"Having my brother (MSU football player Dezmond Sherrod) host me made the experience a lot better because I was already familiar with him and I knew he knew what my interests are," said Derek.
He also enjoyed having not only his brother with him, but also having so many future teammates sharing his official visit.
"It was just the fact that I was able to bond with all the recruits from this year. And getting familiarized with the guys that are already on the team," said the youngster. "The visit was like everybody had gone to school with each other for a couple of years. That was how well we knew each other."
He also enjoyed being around the man who will be his head coach while he's playing college football.
"You can never give Coach Croom enough respect because he is such a wonderful person," said Derek. "He would go up to anybody and talk to them and see how they were doing. He's just a really wonderful coach."
While he was solid as a rock with his commitment to Mississippi State, the visit helped him understand the potential of the MSU football team over the course of the next few years.
"We have a lot of good people coming in," said Derek. "We have a good chance to put it all together and make a lot of good things happen."
And Derek can be a cornerstone to those good things based on what two highly thought of offensive line coaches told him during their recruitment of him.
"(MSU offensive line) Coach Grimes and (Florida offensive line) Coach Addazio both asked me if I knew how good I was," Derek reluctantly confirmed when asked what college coaches told him about his potential. "Just being me, I actually don't know, because I'm always thinking about the things I can improve on. They told me that I have really good potential and have a chance to be one of the best linemen in the nation."
But to be that kind of player, Derek knows it will take a lot of hard work as well as developing the right mindset.
"To be honest with you, it really makes me proud to know that I have that kind of potential and that I have a chance to become what they believe that I can be," said Derek. "But I know I'll have to put my mind to it and work hard. I know I'll have to get in the weight room and study the plays and apply that on the field."
And if he does, then the sky is the limit for this very likeable young man ... and the team he will be playing for.
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.