Highlights and interview of 4-Star Starkville linebacker Willie Gay following the Yellowjackets' win over Oxford

Starkville linebacker Willie Gay helped his team to a 28-16 win over a pesky Oxford squad this past Friday. The nation's No. 91 overall rated player lived up to his billing.

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The 6-foot-1 1/2, 215-pound linebacker finished with nine tackles and two pass deflections for the game, but when the contest was in jeopardy with a little over 5 minutes to play with Oxford on the one inch line to tie or take the lead Willie Gay made three straight stops and came up with a fumble to secure the game.

"We knew we had to bow up and make a play," Gay said right after the game. "They even got a couple penalties and were on the one inch line, but we stepped up and made some plays. I just did everything I could to help our team come out on top."

The Ole Miss coaches were in attendance due to their daughters and son's participating in the event. Did it put anymore pressure on Gay to shine knowing the coaches he is committed to were watching?

"It was fun to make big plays in front of them. The crowd was packed and it was live. I was just happy they were able to come watch me play, but it was even better just getting a win up here. I just wanted to get a big win to get us to 2-0. Oxford has a great team. It was a tough match up for us. I think they are going to do well the rest of the season."

The 4-Star linebacker threw up the Land Shark on several occasions throughout the game.

"I had to throw them up. I had to show them some love."

How big of a rivalry is the Oxford game for Starkville in what is now coined "The Little Egg Bowl"?

"Oh, it's big. I knew they had some good players on that team. No. 20 (S D.Q. Thomas), No. 9 (WR Jaqaun Webb), No. 10 (LB Quentin Wilfawn) and their quarterback (John Reece McClure) is young but he's good. They have some talent. They gave us a dog fight. We are just blessed to come out on top. This is the third year now to play for the trophy. We have won all three so that feels good. We just want to keep it going."

Willie continues to feel like his personal game is progressing.

"Last week I think I kind of started slow. This week I think I started off strong. I made some big plays like the three tackles in the red zone down there. I made some big plays tonight. I think I played good."

What is the biggest improvement Gay has seen in his game this season?

"Just growing up and being a leader. I have to be a leader. The younger people look up to me. I know I have to lead."

How will that leadership role help him when he gets to the next level?

"It will help me grow as a leader. Even if I'm a freshman I know I can go out there and lead. Nothing changes. You just have to keep being who you are."

What made Ole Miss the school for Willie?

"I just like the swagger they play with and knowing I can go in there and play early. The coaches are great there too. Coach (Dave) Wommack has been there forever, and I don't see him leaving anytime soon. It's just family up there."

Willie will take his official visits despite his commitment to Ole Miss.

"I'm taking my officials, but I'm still solid with Ole Miss. Like I said it's just family up there."

Yancy Porter is the recruiting analyst for the Ole Miss Spirit and he can be reached at yporter@scout.com

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