mississippi State.
Running back Derek Ambrose, a walk-on from Co-Lin Community College, played in all 11 games as a junior. After switching to running back during the spring, Derek showed promise before suffering a season-ending ACL injury during the early part of his senior season.
Linebacker Clarence McDougal, after suffering a near career-ending knee injury in the Mississippi-Alabama all-star game practices, sat out the first two years of his college career rehabbing his injured knee. Since he sat foot on the playing field for the first time his redshirt sophomore year, Clarence has played in 33 games, including 14 starts.
Defensive back Kevin Dockery, whose only D-I offer out of high school was Mississippi State, proved the recruiting analysts and college coaches wrong by starting 38 games during his career, including 7 starts as a freshman.
Defensive end Willie Evans, a second-team All-SEC selection his junior season, will probably earn first-team All-SEC this year due to leading the SEC in sacks (13) and tackles for losses (16). His career sacks (22.5) places him 4th in MSU history.
Punter Brooks Crabtree, a walk-on player from Hinds Community College, has participated in 5 games (3 starts) during his two-year career at MSU.
Linebacker Terrence Beaman, a walk-on from Pasadena (CA) Community College, saw action in 7 games his junior season and will most likely play in all 11 games this season.
Offensive lineman Johnny Wadley, who has battled injuries his entire MSU career, could have easily given up, but he stuck with it and has participated in 36 games, including 14 starts, during his five years at MSU.
Snapper/tight end Britt Cross, who grew up a diehard Bulldog fan, walked on at Mississippi State after enjoying a successful high school career at Ripley High School. Britt earned a scholarship from Coach Croom in August of this year. Britt received his second honor as a Bulldog when he played in his first career game against Arkansas this season.
Walk-on defensive end Jeremy Jack, whose older brother, Greg, also played at MSU, has played in two career games, both during his senior season. For his hard work, Jeremy was awarded a scholarship by Coach Croom during the preseason practices.
Come Saturday, please be at Davis Wade Stadium to honor these young men for all of their hard work and dedication.
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 emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.