By Brandon Walker, [email protected]
August 26, 2014 3:27:53 PM
Mississippi State released its depth chart n Monday. Here is a breakdown of each position.
15 Dak Prescott 6-2, 220 Jr.
11 Damian Williams 6-1, 225 So.
No surprises here. Prescott is the offense's unquestioned leader, and he's primed for big things in his first season as MSU's full-time starter. Williams proved capable after being forced into action as a freshman.
34 Josh Robinson 5-9, 215 Jr.
7 Nick Griffin 6-0, 226 Sr.
Robinson, who averaged 6 yards per carry as a sophomore, took hold of the starting job in the spring. Griffin is finally looking healthy after two separate anterior cruciate ligament injuries threatened to derail his career.
1 De'Runnya Wilson 6-5, 225 So.
5 Fred Brown 6-1, 190 So.
Wilson is tabbed as a breakout candidate after a strong finish to his freshman season. Brown has been the talk of preseason camp among MSU's other wide receivers.
4 Jameon Lewis 5-9, 187 Sr.
35 Gabe Myles 6-0, 192 Fr.
Lewis exploded as a junior and enters his senior season as the Southeastern Conference's leading returning wide receiver. Myles, like Lewis, is a former high school quarterback who led his team to a state championship. Lewis did it at Tylertown in 2009, Myles at Starkville in 2012.
12 Robert Johnson 6-1, 210 Sr.
16 Joe Morrow 6-4, 210 Jr.
Johnson was quietly good for MSU in 2013, as he finished second on the team in catches and receiving yards. Morrow is a former four-star prospect still looking for his breakthrough in Starkville.
6 Malcolm Johnson 6-2, 221 Sr.
18 Brandon Hill 6-2, 245 Sr.
19 Gus Walley 6-4, 235 So.
The only position on the team with three players listed. Johnson had 30 catches as a junior. Hill and Walley are each suited as blocking tight ends.
75 Blaine Clausell 6-7, 315 Sr.
71 Cole Carter 6-6, 295 So.
No surprise for Clausell, who has the most career starts on MSU's team with 37. Carter is a sophomore from Caledonia High School who could be in play for either tackle spot.
66 Ben Beckwith 6-3, 305 Sr.
60 Jamaal Clayborn 6-4, 320 Sr.
The responsibility of replacing former All-SEC guard Gabe Jackson falls first to Beckwith, who started 11 games a season ago after taking over for injured starter Justin Malone.
63 Dillon Day 6-4, 229 Sr.
59 Archie Muniz 6-5, 295 Sr.
Like Clausell, Day is a multi-year starter who will be viewed as an anchor for the offensive line.
70 Justin Malone 6-7, 320 Jr.
62 Devon Desper 6-3, 300 So.
Malone was penciled in as the starter a year ago before an injury sustained in Week 1 derailed those plans. Back now, Malone was also in the conversation to replace injured right tackle Damien Robinson. Desper is a redshirt freshman from Madison Central. He is among a number of young linemen awaiting their opportunity.
58 Justin Senior 6-5, 295 So.
77 Rufus Warren 6-7, 295 Jr.
The only position on the offense without clear starter, right tackle has been a question throughout camp, even before Robinson's injury. Senior has emerged as the front-runner, but offensive line coach John Hevesy says Warren, a former tight end, has made tremendous strides since the spring.
48 Ryan Brown 6-6, 262 Jr.
94 Nelson Adams 6-3, 300 So.
While Brown, who had 13 tackles and two and a half sacks as a sophomore, has been entrenched in MSU's four-man defensive end rotation since the beginning of camp, Adams is a surprise. After seeing his playing time increase through his freshman year, Adams has emerged as a candidate for playing time.
93 P.J. Jones 6-3, 296 Sr.
96 Chris Jones 6-5, 308 So.
The older Jones, P.J., is finally healthy. The younger Jones, Chris, is one of the most disruptive talents in college football and a preseason All-American, according to SI.com. This is one case that points out that opening-week depth charts might not always be gospel.
92 Kaleb Eulls 6-4, 295 Sr.
98 Curtis Virges 6-3, 312 Sr.
88 Nick James 6-5, 325 So.
James has been the talk of camp, both good and bad, on the defensive line. His teammates have raved about the former four-star prospect from Long Beach, while defensive line coach David Turner says, "He is a work in progress." Still, seeing the ultra-talented James listed alongside steady senior Curtis Virges as the primary backup has to be encouraging for MSU fans.
91 Preston Smith 6-6, 270 Sr.
47 A.J. Jefferson 6-3, 270 So.
Along with quarterback and middle linebacker, this was one of the easiest positions on the field to project. Smith led MSU in sacks with six and a half as a junior, while Jefferson, a sophomore, has been praised by teammates as one of the team's hardest-working players.
22 Matt Wells 6-2, 220 Sr.
14 Zach Jackson 6-2, 210 Jr.
Steady as they come, Wells enters his season as one of MSU's most reliable defenders with 120 career tackles 13 1/2 tackles for loss. Jackson is a former high school safety who has played in all 26 games of his two-year career.
50 Ben. McKinney 6-5, 249 Jr.
39 Richie Brown 6-2, 235 So.
Like Prescott, McKinney is the unquestioned leader of the defense, and he enters with plenty of preseason hype. On preseason watch lists for multiple defensive awards, McKinney is the heart and soul of the defense. Brown, a sophomore from Long Beach, might be in line to inherit McKinney's spot and accolades when the former Rosa Fort Lion goes pro. Brown finished his redshirt freshman season with 38 tackles, three for loss.
42 Beniquez Brown 6-1, 235 So.
44 Christian Holmes 6-1, 230 Sr.
More interesting in this spot might be who isn't listed. While Holmes, a senior, is listed on the roster at tight end, redshirt freshman linebacker Dez Harris, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound McKinney clone, has been lauded by coaches and players for his ability and is looked upon as MSU's future at the position. His presence on the depth chart is likely a matter of when, not if.
5 Jamerson Love 5-10, 175 Sr.
2 Will Redmond 6-0, 185 Jr.
Love is listed as the No. 8 cornerback in the SEC by ESPN.com, and Redmond, a former four-star prospect, will be unleashed after losing the first 18 games of his career due to an NCAA violation. According to cornerbacks coach Deshea Townsend, Redmond is primed for a breakout.
3 Jay Hughes 5-11, 195 Sr.
26 Kendrick Market 5-10, 188 Jr.
Hughes returns after losing a season to a ruptured Achilles' tendon suffered in last year's season opener. Market, a junior from South Panola High, saw increased playing time in the absence of Hughes and produced, finishing third on the team in tackles.
9 Justin Cox 6-3, 192 Sr.
11 Kivon Coman 6-3, 195 So.
Cox, a former All-America performer as a safety at East Mississippi Community College, returns to his natural position after a year at cornerback. As a corner, Cox registered one interception in 2013. As a safety, he had 11 interceptions in two years at Scooba.
23 Taveze Calhoun 6-1, 184 Jr.
31 Tolando Cleveland 6-0, 180 So.
Calhoun progressed as well as any MSU defender in 2013. Starting the season off as an unknown, the Morton native improved to become one of the SEC's best by the end of the year, evidenced by an ESPN.com ranking that lists him as the No. 2 cornerback in the SEC. Cleveland played in 12 games as a freshman.
-- Brandon Walker
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