Kendrick Market remembers the pain all too well.
After making two tackles in the first half of the Egg Bowl last November, Market felt a pain shoot up his leg. The safety from Batesville had ruptured his Achilles tendon and would miss the rest of the 2014 season.
“When I broke on the ball, it felt like someone kicked me in the back of my foot,” Market said. “I tried to get up and run but I couldn’t. It had to have popped but I didn’t hear it.”
As painful as the injury was, it didn’t hurt him as badly as not being able to finish out the year. Market was on crutches for the second half of the Egg Bowl and then a scooter for the Orange Bowl and felt helpless as his teammates struggled in those losses.
“It hurt me a lot because I wanted to be out there with my team,” Market said. “There were certain formations and I knew what was coming but I was on the sidelines. I couldn’t do anything.”
Market had seen former safety teammates Nickoe Whitley and Jay Hughes miss nearly a calender year with the same injury early in his career. Heading into his final year, Market admitted he feared the worst when he discovered the extent of his injury.
“I was thinking about the time and how long I’d be out,” Market said. “But Jay and Nickoe both came and talked to me and prayed for me. They told me I would be alright and it was just a process. They told me to get treatment and do what the trainers say.”
The 5-foot-10, 196-pounder heeded the advice and was in the training room up to three times a day during the summer rehabbing.
The hard work paid off as Market made his return by the first fall practice and resumed his starting role in the secondary in the season opener against Southern Miss.
Market has started both games for the Bulldogs this season making 14 tackles on the year. For his career, the former South Panola product has appeared in 39 games and made 18 starts. He has 138 career tackles, three tackles for loss, one forced fumble and an interception.
Market wants to stamp his college career with a high mark this season and show the same type of leadership he learned from past safeties.
“It hit me during fall camp that this is my last year,” Market said. “I’ve been here a long time. I’m trying to make it a good one. People look up to me and coach (Dan) Mullen tells me every day that I have to be a leader back there. I just do what Jay Hughes used to do and follow in his shadow.”
Market is set to graduate with a degree in industrial technology in December and doesn’t have any regrets about his college choice.
“I made a great decision and wouldn’t take it back for nothing,” Market said. “Starkville is a good place and Mississippi State is a good program.”
Market may not be the final member of his family to make an impact at the next level. His younger brother, Demetrius, is a senior three-star cornerback at South Panola and has committed to Southern Miss.
“I told him to make sure he gets his grades first and whatever decision he makes I am 100 percent with him,” Kendrick Market said.