"That was the year they had J. J. Johnson. I saw how they were playing and it made me like the school even back then. Then, when I went to my first State game - they played Memphis - it was like two years ago. My coach took me up there. It was my first college game, period. It was a good one."
How many State games have you gone to since then?
"I would say about eight."
You've gone to other football games other than State's haven't you?
What did you think about those schools after going to their games?
"The games I went like to Baton Rouge, I liked the crowd and the atmosphere, but that didn't make me want to go there. When I went to Ole Miss the first time, I didn't even like it. That was the Georgia game. But when I went to their spring game, it was a lot of fun but that didn't make me want to go to that school.
"At State, when I would just be walking around, people would come up and talk to me. And I know at the time they didn't know who I was."
When did you tell Coach Glenn Davis, the MSU coach recruiting you, and Coach Sherrill that you had committed to MSU?
"I called (Coach Davis) Monday night and he told me to call Coach Sherrill."
What was Coach Sherrill's reaction?
"At first, he didn't believe me. He was like are you for real. I told him I was dead serious. He then said he was happy to have me."
Do you think you are going to miss any part of the recruiting process by committing early?
"Not really, I know committing only means you are saying that is where you are going. I know the (college coaches) will still try and get me to sign with their schools. They are still writing. Some schools are sending me three letters a day. I got eight yesterday. I don't think I will miss out on anything."
You've committed pretty early and saw what your teammate Jerious Norwood went through after he committed early in the recruiting process. Are you prepared for the same thing because you are going to be very highly recruited as well?
"That is one of the reasons I did it because I had talked to (Norwood). I also talked to (Clarksdale HS football player) Darren Williams about it. That was part of why I did it."
Talking about Jerious, at one time he said he was going to take visits even though he was committed to MSU. Do you still plan on taking any unofficial or official visits to other schools?
"I will visit them, but I've got my mind made up."
I know you went to the MSU camp this past weekend. Are you planning on going to any other camps?
"I'm going to Southern's and I'm coming back to State's in July."
When did you get your first scholarship offer?
"State told me in a letter that I had a scholarship. Coach Davis wrote me a letter that said I had a scholarship waiting on me. Then South Carolina offered me. They said they were needing a linebacker. I really wasn't hearing it, though. I was ready to sign (with State) that day. But I thought about it very hard and decided about a week before the (MSU) camp. The dude from (the) Ole Miss (website) called me that night. He asked me if I had thought about committing. I told him I was ready to commit. He then said 'to who' and I said to State. He said, 'are you real sure about that?' I said I am 100% sure. Then he asked me one more question and then hung the phone up."
You mentioned that you are still receiving a lot of letters, what college coaches called you during the month of May?
"Ole Miss, Southern (Miss), State, South Carolina, Clemson, West Virginia, LSU....there were some others. There were three others but half the time I wasn't even here. My mom would tell me a coach called but she didn't take a message."
Ken, there are a lot of prospects on your team this year. Is there anyone on your team you feel hasn't gotten as much attention as you feel he deserves?
"Kentrell Tanner is a 6-2, 248-pound defensive end who will be a senior next season. He is real good. He has good footwork for a lineman. He played good against (Madison Central HS) Chris Spencer when Chris was a senior. He played good against their entire line. He could be the top defensive end in the state but he hasn't gotten the recognition that he deserves. He just started getting letters. He started his 10th grade year and this past season. He broke his shin his sophomore year. That put him out for the rest of the year."
Thanks for the info on Tanner and the interview, Ken.
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports and Mississippi high school sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at email@example.com.