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October 23, 2012What a difference a year can make.
Last season Dillon Day was fighting through the rigors of being a freshman starting center in the Southeastern Conference after being forced into action by Mississippi State's injury riddled offensive line.
But now it seems as if Day has settled into his new role and even as a sophomore is starting to take ownership of the offensive line.
"It's crazy the change from a year ago until now," Day said. "I just know more things. Of course I still get jitters but it's nothing like back then. I'm just more comfortable and that helps out everything."
Day made nine starts at center for the Bulldogs in 2011 and graded out as a champion four times with 31 pancake blocks on the year. But there was one area he wanted to work on during the offseason - his snapping.
Throughout the year Day struggled with the accuracy of his snaps. With MSU lining up in the shotgun or pistol formation a majority of the time, Day knew he had to be more consistent. So this summer he spent upwards of an hour each day working with the quarterbacks following their throwing session to improve.
The effort has paid off on the field having only had one low snap all season.
"Our transaction has been good and the snaps have been really well," Day said. "I worked a lot on that because I knew that was one of my weak points. Our chemistry has been really well."
Center is a position Day has had to learn since he arrived in Starkville in 2010. The West Monroe, La., native played tackle throughout his high school career helping lead the Rebels to a perfect 15-0 season as a senior en route to a Class 5A State Championship and a No. 9 national ranking.
Day admittedly had never even snapped a football until his first practice in maroon and white.
"It's a totally different position and I never realized how much a center had to do," Day said. "I'm not saying the tackles and guards don't have to do much because they have a big role but the center is kind of the headquarters of the offensive line. You're telling people where we're going and what kind of scheme we're doing. It's just totally different from tackle."
But a change in position is not the only transformation Day has underwent over the past few years. Entering his senior year Day weight only 237-pounds and kept his hair buzzed off nearly to his scalp.
Now Day tips the scales at 300-pounds on his 6-foot-4 frame, has long blonde locks down to his shoulder and has two arm sleeves of tattoos complete with a full back tattoo as well.
"I went home during the bye week and went up to the school and was talking with some of my old coaches," Day said. "A couple of them said I looked pretty fat on TV but said I looked alright up close. I've changed a lot in my body type but that's just how it is."
Due to his lack of size and academic issues, Day was lightly recruited out of high school. He wanted to attend Mississippi State from the very beginning of the recruiting process but the Bulldogs did not gamble on the two-star prospect until the eve of signing day in 2010.
Just days prior, Day had committed to Louisiana Tech but ultimately chose a greyshirt offer from State instead. From there he worked hard over the summer to improve his grades and pack on weight and became a full qualifier enrolling in classes on time.
Following a redshirt season, Day has appeared in all 20 possible games making 16 starts. He has also been named to the All-SEC Academic Honor Roll as well.
"I fought the whole time (in recruiting) to try to get here," Day said. "I think I got my offer the day before signing day and it was just a greyshirt offer. But I finally got here and it's a great place to be. I can't complain about one thing and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Everything you want is here."
Day has graded out at as a champion in all seven of the Bulldogs games this year and is on the Rimington Trophy Watch List for the nation's top center.
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