December 18, 2012

Walk-on decision works out

Sylvester Hemphill was a state champion powerlifter as well as an all-star football player in high school.

But when it came time to commit, the offers just weren't there. So instead, the Olive Branch, Miss., native decided to stay in-state and walk-on at Mississippi State.

It is a situation that worked out best for both parties involved.

Hemphill has played in 50 career games for the Bulldogs and has been on scholarship the past two seasons.

"It was definitely a risk (to walk-on) coming out of high school," Hemphill said. "I just felt like I could play on this level. In high school all I really watched was SEC football and I wanted to play for the best so I took that chance."

The 5-foot-11, 235-pounder has plowed the way for a pair of NFL running backs during his time in Starkville. Hemphill was the fullback for 1,000-yard rushers Anthony Dixon and Vick Ballard.

"You look at Dixon at San Francisco and Ballard with Indianapolis, they are both still playing good," Hemphill said. "It's cool to say that you actually blocked for them. Not everybody can say that."

Carries have been few and far between for Hemphill. In fact, he has not had a rushing attempt in the past two years.

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