Runnya enjoys increased role

Mississippi State freshman De'Runnya Wilson had seven catches and two touchdowns in Saturday's game at Texas A&M. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Mississippi State freshman De’Runnya Wilson had seven catches and two touchdowns in Saturday’s game at Texas A&M. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

By Logan Lowery

Daily Journal

STARKVILLE – De’Runnya Wilson’s role is increasing weekly in Mississippi State’s offense.

Part of Wilson’s weekly improvement is due to the fact he is still learning the game. The true freshman receiver only played one year of varsity football at Wenonah (Ala.) High School.

“Every day I learn something new,” Wilson said. “My hard work and determination have put me at a high level. I just try to take care of the little things because the little things take care of the big things.”

Wilson has appeared in all nine of MSU’s games this fall, hauling in 17 passes for 249 yards and three touchdowns. Last weekend against Texas A&M, the 6-foot-5, 215-pounder made a career-best seven catches for 75 yards and two touchdowns.

“He’s done a good job,” said MSU coach Dan Mullen. “He’s a guy in training camp that made some plays and continued to develop. We had some good matchups with him on Saturday and took advantage of them. You don’t always get that. The good thing is, when we had that matchup he went and made the play.”

Return to football

Wilson returned to the gridiron for his senior season in high school after a two-year absence as he focused solely on basketball. He received numerous scholarship offers in football and basketball, with SEC offers from State and Auburn in both sports.

The former three-star prospect took MSU up on its football offer after his official visit in January.

“I had an opportunity and I wanted to take advantage of every single one of my opportunities,” Wilson said. “I knew if I worked hard and stayed humble then good things were going to happen.”

Wilson has Mullen’s support to join Rick Ray’s basketball team once football season wraps up.

“When football season ends, hopefully in January sometime, and we’re done we’ll make the transition with him getting him ready to go into basketball,” Mullen said. “Rick and I have a real good relationship so it’ll be however we can make the best transition work and making sure we’re taking care of De’Runnya.”

Wilson was Mr. Basketball for the state of Alabama last year, leading the Dragons to their third consecutive state championship and a 34-2 record. He averaged 18.4 points and 15.8 rebounds as a senior.

Ray said at SEC Media Day last month that he would check Wilson’s academic work during the fall semester to make sure he can handle the workload in the classroom as well as play multiple sports at the college level.

“I want him to concentrate on football and more importantly concentrating on his academics,” Ray said. “It’s hard enough being a student athlete in one sport, let alone two.”

logan.lowery@journalinc.com