Position Previews: Guard


Sep 14, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs quarterback Dak Prescott (15) celebrates with linemen Dillon Day (63) and Ben Beckwith (66) after scoring a touchdown against the Auburn Tigers during the first half at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi State didn’t just have the best offensive guard in the state last year, we had the best player in the state in Gabe Jackson. But Gabe is now playing for the Oakland Raiders and some new lineman will have to take his place.

The thing about this position is we really don’t have any definitive answer as to who will be starting. I have some pretty good ideas but there are no clear cut guys. So no special order here.

Sept 1, 2012; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs offensive linesman Ben Beckwith (66) during the game against the Jackson State Tigers at Davis Wade Stadium. Mississippi State Bulldogs defeated the Jackson State Tigers 56-9. Mandatory Credit: Spruce DerdenUSA TODAY Sports

Ben Beckwith – I’ll start with Beckwith because he’s a senior and we know he’ll be playing a lot. I lean towards him being the starting Right Guard, but he may be the primary backup on both sides of the Center. Either way, he’ll be in that top eight guys ready to play that Hevesy wants. You have to like a guy like Beckwith who walked on to the team and has got significant playing time. He started 12 games last year at RG after Justin Malone went down with an injury.

Jamaal Clayborn – I think Clayborn has a good chance of starting at LG. When you play in seven games as a true freshman offensive lineman and you’re compared to a young Gabe Jackson I have to believe we’ve found another hidden gem. His development will have a long way to go in determining how this line shakes out.

Justin Malone – As a redshirt freshman in 2012 Malone played very well splitting time with Tobias Smith, then his season was derailed with injury in the first game last year. He’s always been at RG and is still practicing at RG despite his 6′-7″ 320 body which seems to be more suited for a tackle. Some have suggested he has short arms (I haven’t measured his wingspan) while others have said he isn’t needed there. I don’t know. I do expect him to start wherever he plays.

Jake Thomas and Kent Flowers  – two highly thought of recruits who will be redshirt freshman this fall. Both can play Guard or Tackle, but I see them providing depth at Guard. Hopefully they are far along enough in their development to be able to go if called upon.