Mississippi State signee plans to study veterinary medicine

Published 10:44 am Wednesday, December 20, 2023

BROOKHAVEN — Xavier Gayten is headed to Starkville where the cowbells toll. The Brookhaven High School senior signed with Mississippi State University Wednesday morning.

Gayten was a force to be reckoned with and carried Brookhaven into the playoffs this year. His speed and power required a significant defensive effort to slow him down, opening up chances for other Panthers to shine this year. He finished the season with over 2,000 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns. 

His football career started in kindergarten playing flag football and continued to fifth grade where he started playing tackle football. He is now playing at the next level in the SEC. Gayten committed to Mississippi State in June 2023. He signed with the Bulldogs under new head coach Jeff Lebby.

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“It is a blessing to have this opportunity and for them to give me this chance,” Gayten said. “Coming from the support system here I’m ready to be a Bulldog. I am committed to everybody there. All of them are good people. Lebby is a great guy. He is a really great person to be around and he doesn’t have bad energy around him. He wants you to be a great man.”

Gayten rang a gifted cowbell to celebrate the occasion with his parents and siblings. He said he grew up as an Alabama fan and will now have a chance to play Alabama at Mississippi State. 

Mississippi State’s deafening atmosphere at Davis Wade Stadium is one of the things Gayten looks forward to. 

“It is an incredible atmosphere with the cowbells. They sound really good. Making a big play and hearing those cowbells ring. It is what it’s all about,” Gayten said. “It is in Mississippi so I can play in front of my family too… I just love football and love the opportunity it can bring. I can dominate another man physically and go be a better man. I can show I’m the better man.” 

Brookhaven High School’s head coach Tucker Peavey prepared Gayten for the next level. Gayten said Peavey prepared the players for college both physically and mentally. 

He follows in his dad’s footsteps by paying in college. Willie Gayten, his dad, played football at Jackson State and went to Co-Lin Community College before serving with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks in law enforcement. His mom LaTronda Gayten is the principal at Brookhaven Elementary School. 

Xavier Gayten said he plans to study veterinary medicine at Mississippi State to become a veterinarian. 

“I love animals. It is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid,” Gayten said. “We had chickens, ducks and pigs. I grew up around animals. My dad would bring animals home too. He had to rescue alligators out of ponds and he would bring them by the house or we would pick up snakes.”