September 11, 2009

Berry ready for first SEC action

Leon Berry wasted little time making an impact during his first game for Mississippi State.

The six-foot, 195-pound junior college transfer returned the opening kickoff 38-yards setting up the first Bulldog touchdown of the year. Now that Berry has gotten his feet wet at the next level he will have to adjust to a hostile environment on the road in the Southeastern Conference.

Berry admits that things are a lot different for him at MSU than his two seasons at East Mississippi Community College.

"First of all I mean there's a whole lot of more players out there," Berry said. "I mean the noise is crazy. The game has gotten a whole lot faster and a little bit harder I'm trying to see how SEC play is going to be."

Berry earned second team All-America honors and was twice named All-Region as a return specialist for the Lions. He hauled in 59 passes for 1,003 yards and nine touchdowns during his junior college career. He also returned 43 kickoffs for 1,126 yards and two touchdowns and 10 punt returns for 129 yards and another score.

Berry made a commitment to Southern Miss on Dec. 14 but a conversation with his head coach at EMCC Buddy Stephens caused him to rethink his decision. He visited Mississippi State six days later and signed a scholarship before flying back to his hometown of Griffin, Ga., for the holidays.

"My dream was always to play in the SEC," Berry said. "When I left Southern my coach from junior college called and said he had talked to the coach at Mississippi State and told me to hold out on them. I did and Coach (Dan) Mullen called me like a day after."

Running the spread offense is nothing new for Berry. He played two years in the spread for the Lions but admits that the terminology and playbook is more complicated at State.

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