HURLEY, MS (WLOX) - Being the biggest guy in the room is nothing new for Brad Cumbest. Long before the East Central senior towered over defenders, he earned a fitting nickname from his Dad when he was only 5 years old.
"I was bigger than everyone else so they just started calling me 'Mule,'" Cumbest said.
He certainly put that nickname to use this season. Now standing at 6'6" and weighing 240 pounds, Cumbest leads the Hornets with 604 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.
"When I'm 6'6" and facing people that's 5'10", 5'9", there's no doubt I should catch the ball every time."
"Every game he's a mismatch," head coach Seth Smith said. "Even when we don't throw him the ball he makes us better, because you have to account for him. It kind of messes your defense up a little bit."
Holding offers from Nicholls State and Louisiana-Lafayette, Cumbest broke through to the next level this summer, when he received offers from Ole Miss and Mississippi State on the same day. But for the tight end, there was no doubt, as he committed with the Bulldogs almost immediately.
"I knew if I ever got offered by them, I was going there no matter what," Cumbest said. "That's just where I want to go."
"(The SEC offers) kind of validate what we thought all along," Smith said. "We felt like we've got a ton of really good players, and we definitely knew he was one of them. We felt he could play at the Division One level, it was just a matter of somebody giving him an opportunity and he did."
But before Cumbest heads to Starkville, the Mississippi State has unfinished business in Hurley. Visiting South Pike this Friday for their third round Class 4A playoff contest, East Central looks to continue their postseason run, already the longest in program history.
"It's a great feeling, actually," Cumbest said. "The whole town, everyone knows who we are. We can go out, get something to eat and they know exactly who we are. That's a big motivator - be the first for everything, as Coach says. This year, let's be the first for everything."