"Yeah, that's cool."
When do you report to State?
"July the 8th."
Are you ready?
"I'm ready to go. I have it set in my mind."
Have you been working out hard this summer?
"I've been doing a little running trying to stay in shape. I go up to the school and work out, and then I might run 10 100s and then some gassers, maybe 5 gassers."
Do you feel like you are ready for Coach Grant's workouts now?
"Yeah, I'm ready."
I guess your brother Shawn has filled you in on how difficult it is?
"No, he hasn't said anything. He hasn't filled me in on anything, man. I'm going to have to ask him about that."
Well, the word is that the summer workouts are pretty tough.
"Yeah, I did see something about that in a magazine - they were going through the mud and stuff like that."
Have you increased your weight or speed this summer?
"I haven't weighed or maxed out but I might have picked up a little weight. Last time I weighed, it was like, 240. So I might be around 245 right now."
What are your chances of playing time this coming year?
"Right now, I plan to come in and play pretty quick. That's what the coaches are saying. You know, maybe by the third game or something like that. I won't say I'll be in a starting role, but I think I'll get some playing time."
So, the coaches have told you that you were not going to redshirt?
"No, they haven't said that, they just said I was going to get some good playing time. They said to get ready for Oregon too, and that's the first game of the season. So the way it sounds, I'm going to get some playing time. Coach Tompkins told me that."
That must get you excited?
"Yeah, it does. That's my dream, to play college football, and stepping on the field my freshman year, that would be real nice. I'm not saying I'm going to start. I'm not going to get that in my head right now, but as long as I get some playing time, I'll be happy."
Are you familiar with what State has at linebacker already?
"Pretty much. I've been looking at them and stuff. That's why I'm going down there on the 8th - to learn the motions and the LB drills and stuff like that."
What kind of year do you think State's going to have?
"I think they're going to have a pretty good year. I'm predicting a bowl game at least. Coach Sherrill told me that he doesn't think they will ever have another season like they had last year."
What do you think happened last season? Maybe your brother has talked to you about it.
"I just think it was a lot of individuals, with people playing for themselves and not for the team."
You just played in the Texas/Oklahoma All-Star game. How did you do?
"Pretty good. I got the defensive MVP award for the game."
Congratulations. What do you think earned you the award?
"What I think it was - I came in on a blitz and the quarterback scrambled to the other side and I came around the end chasing him. And then I was running full speed when he turned back my way - I just leaned into him and knocked him off his feet. He fumbled the ball and it went ten yards down the field. I think that's what did it. I had some nice little tackles."
You played in the Army All-American game too, didn't you? What was the difference between those two games?
"The difference is that the All-American game - that's the top of the line. That's the best bowl you can play in. They treated you like pros up there and you didn't have to worry about anything."
You got to meet Darren Williams in that one, didn't you?
"Yeah, he pulled me to the side and just said, 'Hi, just wanted to meet you. I'm going to Mississippi State.' We hit if off well. He is a good player."
Did your brother have anything to do with you choosing State?
"A little bit. He said Mississippi State is a great school."
Did he try to talk you into it?
"No. He didn't try to talk me into it. He just gave me good advice. He just let it be up to me. He said, 'I don't want to pressure you to go. MSU is a great school if you decide to go there. But I don't want to make your mind up for you.' I want to get a degree and I like the defense at Miss. State."
I appreciate your time and it was nice talking to you.
Brent Bozeman is a correspondent for Gene's Page. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .