Sixteen days from today eight members of the 2007 MSU signing class will call it a career at Mississippi State.
During their stint as Bulldogs theyâve seen their share of changes but starting safety Wade Bonner says he wouldnât change a thing.
âMan, this program has grown a great deal, a great deal. Guys are now coming out and giving effort all day on the field and in the class room,â said the Mason, Tenn. native. âThe boys that are graduating like me, Charles (Mitchell), (Chris) Relf, for us it has changed a whole lot and thatâs what I keep telling these young guys. They just need to stay focused because they are in good hands.â
Bonner entered the program as a running back after being recruited by former MSU head coach Sylvester Croom. However, the offensive backfield wouldnât be his ultimate home. Due to a logjam at running back and a need in the secondary, Bonner displayed his willingness to be a team player and make the move to the defensive backfield.
âIâve learned a lot from offense and defense. I would never trade it because it has been fun playing offense and defense,â he said. âI just love playing the game. It just donât even matter where.â
It was that âteamâ attitude that helped Bonner battle through the 4-8 season of 2009 and the 5-7 season of 2010. It is also what helps him see the growth the Bulldogs have had in such a short period of time.
âGuys now understand the will to win,â Bonner said. âNo matter what you are doing, I donât care if it is in the class room, on the field, or in your social world, youâre going to have to win and be competitive at whatever you do.â
While the concept of winning first and being a champion may seem simple on the outside, from the inside, Bonner explains it is not important, it is crucial.
âYouâve got to win first," Bonner said. "When you get that taste of winning in your system âŠthatâs all you want. First it starts off with winning and thatâs really all I can say.â
Like most college athletes, Bonner has aspirations of taking his talents to the next level. After racking up 60 tackles his senior season, he will likely get a few looks this spring, but heâs not putting all his hopes on a professional career.
âI just want to get better every day, become a leader in life, and win this last game,â said Bonner. âIâm going to try football out again, try out the league. If that doesnât happen, I pray to God that it does, but if that doesnât happen, Iâm going to try to help kids. I think thatâs one of my passions, coaching these kids and helping them get out of tough situations.â
For now it is all about having a good time and enjoying the final 16 days of his college career.
âIâm trying to make it exciting. It is still exciting. It has been a long time but Iâm making it fun and trying to help the young guys.â