Saturday’s season opener has been many years in the making for Lashard Durr.
The Mississippi State junior is expected to draw his first career start at cornerback against South Alabama but the journey to get on the field has taken much longer than expected.
Durr signed with the Bulldogs out of Harrison Central in 2014 but had to spend two seasons at Copiah-Lincoln Community College before he finally made it to Starkville.
“It’s been a very, very long time coming,” Durr said. “When I came out of high school, I didn’t know I was going to have to go the juco route. But I’m glad I went that route because it helped me out a lot to get to the potential I needed to be at so that when I got here I’d be ready.”
The 5-foot-11, 197-pounder found success at Co-Lin, where he was rated the No. 7 juco cornerback prospect. Durr notched 63 tackles, two for loss, 22 pass break-ups, three interceptions and returned a fumble for a touchdown during his career with the Wolfpack.
While in Wesson, Durr was determined to get back on track to MSU as quickly as possible so his academics became his main priority.
“When I got to juco, I had to get my mind right,” Durr said. “I had to get my grades and do what I had to do so that I could get out in a year and a half. I had to learn patience and stay focused because there really wasn’t much to do. I had to go to class, stay in my books and make plays on the field and eventually I’d get here.”
Durr accomplished his goal by graduating in December and enrolled at State in January just in time to go through spring practices. He made eight stops during the Bulldogs’ three spring scrimmages and gained valuable experience that is coming in handy this fall.
Mississippi State saw two senior corners – Tolando Cleveland and Cedric Jiles – go down during fall camp. Cleveland will miss the rest of the year while Jiles is out until mid-season moving Durr up the depth chart in a starring role in the secondary.
“When they told me that I was like, ‘dang, I’ve really got to step up’,” Durr said. “I’ve got to be focused because I’m the next man up and have to show what I can do so they will have trust in me.”
Durr is counting down until kickoff so that he will long last be able to make his MSU debut.
“I’m so excited,” Durr said. “I’m just ready for the game to get here so I can show my potential and what I can do.”