Mississippi State and head coach Dan Mullen saw great success in 2014, winning 10-games, playing in the Orange Bowl, being ranked number one in the country for five straight weeks and was the first ever team ranked number-one in the college football playoff.
But, with only seven players listed as starters coming back for 2015 what is left in the Bulldog Cupboard?
We still have a long way to go before we reach kickoff on September 5th down at Southern Miss and while we still have a lot that can happen in recruiting and the offseason, it’s never too early to start looking ahead at who might be your major players in 2015 for Mississippi State.
Over the next few weeks we will look at each position and give you a best guess on who might make an impact and why.
Today we take a look at the offensive line for the Bulldogs.
Key Losses: Blaine Clausell, Ben Beckwith, Dillion Day, Archie Muniz
Returning Roster Players:
Deion Calhoun, Cole Carter, Jamaal Clayborn, Ronald Cochran, Devon Desper, Kent Flowers, Elgton Jenkins, Jocquell Johnson, Justin Malone, Nick Proby, Justin Senior, Jake Thomas, Ruffus Warren
New Dawgs on the Horizon:
NOTE: These players are tentative until they actually sign on Wednesday February 4, 2015.
Martinas Rankin – Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College – Enrolled
Michael Story – Ripley, MS (Ripley High School) – Enrolled
Darryl Williams – Bessemer, AL (Bessemer High School)
Harrison Moon – Signal Mountain, TN (Signal Mountain High School)
Lost Production: Anytime you lose over 100-carrier starts on an offensive line, you are going to have concern and that’s what the Bulldogs face going into the spring as they try to replace three starters that played meaningful snaps not only this past year, but years prior.
The big key is to find the right guy to play center and he has to be the sharpest guy of the bunch. Day’s presence cannot be overlooked as he did a great job of calling the right blocking schemes and keeping the offensive line on the right track.
It is no coincidence, that the two best years Dan Mullen has had in Starkville, involved a seasoned center. Day in 2014 and J.C. Brignone in 2010.
What’s Back: The Bulldogs return four juniors, six sophomores and only three seniors for the 2015 spring training camp and will also welcome junior college transfer Martinas Rankin and Michael Story of Ripley.
The Bulldogs need guys like Jamaal Clayborn, Justin Malone and others that have significant playing time to step up and be leaders on this unit.
The unit is going to be young and some younger faces will have to produce early. Rankin needs to be able to slide into one of the tackle spots and be effective early.
Rising Star:Justin Malone could be the next man up as far as NFL potential along the Bulldog front. He was a steady force inside this past year for the Bulldogs and will be called upon to lead this unit moving forward.
Final Take: It seems like every year the big question mark is the Bulldog offensive line and every year they end up being pretty darn good by the end of the year.
There is some good young talent on this team and if the Bulldogs can find the right pieces to the puzzle, State’s offensive line should again be at least middle of the pack in 2015.