"It was my last spring here and I just wanted to go out and give all that I had. Unfortunately, I had some problems with concussions last season and it came back and bothered me this spring. In some helmet to helmet collisions, I got dizzy. I saw a doctor and he advised me it would be best if I didn't hit as much anymore, so I made a decision to just snap. I'm looking forward to that this year, but it was tough on one hand not being able to be over there with the hogs any longer. But, on the other hand, it was probably the decision that I needed to make for my future."
Yeah, really your future is not to be an NFL player but to work on NFL players because you want to be a doctor.
"Yes sir (laugh). I had to look at the long range because I am going to med school."
I want to talk about that a little more, but first, do you feel you achieved your spring objectives?
"I think so. I got a lot better at snapping, obviously, because I was able to work on it a lot more. I really improved that and feel that I can be an asset to the team this year."
Going back to what you said earlier about being a doctor. What are you majoring in and what is your career goal?
"I'm majoring in Microbiology and I will finish this August. I am going to go into a career in medicine, God-willing. I took the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) in May and I'm taking them again in August. It is a standardized test you have to take to get into med school. Hopefully, the scores will come back and I will be able to apply to med schools. Then, not so much during the fall because of football, but during the spring I will do some interviews and go visit some med schools."
You mentioned you will be through in August. Will you actually graduate in August?
"No sir. I am actually taking on a minor this year. I am going to minor in Business Administration. I will graduate with a major and a minor next May."
Really, since you want to be a doctor, you are only about halfway through your college work.
"Yes sir. I have about seven more years, including my residency internship."
Getting back to football, you and your teammate Kyle York did something pretty special during the first part of the summer. Talk a little about that.
"Yes sir. We got the opportunity and the blessing to work at an athletic camp outside of Branson, Missouri call Camp Kanakuk. I worked there last year. It was a great opportunity not only for Kyle and me, but people, mainly Christians, to learn teamwork and leadership roles. It was great to be able to influence kids and to live our lives not only for ourselves but to live for Christ in everything that we do. There were some other football players there from A&M...a Tennessee player was there....some Arkansas players were there."
What exactly did you do there?
"We had about 11 kids to a cabin. There were two counselors for 11 kids. During the day, it was kind of broken down by periods and we went around and taught classes. I taught a lot of football, obviously. I did weights and conditioning drills with them. It was mainly focused toward football. It was great to bring two things that are important in my life, football and Christ, to those kids."
You did that during the first part of the summer. What are your goals the second part of the summer?
"I am just trying to get back into playing shape. I have lost some weight, about 20 pounds. I'm trying to get used to the new body weight. And I am working to get my strength back."
What are your hopes for this team this season?
"Team-wise, I hope this year, unlike last year, we don't lose the team aspect. We just kind of fell apart as a team last year. We started coming together at the end. I hope, if things fall apart sometimes, that we work together as a team and pick each other up.
"Being here five years, I want to be a part of the leadership this year. Being a senior, that is important to me. I want us to start off the season with a positive note. I want us to start off the season with a lot of confidence and a lot of teamwork. I want to know the guys next to me. If things go wrong, then I want to be a man about it and encourage others."
Individually, what do you hope to accomplish?
"I want to help out the team anyway that I can. My shot at playing line is done. I just hope that by snapping I can help the team out. I want to give everything that I have to offer."
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at email@example.com.