KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – It was there. Hidden underneath the masks we’ve come accustomed to in 2020 DeShawn Page was smiling, a sense of relief swept across his face, while the ink on the paper dried in front of him.
In a Mississippi State football t-shirt and hat Page solidified the next chapter of his life as family and friends looked on.
Page had sat in that same seat two years ago signing his National Letter of Intent as a Senior in high school to play football at Marshall University. But Page never wore the Kelly Green and White or called Huntingdon, West Virginia home.
“My senior year I felt like I was settling,” Page recalled. “So I decided to take the JUCO route.”
Instead of traveling Northeast Page went southwest to Scooba Mississipi where he attended East Mississippi Community College, known from the hit Netflix series Last Chance U.
“I watched the series, but never thought I’d be there,” Page said.
A JUCO was never the goal, it was never his dream, but he was there for a reason with a goal in mind and he knew if he wanted to achieve that he had to buy-in.
“Deshawn is like super talented naturally but he’s one of those guys that isn’t afraid of work,” Page’s high school coach Rob Black said. “He showed that in practice here, and after talking to the guys at EMCC he was the same way there. He did work in the classroom, did work on the football field.”
Page recorded 36 total tackles, including three for a loss, two pass breakups, and one forced fumble in nine games at East Mississippi in 2019 garnering the attention of Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Kansas State, and Washington State, among a handful of others.
After briefly committing with the Wildcats, and then the Red Raiders Page decided to stay in the state that had already brought him success and committed to Mississippi State in October.
“I grew up watching the SEC West,” Page said. “I’ve been in Mississippi a lot, I liked it. It’s relief to find a home I’m welcomed at and go from there. They’ve welcomed me with open arms and I really love that.”
Page was one of four linebackers to sign with the Bulldogs on the first day of the early signing period, but the only one that plays inside linebacker.
“He’s a guy that can really come off the edge and wreak havoc when it comes to the run game,” Mississippi State special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach Matt Brock said in a video released on the Bulldogs Twitter account. “The thing that you see with him is in the box he has an ability to find the football. He has a nose for the football and not everybody has that that’s an instinctual thing that he carries and we’re excited to have him back there tracking the football for us.”
Page plans to enroll early at Mississippi State allowing him to get a feel for the campus, and the program, before his first season in the SEC where he will wear a familiar color scheme.
“That was pretty exciting he’s in the SEC, wearing the Maroon, they’re Adidas, we’re Adidas,” Black said. “Everything fits in places with this. I’ll be a Mississippi State fan as long as he’s there. Go Bulldogs.”
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