March 19, 2014 9:17:04 PM
STARKVILLE - De'Runnya Wilson continues to do things in practice he wasn't supposed to do naturally.
Mississippi State's sophomore wide receiver was supposed to redshirt during the 2013 season but impressed the coaches by catching every pass near him. The 6-foot-5 receiver is doing that again after walking off the basketball court and straight into the first two spring football practices.
"Very surprised with him coming off his high school tape, which was very raw, but you didn't know what to expect when he got here," MSU wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator Billy Gonzales said Wednesday. "All of sudden you get to see him move around in camp last year and he has great athletic ability."
As a backup at wide receiver, Wilson concluded his first season on the gridiron with 26 catches for 351 yards and three touchdowns. Wilson didn't become an active walk-on member of the basketball team in mid-January. The sophomore, while working with the first-team offensive unit and receiving passes from junior quarterback Dak Prescott, had some impressive catches Wednesday in both the 7-on-7 drills and the 11-on-11 team drills at the end of MSU's second spring practice.
"As far as going from going from basketball to football...the transition was awesome but the only negative in my opinion was him missing that team bonding and team building part that I love with our strength coaches."
Here's a detailed notebook from the observations gained by The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog coming out of the Bulldogs' second spring workout in 2014:
- The injury pit had a new member in the form of junior tight end Brandon Hill. The former West Lowndes High School star had a protective boot on his right foot for the entire practice session.
- Class 2016 safety prospect Austin Quillen was in attendance for the practice along with his family Wednesday. The Jenks, Okla., native currently has been getting interest from MSU and Oklahoma State after attending the Cowboys junior day last month.
- Beniquez Brown was with the first-team linebackers Wednesday with McKinney and Matthew Wells. Justin Cox was playing with the first-team defense at safety. Jamerson Love and Taveze Calhoun were first-team cornerbacks in the defensive backfield with Cox and Kendrick Market.
- The music selection for practice was much more in the era of Mullen than his players. Selections included U2, Phil Collins and Queen.
- Jay Hughes, who is limited following his achilles injury, was doing individual drills by himself but with assistance from the trainers during some of the positional drills.
- Mullen spent a lot of time with the quarterbacks Wednesday during 7-on-7 drills and was working on the individual footwork and balance with both Damian Williams and Nick Fitzgerald after single reps.
- After rotating back and forth between running back and wide receiver Tuesday, Brandon Holloway was back at wide receiver and on several occasions not in the slot. When Holloway was in the slot, he was motioned back beside the quarterback for a sweep handoff. MSU is looking to find ways during their installation days to get the ball into the hands of the Florida native that was time with a sub 4.3 40-yard-dash.
- Devon Bell was the only consistent punter during punt return drills but the sophomore boomed punts at least 40 yards on every attempt and sometimes getting the ball 50 yards on the fly. The only new punt returner from yesterday's session was Holloway.
- Mullen was much more animated in practice Wednesday than the first day especially when the tempo of the 7-on-7 drills weren't running as quickly as he wished. He was mostly upset when the offense or defense wasn't getting on and off the field fast for the next set of reps.
- Calhoun and Beniquez Brown both had interceptions during the 11-on-11 drills. Calhoun jumped the route on Damian Williams and Brown found the ball over the middle on Dak Prescott. Nick Fitzgerald broke one of the plastic bumblebee boards used to simulate defensive lineman's extended hands.
- MSU defensive line coach David Turner split up the defensive ends and defensive tackles in one part of practice Wednesday and Chris Jones maintained with the interior lineman.
- Finally, Rufus Warren got some snaps in the 11-on-11 team drills at right tackle with the second-string offense. I'll have a feature on his transition from tight end to offensive tackle in Thursday's edition of the Dispatch.
All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.
3. Columbus tree lighting to have new look, locale ENTERTAINMENT