STARKVILLE – About five minutes before the start of the Auburn game last season, Mississippi State true freshman Brad Wall was told to get ready.
The Bulldogs’ usual kickoff man Logan Cooke was unable to go due to a knee injury and Wall was called upon to fill that role and make his collegiate debut in front of a national television audience on ESPN.
“To be honest, I really didn’t have a chance to get nervous,” Wall said. “It was unforgettable I can tell you that. I can still feel the heat from those flamethrowers and running out and seeing the crowd.”
MSU won the coin toss and deferred until the second half meaning Wall would be responsible for the opening kickoff.
With his adrenaline in overdrive, the 5-foot-8, 175-pounder charged towards the ball as over 60,000 screaming fans rose to their feet for the start of the game.
“Of course, the ball fell over on my first kickoff right as I was running up to it and had to restart,” Wall said. “That wasn’t a good start to the adventure.”
When Wall’s toe finally met leather it was perfect, traveling 64 yards down to the 1-yard line just as he planned.
The walk-on went on to play in seven games last season kicking off 32 times for an average of 61.8 yards and 10 touchbacks.
Wall is may be best remembered for his onside kick and recovery in the fourth quarter against Arkansas. However, the play was reviewed and ruled that he touched the ball inches before it rolled the necessary 10 yards.
“It was pretty close, bang-bang,” Wall said. “I couldn’t really tell how close it was. I was happy with the kick, probably the best I could’ve done. We practice that thousands of times, just trying to get that hop. Sometimes it’s luck because it can take a weird bounce.”
Wall is working on kickoff duties again this fall while Jordan Lawless, Tucker Day, Jace Christman and…