Photo/Zac Chamblee

When PCS football coach Derek White arrived in Hattiesburg last April, he was soon introduced to Camp Tice, one of only four seniors the Bobcats returned for his first season at the helm. A 6-foot-4, 165 pound outside linebacker and tight end, Tice was described by White as long and rangy, and also a “spaghetti noodle”.

However, following the conclusion of PCS’ 2018 season and a chat with White, Tice packed on 30 pounds in the span of three months by hitting the weight room hard and eating two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a glass of milk every night.

“Coach came to me and asked if I wanted to play anywhere,” Tice recalled. “I said, ‘That’s not really likely, I’m pretty small’. So I worked my butt off.”

“The cat never missed a day working out, he never complained, he never stopped,” White added. “He still acts like he’s a member of this football team, even though he’s graduating.”

In March, White began exploring next level options for Tice. A few phone calls ensued, and White learned that Mississippi State and second-year head coach Joe Moorhead were searching to fill three roster spots with three preferred walk-ons in the coming months. Tight end happened to be one of their positions of need, and Tice, who now weighed in at 195 pounds, fit the bill.

A week ago, Tice was offered the opportunity after meeting Bulldog assistant coach Tony Hughes, a former assistant at Hattiesburg High School and Southern Miss. 

“He [Hughes] was sold on him as soon as they met,” White said. “He heard about him, watched his film and met him, and he was like, ‘You’re my guy’.”

Tice made it official with Mississippi State on Wednesday, putting pen to paper alongside family, coaches and teammates. 

“I’m super pumped, excited and ready to get at it,” he said. “Whenever they call me up there, I’m ready to go.”

White believes Tice is set up to succeed in Starkville. 

“He’s got really good hands,” White said. “He’s gotta fill out and get a little better in the blocking game, but he’s a big guy. And whatever you do, you can’t create 6-foot-4. He’s got a height factor that can work for him, and he’s just a great kid.”

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