MSU football team could see battle at kicker


Matthew Stevens



STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State football team likely will have a battle for field goal kicker this season.


J.J. McGrath, a preferred walk-on at the University of Michigan last season, will transfer to MSU as a walk-on and could become the team's field goal kicker in the fall.


Last week, McGrath used his Twitter account, @_McGrath46, to announce he was going to attend MSU. In a direct message to The Dispatch, McGrath confirmed he will be eligible to play at MSU this season despite transferring from one Football Bowl Subdivision school to another because he wasn't one of the 85 scholarship players at his previous school.



"Officially heading down to Starkville to join the Mississippi State Bulldogs. #HailState," McGrath tweeted.


McGrath, who made 7 of 11 attempts as a senior season at Lutheran North High School in Macomb, Michigan, didn't play as a freshman for the Wolverines. He converted three of the longest field goals in state history -- 57, 54, and 52 yards -- before going to Michigan. He was named All-Catholic First Team, All-State East First Team, and All-State Division 4-8 First Team as a senior.


Last season, MSU used scholarship kicker Devon Bell and walk-on Evan Sobiesk. The Bulldogs were 10 of 21 on field goals. The 47.6-percent conversion rate ranked fourth worst of the 125 FBS schools.


In spring practice, Bell handled punting and kickoff duties, while Sobiesk kicked field goals. Sobiesk was 3 of 6 last year on field goals. He made one field goal -- a 36-yarder against Ole Miss -- in his final five games.


Follow Matt Stevens on Twitter @matthewcstevens.




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