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March 23, 2011A senior-laden linebacking corps last season allowed true freshman Ferlando Bohanna to redshirt his first year on campus.
But with that group of veterans gone it is now Bohanna's opportunity this spring to showcase what he has learned and position himself for one of the three vacancies in the unit.
"It's going good," Bohanna said of spring practice. "I'm just trying to get better. I'm just trying to earn me a spot to play. I just want to help my team out. It's all about the brothers.
"Everyday we've just got to come out and compete. The best guy will play."
Naturally the six-foot, 230-pounder was like any other freshman and wanted to begin playing immediately. But now he looks back on the decision to redshirt him as a blessing.
"Redshirting was the best thing that happened to me," Bohanna said. "I actually gained a lot from redshirting. It didn't hurt me at all. I felt good about it."
The Memphis Tenn., native came to MSU as a three-star prospect out of Whitehaven High School where he was named District 16-AAA Defensive Player of the Year. As a senior Bohanna recorded 85 tackles, 13 stops for loss, three sacks and three forced fumbles.
Bohanna was rated the No. 15 inside linebacker in the nation and the No. 7 overall recruit in Tennessee in 2010 but admits that playing in the Southeastern Conference has been an adjustment.
"It's nothing like high school," Bohanna said. "It's in a different league and a totally different ballgame."
Bohanna had scholarship offers from Clemson, Middle Tennessee State and Southern Miss but is happy he decided to become a Bulldog.
"It's the best thing that I've ever done in my life," Bohanna said. "It's best decision I've made. I redshirted and got better. I've worked with Coach (Matt) Balis for a whole year and I'm ready to go play."
Bohanna learned under Manny Diaz during his first season in Starkville and is going through his first spring under State's new linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator Geoff Collins.
"I love Coach Collins," Bohanna said. "He's very energetic and just wants the best out of his players. He wants the LB's to lead the group."