STARKVILLE – The day came sooner than Maurice Langston expected, but he wasn’t the least bit nervous.
The cornerback made his first start for Mississippi State in last week’s 27-6 win at Middle Tennessee State, making three tackles, including one for a loss.
It was the fourth game Langston has played in this fall since his suspension was lifted. He was arrested in Hattiesburg in February and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
He pleaded down to possession of a controlled substance and got five years’ probation.
After going through all that, starting a game for an SEC team – which Langston said happened sooner than he figured – was no big deal.
“You really never know nerves until you’ve been in my situation, and you’re not knowing if you’re going to go to jail or what kind of trouble you’re in,” Langston said Monday in his first media interviews since the arrest. “That’s really nervous right there, so playing football, I feel like that’s fun, that’s just a game.”
Langston, a 5-foot-10, 185-pounder from Meridian, signed with MSU out of East Central Community College, enrolled in January, and was expected to vie for a starting job. All that was derailed by the arrest, as the suspension prevented him from participating in spring practice, summer workouts and preseason practices.
He was reinstated Sept. 16 and saw his first action the next week against LSU.
“Not being on the team and not being able to work out with everybody, I pretty much found out how mentally tough I was,” Langston said. “Because being away from all this, and seeing your teammates out there having fun, going through spring practice and two-a-days and all that, and you’re not being able to be a part of it, it kind of takes a toll on you mentally.
“So just being able to be mentally tough through it all, that’s what really kept me going.”
Langston said he was able to hang out with his teammates during his suspension, and they kept his spirits up.
Coach Dan Mullen is pleased with the results so far.
“We expect him to get a lot better as he gains experience and get himself in position to make plays,” he said. “He was aggressive on the field and made some good plays.”
Paving the way
– When Anthony Dixon broke Jerious Norwood’s career rushing yards record last week, he knew who to thank: the offensive line.
Dixon, a senior, said the front five is blocking better than it ever has.
“When I first got here, (the defense) used to get a lot of penetration on the snaps, and they penetrated the line a lot and made me change directions,” he said. “It really hasn’t been a lot of that this year. They’ve really been filling the gaps off and letting me do what I do.”
Dixon has rushed for 696 yards and seven touchdowns this season.
Lee still the man
– The quarterback situation for MSU is unchanged. Chris Relf, who platooned with Tyson Lee earlier in the year, has been suspended for the past two games for violating team policy.
“Still the same,” Mullen said. “Tyson’s showing improvement from week to week, so I see him being the guy.”
MSU (3-4, 1-2 SEC) hosts Florida (6-0, 4-0) on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal