Preston Smith's career is an example of how Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen likes to develop players.
The defensive end was a lightly regarded recruit — at least by Southeastern Conference standards — and then started his career anonymously as a backup lineman. He slowly earned more time on the field as he got stronger, and now the 6-foot-6, 270-pound senior is one of the best players on a loaded Bulldogs' defensive line.
He made his presence felt in the Bulldogs' opener.
Smith, named SEC defensive lineman of the week, intercepted a pass and later blocked a field goal attempt that was returned by teammate Jay Hughes for a touchdown during Mississippi State's 49-0 over Southern Mississippi.
Mississippi State (1-0) hosts UAB (1-0) Saturday.