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The Bulldogs plan to add redshirt freshman Cameron Young into the rotation at defensive tackle this week. 

STARKVILLE – National signing day is a wild day that is usually filled with unexpected surprises.

For Cameron Young, it is a day that he will never forget.

The three-star defensive tackle from Franklin County had always had his heart set on playing in the Southeastern Conference and had an early scholarship offer from Mississippi State from Dan Mullen and his staff.

When the Bulldogs experienced a coaching change following the 2017 season, Young wasn’t sure where things stood between him and the new staff. But instead of choosing one of his other offers from Louisiana, Purdue, Southern Miss or UAB, Young decided to ink with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and planned to play in Perkinston for one semester and see where things stood after that.

So he signed on with the juco Bulldogs on national signing day but received a call from former MSU defensive line coach Brian Baker later in the day that turned his SEC dream into a reality. He quickly drove back to his high school and signed his national letter of intent.

“It was a blessing to be honest with you being able to play for your home state at the biggest level,” Young said. “I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

The 6-foot-3, 305-pounder was accustomed to dominating in high school. He made 216 tackles across three seasons at Franklin County to go along with 21 sacks, five fumble recoveries and an interception.

Young soon learned after arriving in Starkville that he still had a lot of developing left to do.

“It was a huge jump,” Young said. “Everything is more intense and everything is faster. You have a lot more to learn.”

Young worked hard, picking up tips from Baker last season as well as the Bulldogs’ new defensive line coach Deke Adams in the spring and fall camp. He also worked against State’s starting offensive line daily as a member of the scout team last year.

“I feel like I improved tremendously,” Young said. “Coach Deke came in and helped me with my technique. It was helpful to be able to go up against NFL guys like Elgton Jenkins and Deion Calhoun and that made me better everyday.”

Although Young used the 2018 season as a redshirt, he did appear in the opener against Stephen F. Austin and that debut left him in awe.

“It was really a breathtaking experience just to experience the Davis Wade environment with all the cowbells and tradition that they have,” Young said. “It was amazing and great. I think that’ll help me and now I’ll be able to focus on what my job is and execute.”

Young did not appear in the Bulldogs’ season opener against Louisiana last week but head coach Joe Moorhead made it clear that he and Nathan Pickering would be added to mix at defensive tackle along with fellow freshmen Fabien Lovett and Jaden Crumedy.

“I feel like me and my brothers Fabien and Jaden, we came in behind Jeffery Simmons and we were willing to learn that first year,” Young said. “We knew that we had to step up this year. We took that challenge on, head on.”

logan.lowery@journalinc.com

Twitter: @loganlowery

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