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Mississippi State fifth-year senior offensive lineman Evans Wilkerson has appeared in all 49 games as a walk-on. 

STARKVILLE – Evans Wilkerson has had to be ready at a moment’s notice for Mississippi State this season.

Wilkerson serves as the Bulldogs’ back-up center and has been summoned from the sideline on several occasions this fall either due to injuries to starter Darryl Williams or simply Williams’ helmet popping off.

“I get a lot of adrenaline when that happens,” Wilkerson said. “Coach says it’s a next man up mentality to so I come in everyday and act like I’m going to start. If I get the opportunity to go in, I make the most of it and take advantage of my opportunity.”

Wilkerson has moved around quite a bit during his five years at MSU playing tackle, guard and center. Although he hadn’t played center since he was in eighth grade, the 6-foot-5, 310-pounder from Ridgeland gave it a go in the spring.

“I really started snapping a little bit last fall but I played mostly at guard,” Wilkerson said. “In the spring, I got moved over to center and tried to make the most out of it.”

Until this season, most of Wilkerson’s game reps had been on the field goal and extra point units and some mop up minutes. But he was pressed into action right from the start this fall and played most of the season opener against Louisiana in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome when Williams went down with an injury just before halftime.

“It feels great because when you come in as an offensive lineman, you want to play offensive line,” Wilkerson said.

As a walk-on senior, this season has been extra special for Wilkerson. But it has also meant a lot to his father, Jimmy, who played tight end for the Bulldogs during the mid 1980’s.

“He loves it and comes to every game, even all the road games,” Evans Wilkerson said. “He enjoys getting to watch me play.”

Wilkerson drew scholarship offers from Delta State as well as several junior college as he was coming out of Jackson Academy but could never envision playing for anyone besides the Bulldogs.

“I basically great up in Starkville as a Mississippi State fan going to the games,” Wilkerson said. “This was where I’d always wanted to be.”

Wilkerson has already received an accounting degree last December and will add a master’s degree in accounting as well next month.

logan.lowery@journalinc.com

Twitter: @loganlowery

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