STARKVILLE • Fabien Lovett was rated the No. 4 prospect in Mississippi for the class of 2018.
The four-star defensive lineman from Olive Branch received double-digit scholarship offers during the recruiting process but the prospect of early playing time at Mississippi State intrigued him.
Lovett looked at the Bulldogs’ depth chart and believed he would have the opportunity to start as a redshirt freshman in 2019.
“That’s my plan and that’s my goal,” Lovett said. “Depth chart-wise, I knew after this past year that I had a high chance of playing if I just worked.”
And work he has.
Since arriving in Starkville last summer, Lovett lost 20-25 pounds and reported to camp this fall weighing in at 315-pounds stretched across his 6-foot-4 frame.
“I developed a lot and lost a lot of weight,” Lovett said. “I’ve gotten a lot stronger and a lot quicker. I can do a lot more than I could when I first came in. I can move better, bend and do a lot of stuff that I didn’t know I could do but all of that came with work.”
Lovett is also adjusting to a new position coach. Deke Adams, a former three-year letterwinner at Southern Miss and Meridian native, began working with Lovett and the defensive line during the spring.
“He’s a great dude and is teaching us a lot,” Lovett said. “He understands where we’re coming from and sees the changes that we make during plays. He works on the smallest things that you think don’t matter but they actually do in the end.”
Lovett played in a pair of games last year, against Stephen F. Austin and Louisiana Tech, but it was not enough to bypass the nervousness that comes along with playing college football at this level.
“It didn’t really help that much because I’m still going to have jitters this year because I’m just starting out,” Lovett said. “But I’m going to get a lot of reps and play a lot so after the first couple of plays I’ll be straight.”
Lovett is currently repping with the first team during fall camp and is competing for one of the openings that MSU has at defensive tackle after Jeffery Simmons, Braxton Hoyett and Cory Thomas were lost to the NFL.
“I’m not worried about that,” Lovett said. “I’m just worried about making us as a team better and helping the D-line out so we can do what we need to do to fill that void of the people from last year.”