By JOEL COLEMAN
Many labels fit Mississippi State’s Torrey Dale. The defensive lineman is imposing at 6-foot-6 and 277 pounds. As a fifth-year senior, Dale is as just about as experienced as they come.
He’s big. He’s strong. He’s a veteran.
Oh, by the way, he’s a mama’s boy, too.
“My mom has always taken care of me and my two sisters,” Dale said. “She’s the main person in my life and always will be. I’d do anything for her and I don’t have any shame in that.”
Over the course of Dale’s career, he’s been fueled by love for his mother and family. Dale has been a part of many special moments at State. He’s been a member of the nation’s top-ranked team for five weeks in 2014. He’s helped MSU win nine or more games in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history.
All of that pales in comparison to the feeling Dale says he gets from making big plays in front of his biggest fans.
“All the sacrifices that my mom and sisters have made to get me where I’m at today, it’s been a blessing,” Dale said. “It’s great to go out there and do what I love and put on a show for them and make them happy and make them proud.”
Dale might just be primed to give his relatives more to cheer about than ever in 2016. The Kenner, Louisiana, native’s production has increased each year that he’s been in Starkville. Dale played in two games with two tackles in 2013. A year later, he saw action in 11 games with four tackles. Last season, Dale participated in all 13 games and notched a career-high nine tackles.
The increased production is a direct result of a player that just keeps finding ways to develop his game.
“Torrey has gotten a lot better,” MSU defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon said. “He has good technique.
“I am happy that he is playing on our defense and he is a valuable guy to our team and I hope he keeps improving.”
Dale isn’t making any bold predictions for his senior campaign. To Dale, success isn’t based on what he does as an individual anyway.
“I’m expecting big things from the whole team,” Dale said. “From the defensive line to the defense as a whole, I’ve seen us really grow and I’ve seen the work we’ve put in, so it’s not really about me. It’s about us. I’m just excited to get out there and see what we can do as a whole.”
When the season is over, Dale’s goal is simply to leave Mississippi State on top. Dale’s career is down to a dozen or so more games. Six more times, he’ll get the chance to play inside of Davis Wade Stadium.
It has been quite the ride for Dale to this point and he knows when it’s over at the end of the year, it’ll be hard to say goodbye to it all.
“I might shed a tear or two,” Dale said. “I’ll think about all the great wins and all the hard work and all the great people I’m going to keep in touch with. I’ll remember all the things I’ve learned, whether it’s hard work or accountability and things like that, that I can take with me later in life.”
For now, Dale doesn’t have time to get emotional. The season opener is now just about a week and a half away. To end his career the way he envisions, Dale must maintain his focus and take the schedule a game at a time.
This mama’s boy is on a mission, and it’s almost time to make mama and the family proud.
“Hopefully (my mom) will be in the crowd saying, ‘That’s my boy,’” Dale said. “It’s great to get out there and put a smile on all their faces.”