Mississippi State University was able to keep two key football players, as Kylin Hill and Errol Thompson decided to come back for one more season instead of going to the draft.
Both players announced their decisions in a Twitter post on Wednesday afternoon while there were rumors and questions surrounding their futures with the program.
Hill, a senior running back from Columbus, rushed for 1,350 yards last season. As the football sailed to the right of Hill, he collapsed to the ground in relief as MSU defeated Ole Miss in a wild end to the Egg Bowl. That moment could have been the last time Hill took the field in a maroon and white uniform, but he made the decision to stay at MSU.
“Mississippi State University means so much to me,” Hill said. “When I stepped off the field after the final game of the season last month, I thought it was my last time in maroon and white. After careful consideration, I’ve decided to return to Mississippi State for my senior season.”
With Hill returning, newly hired head coach Mike Leach will have a weapon to use in the backfield, both in the run game and pass game. Hill said he wanted to play under Leach while also finishing his degree.
“I’m thankful and blessed for these last three years, but I’m also excited for the opportunity to play my final season in the Coach Leach era of Mississippi State football,” Hill said. “There’s some unfinished business to take care of with my brothers. The work has already begun. Let’s ride.”
Leading tackler Thompson, a senior linebacker from Florence, Alabama, also announced his decision to stay one more year and finish his career at MSU. As the team captain who led the Bulldogs with 84 tackles, Thompson will remain an anchor in the middle of the defense. Thompson said MSU means a lot to him and his family.
“Really and truly, I’m thankful and blessed for these last three years at Mississippi State University,” Thompson said. "But my story isn’t done being written. Our story isn’t finished. There’s much more to accomplish both as a player, student and teammate.”
During 2020, Thompson will add to the 217 total tackles as well as finish up his academic career at MSU.
“After praying and talking with my parents, grandmother and others who are so close to me, I’ve decided I’ll be returning to Mississippi State for my senior year,” Thompson said. “I couldn’t be more eager to continue competing on the field, in the classroom and the community during my final season as a Bulldog. Time to get down to business.”
When MSU kicks off the next season and players run through smoke onto Scott Field at Davis Wade Stadium, the team will not have Willie Gay Jr., a linebacker from Starkville, with them since he declared for the draft shortly after the Music City Bowl.
“To my teammates, our paths may lead to different destinations,” Gay Jr. said in an announcement on Twitter. “Our bonds will last a lifetime. To the fans and university, each day at Mississippi State as a student and an athlete was a gift.”