Derek was a little tentative when he first got to the State camp.
"I was kind of nervous because I have never been to State's camp before and I didn't know what to expect. I got up there and a couple of friends from my school went there and I thought they would be the only people that I would talk to up there," said the very muscular 6-6, 309-pounder.
That quickly changed, however.
"I got introduced to a couple of other recruits, Colton Jenkins, Quentin Saulsberry and Addison Lawrence," he said. "We talked throughout the camp and became friends. We hung out together throughout the camp and we helped each other throughout. It was just a great experience."
Another reason that it was such a great experience was Mississippi State offensive line coach J.B. Grimes.
"(MSU offensive line) Coach (J.B.) Grimes was a wonderful instructor throughout. He was honest with everybody and he helped out anybody, no matter if it was the top recruit in the nation or a freshman in high school," said Derek. "I've been to two other camps during my life, Florida and Alabama, and neither of them took the time to videotape us and show (the film) to us. That helped out a lot because (he) could show us actually making those mistakes and then (he told) us how we could correct those mistakes."
When I last interviewed Derek, the main reason he wanted to go to Mississippi State's camp was to come away with a better understanding of MSU as well as a better understanding of how the coaches teach. Considering the coach that will teach him will be the offensive line coach, what's his impression of Coach Grimes now that he's had the chance to be coached by him?
"Coach Grimes is a great coach. He really does know his stuff and he could help the worst lineman become one of the best in the nation," said Derek. "I definitely give him an A. He knows his stuff. He was caring when he had to be caring and he was aggressive when he had to be aggressive. He took time out of his schedule to do this camp and teach 100+ linemen. He was a great coach this weekend and I was really thankful to learn from him at the camp."
And it appears Coach Grimes was just as impressed with Derek as Derek was of him.
"Coach Grimes told me that he was very impressed with me and that he was really glad that I came to the camp. He knew that I didn't have to be there because he already knew what I was capable of doing," said Derek." He said he saw something great in me and that I have a lot of great things coming to me in the future. (He said) with good coaching, I would have a good chance to go far in life and maybe have a chance to go to the NFL. He also said that with great coaching that by the time I'm a senior in college that I would probably be a candidate for the Outland Trophy."
Derek also had the chance to speak with Mississippi State head coach Sylvester Croom prior to leaving.
"I got the chance to talk to Coach Croom before I left. He told me that he saw me perform a little bit and that he was really impressed with what I showed," said Derek. "He said that Mississippi State really wants me and that I would be a good fit for them and that I could come on anytime that I want (laugh)."
Now that he's had a chance to reflect on his camp experience, is there anything that he would change about the camp?
"The only thing that I would say that they could improve on is they could extend it another day (laugh) because I really enjoyed myself, but it was over so soon. I didn't want it to end," said Derek.
Derek, one of the most highly recruited offensive linemen in the south, has offers from 12 colleges, including Mississippi State. He anticipates making a commitment prior to the beginning of his football season. As of now, his final five include Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Miami, Florida and Notre Dame. All five have offered.
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.