Aaron Feld: He Does What It Takes

From following a diet that requires that he eat healthy meals throughout the day to working on his long snapping, Mississippi State sophomore-to-be long snapper Aaron Feld does whatever it takes to be a success.

Aaron Feld realizes he has a special ability that few people can lay claim to.

"My ability to snap is a God-given talent," said Feld. "My stance, the speed and spiral on my snaps and the ability to snap and get back and block, that comes natural to me. As far as location and my assignment, that is like anything else, you have to work and work."

He first noticed his unique talent early in his football career.

"The first time I really snapped was in middle school," said Feld. "We were playing with a couple of guys shotgun snapping when I found that I could use two hands and zip it back pretty fast with a spiral on it.

"My best friend bet me that that I couldn't hit a buddy on his helmet. I snapped it and hit him right in the helmet as he was walking across."

His middle school coach liked what he saw in the youngster and let him snap, but his high school coach had other ideas as to where he should play.

"When I got to high school I told my head coach that I could snap, but he had me playing guard on the kicking team one day," said Feld. "When he was looking off I grabbed the football and snapped it and hit him right in the gut. From then on, I was the long snapper."

Despite being a very successful long snapper in high school, Feld wasn't so sure that he would be able to carry it to the next level. Or even if he wanted to.

"I really never anticipated that I would have so many opportunities to snap at so many colleges," said Feld. "But I wasn't really interested in going to a school just to snap at the time because I believe the same thing as everybody else - snappers and kickers aren't really football players."

Then, Mississippi State stepped into the picture with what he felt was the perfect opportunity.

"Mississippi State said they wanted me to come here and also play some linebacker and football, so I signed with them," said the youngster.

During his freshman season he played backup linebacker as well as long snapper, then the Bulldog staff came to him and asked if he would be willing to try snapping on an exclusive basis. Feld agreed for several reasons.

"As important as it is for me to play football at linebacker or fullback in college, I'm willing to do whatever it takes to help this team win games and get myself to the next level, in that order," said Feld.

He saw first-hand this season the need for long snappers on the next level.

"This year there were four or five teams in the NFL looking for good snappers," noted Feld. "They are hard to come by and it is good pay with not as much wear and tear on your body."

And he's willing to work as hard as is necessary to be one of those four or five guys next year.

"I can't say I'm at practice smashing heads all day long like everybody else, although I would be happy to, but as far as the time, commitment and effort, it's all the same," said Feld. "I go out to practice an hour before everybody else and snap. Although, I'm pretty much done with the coaches and the other players after about the first 20 to 30 minutes of practice, (the snappers and kickers) are still snapping and kicking. Then we run with everybody at the end of practice."

While Feld had a great year as State's long snapper this past season, something happened at the start of the season that caused him to put forth even more effort than normal.

"Right before the LSU game I was about 245 pounds and in the best shape of my life, but I got a staph infection and lost about 30 pounds," said Feld. " I also hurt my back which kept me from lifting with my legs like I wanted to. I got out of shape. I didn't sleep good."

He knew he had to do something to get back in shape, so he decided a unique diet was the solution to his problem.

"Since I've been at State, (assistant strength) Coach (Erick) Korem gave me something that helped me get back in shape," said Feld. "He said you should eat every two to three hours. It keeps your metabolism up. Basically, what I'm trying to do is eat a lean protein, two vegetables, a fruit and pretty much cut out all the white carbs."

And he's seen great results from the healthy diet.

"The better I eat the better I sleep, the more energy I have and the more focused I am in the classroom," explained Feld.

But as anybody who has ever gone on a diet knows, staying on it is not an easy thing to do because the foods you eat aren't always the best tasting ones. Feld, however, has a rule he follows that makes his diet much easier to stay on.

"If you stick to a diet 100% you can't do it because it's miserable, so I follow the 90% rule," he noted. "You have to stick to your diet at least 90% of the time if you want to see results. If you are eating 7 meals a day, 7 days a week, that's 49 meals. That means you get about 4 or 5 meals that you can miss. (As an example) if you want to eat a whole pizza, you can count that as one of your (4 or 5) missed meals."

And so far, the diet is working because he's not only feeling better, but he's even enjoying the long and grueling summer workouts. And that means Mississippi State fans should see an even better long snapper this coming season.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at swindoll@genespage.com.

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