STARKVILLE • Sh’mar Kilby-Lane is one of the rare people to play football in both the Southeastern Conference as well as the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Kilby-Lane played in 11 games as a true freshman at Florida State in 2015 and saw action in six games this past season at Mississippi State.
“Coming from the ACC to here, the competition is a lot tougher but both are good conferences,” Kilby-Lane said.
There is an obvious two-year window in which Kilby-Lane, a former four-star linebacker and U.S. Army All-American, was away from the Division I level. The Hollywood, Florida native was ruled academically ineligible at FSU in 2016 and spent the following fall playing at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.
Those two years away from the highest level of collegiate football taught Kilby-Lane a huge life lesson.
“I was almost crying to come back,” Kilby-Lane said. “I learned not to take things for granted and I needed to take everything serious. Fortunately for me, God gave me a second opportunity and I’m not going to pass that up.
“This past year has been a game-changer honestly – mentally, physically and in the classroom too.”
Most of Kilby-Lane’s reps were limited to special teams during his first season in Starkville. The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder played 47 snaps on special teams and recorded a pair of tackles.
Now Kilby-Lane has his sights set on working his way more into the linebacker rotation as he prepares for his senior season.
“I’ve already had experience playing with top guys – some of whom are playing in the NFL today – I already had those expectations coming here,” Kilby-Lane said. “I knew there would be a lot of competition and I needed to raise my game to another level.”
Kilby-Lane and the rest of the Bulldog linebacking corps were introduced to new linebackers coach Chris Marve in the spring. Marve – a former SEC linebacker himself at Vanderbilt – made a strong first impression with Kilby-Lane and is looking forward to working more with him this fall.
“Coach Marve is a dream come true coach,” Kilby-Lane said. “He pretty much participates with us. He knows everything and is full of details of what needs to be done. He’s everything you’d want for a linebackers coach.”
A now more mature Kilby-Lane has been able to rectify his previous academic issues and is set to graduate from MSU in December with a degree in business. Whenever his football career comes to a close, he is eager to get started on a different kind of field.
“I want to get a job in the business field that pays well and hopefully own my own (business) one day,” Kilby-Lane said. “I want to help my family out, that’s my main goal.”