MSU’s Day forged his own path to success

Dillon Day, right, celebrates with Dak Prescott in a game last month. Day will take on his home state team, LSU, for the third time on Saturday.

Dillon Day, right, celebrates with Dak Prescott in a game last month. Day will take on his home state team, LSU, for the third time on Saturday. (AP file photo)

By Logan Lowery

Daily Journal

STARKVILLE – Most residents of Louisiana grow up rooting for LSU since birth.

West Monroe, La., native Dillon Day is not one of them.

It only takes one look at Mississippi State’s center to realize he marches to the beat of his own drummer. Day’s long blonde locks flow from under his helmet and two arm sleeves of tattoos prove that he strives to stand out.

“Just the person that I am, I don’t like following the crowd,” Day said. “If someone goes down one road, I want to go down a different one. I just like being different and changing stuff up.”

While other members of his high school team were hoping to get noticed by the Tigers, Day had his sights set on earning a scholarship from MSU. The Bulldogs coaching staff gave the two-star prospect a conditional offer with the stipulation that he add weight and improve his grades in the classroom.

After all, Day weighed only 237-pounds and had a lackluster grade point average.

“In high school, I was real selfish and didn’t take full advantage of what I should be,” Day said.

“I had great parents so it wasn’t their fault, I was just being stupid in high school.”

A motivated Day challenged himself as a senior packing on 33-pounds and taking extra classes to get caught up academically. His diligence paid off when State finally sent him an official offer on national signing day.

Day has kept his work ethic up after arriving in Starkville pushing his weight up to 300-pounds and has been the Bulldogs starting center for the past three seasons. He has been on the Rimington Trophy watch list the past two years which is awarded annually to the nation’s top center.

But just as important to Day is the job he has done in the classroom. He has been on the SEC Academic Honor Roll and dean’s list at MSU throughout his tenure.

“Everyone here at Mississippi State has helped me out to make the right decisions,” Day said. “It’s all about effort. Anyone can do it as long as you put the work in. It wasn’t an easy road but was something that I had to do.”

This weekend, Day will line up against LSU for the third time in his career. Although he holds no animosity towards the Tigers for not recruiting him, Day wants to play well for the folks back home.

“I’m motivated to play any game but there is something extra when you play your home state team,” Day said. “A lot of my friends and some of my relatives like (LSU) and I’ve got some friends on that team too.

logan.lowery@journalinc.com