New grad to participate in MSU’s bowl practice

Nick Fitzgerald will begin practicing with MSU on Saturday after graduating early. (Submitted photo)

Nick Fitzgerald will begin practicing with MSU on Saturday after graduating early. (Submitted photo)

By Logan Lowery

Daily Journal

Nick Fitzgerald was set for an exciting week.

Not only did the Mississippi State quarterback commitment have his future coaches Dan Mullen and John Hevesy attend his football banquet Monday night, he is also scheduled to graduate high school.

But the week got even better when the Richmond Hill, Ga., standout learned he would begin his college career even earlier than expected. Fitzgerald was set to enroll at MSU in January but will start practicing with the Bulldogs on Saturday as they prepare for the Liberty Bowl.

“Coach Hevesy called Monday and said they’d just found out that once I finished (high school) I could come over and start practicing,” Fitzgerald said. “I really didn’t understand quite what he meant. I thought he meant just come watch practice but he asked if I was ready to strap it up. I told him I was definitely ready.”

Fitzgerald pushed his graduation up a day and is slated to arrive in Starkville on Friday afternoon. He signed a grant-in-aid agreement earlier this month.

Although the 6-foot-5, 205-pounder does not even own a playbook yet, Fitzgerald is looking forward to getting adapted to the college game and preparing for the spring and fall.

“These practices will allow me to see just how fast the game really is that way when I go back out there in the spring I’ll know exactly what I’m up against,” Fitzgerald said. “Getting there early will also allow me to get an entire semester of classes under my belt before I have to start practice which will help a lot not coming in and having both football and classes at the same time. It’ll give me a semester to get used to it.”

The three-star prospect by 247Sports.com committed to the Bulldogs following a camp visit in June. He took his official visit for the Egg Bowl choosing Mississippi State over an offer from Middle Tennessee.

‘Like family’

“They treated me like family from day one,” Fitzgerald said. “I never really had that feel with any other coaching staff when I went to visit other campuses. I really got along with their players quickly and I love coach Mullen. He’s a really good coach and is known for his quarterback development and their offense really fits me.”

Fitzgerald played receiver before taking the reins at quarterback as a senior for Richmond Hill. He led the Wildcats to a 10-2 record and into the second round of the Class AAAAA Playoffs, the most successful season in school history.

Fitzgerald rushed 180 times for 1,476 yards and 24 touchdowns in Richmond Hill’s triple-option attack. He also completed 33 of 78 passes for 784 yards, 10 touchdowns and two interceptions.

logan.lowery@journalinc.com