Redshirt freshman Matthew Wells has yet to see his first collegiate snap and won't do so until Mississippi State kicks off the 2011 campaign next fall. But the former Lawrence County standout has already seen his share of moves on the field.
Wells was one of state's top prospects in the Class of 2010 and arrived in Starkville last June. In offseason individual drills, Wells started out catching passes from the Bulldog quarterbacks and worked with the receiving corps. Then when fall camp opened up, Wells moved to the defensive backfield and took practice reps at free safety.
This spring has Wells learning another new position at sam linebacker.
"Of course I like the offensive side of the ball," noted Wells. "But I knew I could help the team by moving to nickel safety and sam linebacker. So it's just a matter of helping my team, learning the plays and checks and getting it done."
Naturally, Wells faces another learning curve with his latest move. But after four spring practice sessions, Wells said he is growing more and more comfortable with the switch.
"It was interesting and kinda fun," said the 6-foot and 210-pound Wells. "Of course, I know the safety position and now I am learning something new. But I feel good about it and I feel comfortable with the move and I am learning the plays."
He also added the toughest adjustment he faces now that he is in the middle of the defensive attack.
"Just the switches and the calls that come out of different plays," said Wells. "That is the biggest thing to adjust to with the move."
Wells is also happy to just be back practicing with his teammates. While many of his fellow classmates got extra reps with bowl practice last December, Wells was coming off minor leg surgery and was limited in practice. Now fully recovered, Wells is making the most of his opportunities and is currently working with the second-team defense.
"Well with my surgery, I was trying to get better from that," said Wells. "I didn't go through bowl practice but I am over everything now. It is good to be back out here now and getting back in the swing of things and going through all the plays."
And speaking of his classmates, Wells was part of a talented group that inked with MSU in 2010. Only a handful of guys in that class played last year and most received that valuable redshirt. Down the road, Wells strongly believes his class will prove their worth on the field.
"Our group will help out a lot with our speed," said Wells. "The whole group is very athletic and wherever we need help, I believe our class can step in and help out a lot. Most of us redshirted and took advantage of that opportunity to get better and to learn. So now it's time to put that knowledge and improvement to work. Now it is time to really start helping the team."