Starkville-Native Willie Gay, Jr. Ready For NFL Draft

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) — Willie Gay, Jr. began his football career on fields like Jaycee Field at Armstrong Middle School.

Born and raised in Starkville, Mississippi, Gay has accomplished almost everything on a football field, right in his own backyard.

Four-star recruit out of Starkville High School that was a top-100 recruit nationally, Gay went on to play at the highest level of college football for his hometown university, Mississippi State.

The next step for Gay’s football career? Playing on Sundays.

“[NFL teams] are keeping me busy with phone calls and interviews and things like that,” Gay said, “Trying to get to know me more as a person than a player because we did that at the [NFL] Combine already.

“Now it’s just feeling me out, seeing where my head is, and how can I fit a scheme or any team.”

Gay set the NFL world on fire at the combine in Indianapolis, Indiana back in February. The former Bulldog running a 4.46 40-yard dash, recording a 39.5″ vertical leap, and impressing scouts in individual workouts.

“Honestly, the drills and all the pressure, I’m made for it,” Gay said about his combine performance.

“I got there and at first I was nervous, I thought I had to please everybody. A coach from the [Cincinnati] Bengals actually gave me advice, he said, ‘just be yourself’. That was the best advice I got the whole week, even since January when this process started. I attacked on field drills, attacked the meetings, attacked the interviews with coaches and teams. It was easy though man, it was a lot, but it was easy I was just blessed to be there”

Gay said he’s received a phone from almost every NFL team during the draft process.

Multiple NFL Draft projections have Gay selected as a second-round pick, but according to Willie, “I just block that out because I don’t really care, honestly. Of course we all care, but in a way I’m just ready to play ball again. I mean I only played five games, so to say I’m going to be drafted is a blessing, so I’m just ready to get on someone’s team.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the NFL Draft to go virtual in 2020, and while Gay said he “really wanted the experience” of being with his family in Las Vegas for the draft, any call would be a blessing.

To even have a Zoom call come in, or anything like that from a coach’s house, I don’t care, I’m just ready to have my phone ringing, to hear a coach’s voice,” Gay said.

Gay plans to spend the NFL Draft at home in Starkville with his closest family and friends.

The NFL Draft begins on April 23rd, and runs through the April 25th.

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