March 31, 2009

Encalade fulfilling a lifelong dream

Aaron Encalade had a dream of playing quarterback at Mississippi State coming out of New Orleans in 2005.

Three schools and nearly four years later he will get his opportunity when the 6-foot-2, 230-pounder walks out with the Bulldogs for the first time this afternoon at practice. Encalade will be among several walk-on players that will begin practicing today in hopes of making the final roster.

"This is where I wanted to be from the beginning," Encalade said. "Junior college was the route that I had to take to come here. I had to get an AA degree. I completed that and now I am here."

Encalade was offered a scholarship by Southern in Baton Rouge, La., but failed to qualify academically so his journey began at Pearl River Community College in the spring of 2005 but never played a snap there. He then transferred to Mississippi Delta Community in 2007 where he threw for over 700 yards and 10 touchdowns. Encalade then made the move to Coahoma Community College in 2008 throwing for more than 800 yards as a sophomore.

Encalade inked a scholarship on national signing day in 2008 with Mississippi Valley State but soon realized that was not the route he wanted to take.

"I signed with Mississippi Valley on national signing day last year in 2008," Encalade said. "I got there and I had to go back. I realized that if I went back to junior college for one more semester and graduate that I would be able to do what I actually set out to do. So I did so. I went back and I was a coach with the offensive coordinator and it gave me a chance to see some things from a different view."

Now after being out of pads for more than a year and a half and at the age of 24, Encalade will finally suit up for the Bulldogs. He is excited about the opportunity to play in the spread offense that Dan Mullen brings from Florida.

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