Former Philadelphia High School football standout Josh Boyd is doing two things this week.

He's preparing to play a football game. Boyd, who played defensive tackle for Mississippi State for the past four seasons, will be a member of the West team this Saturday in the 88th East-West Shrine Game. The game will be held at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., kicking off at 3 p.m. CST and televised live on NFL Network.

But Boyd is also going through a series of interviews for what he hopes is his next career as a player in the National Football League.

"I've just about talked to all of the teams," Boyd said. "They'll call you and invite you in for an interview. Sometimes, I'm talking with the scouts for a couple of hours."

This will be the first of two NFL job interview sessions for Boyd. He has also been invited to attend the NFL Combine which will take place Feb. 20-26 in Indianapolis, Ind.

Boyd, 6-foot-3, 300 pounds, started playing football in the seventh grade at Philadelphia Middle School. By the time he had finished his career with the Tornadoes under coach Teddy Dyess, he just about had done it all. He was a Dandy Dozen standout, played in the Mississippi-Alabama all-star game, and was chosen to play in the U.S. Army High School game in San Antonio, Texas.

Boyd signed with Mississippi State and played four seasons with the Bulldogs in the rugged Southeastern Conference. He has now completed his tenure with the Bulldogs and is ready to take the next step.

"Four years really went by fast," Boyd said. "It doesn't seem like it was that long ago I was playing at Philadelphia.

"Everyone here is a senior. The top players in the nation are here. By playing in the SEC, I'm used to playing against NFL grade competition," Boyd said. "My dream has always been to play in the NFL and I'm going to do my best to reach it."

But even though he is thinking about a career in the NFL, Boyd is also looking to win a football game.

"In a way, this is my last college football game and I want to walk off the field a winner," Boyd said. "As a player and a competitor, that's what you always want to do.

"We got here last Saturday. We are having one practice a day. We'll have a walk-through on the day before game and then we'll play. Of course, you want to avoid injuries, but I want to play well."

Joining Boyd on the West team is Mississippi State teammate receiver Chad Bumpus.

Boyd is majoring in Business Science and Independent Studies at Mississippi State. He lacks two courses to graduate.

"I'm taking two on-line courses right now," Boyd said. "I'm planning on graduating this Spring."

That and hopefully being drafted in the NFL Draft in April would make for a great Spring. Right now, scouts appear to be regarding Boyd as a third or fourth-round pick.

"That can go up or down," Boyd said. "It depends on how I do this week and in the combine."