What Losing De’Runnya Wilson Means for MSU

Nov 21, 2015; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs wide receiver De
Nov 21, 2015; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs wide receiver De /

De’Runnya Wilson has announced he will forego his senior season in favor of the NFL, leaving MSU without it’s top receiver over the balance of the last three years. 

For his career, Wilson had 1,936 receiving yards on 132 catches (14.7 avg) with 22 touchdowns. While he could use another year to improve his draft stock with things like catching the ball with his hands rather than his body, there’s no question he has the size and strength to play at the next level, and I think this was a good decision for him personally.

Now, on to what it means for Mississippi State…

Just lost the biggest receiver on the team – at 6′-5″, Bear Wilson was a nightmare match-up on the outside. You could just throw it up for him to get. With Joe Morrow (6′-4″) graduating, that leaves Jesse Jackson as the tallest wide receiver on the team at 6′-2″.

Just lost the best blocking WR on the team – Bear’s ability to block is pretty underrated. He doesn’t just use his physicality to catch passes, but also to block. And he’s an excellent blocker – something that should really raise his draft stock.

Who is up next – Dan Mullen has done a great job of stock-piling talent on the outside. Billy Gonzales has done a great job of coaching those guys as well. Donald Gray is ready to step in for De’Runnya alongside Fred Ross and Fred Brown. He’ll be a junior in 2016 with sophomore Jesse Jackson nipping on their heels. Gray had 386 yards and a pair of TDs in his first year with State.

Related Story: Biggest Questions for 2016

It may be a good thing – don’t get me wrong, having Bear Wilson back for 2016 would’ve been a tremendous coup for that team. But for the program as a whole, maybe it’s for the best. Here’s what I mean:

  1. You want to have 6′-5″, 215 pound receivers leave for the NFL after three years. Wilson came to MSU as a raw athlete who had measureables to play wide receiver. He’s leaving as one of the best in school history and is ready for the next level in the minimum amount of time required. That’s a good thing for the program.
  2. There are a number of reasons to point to 2017 as being the year for MSU to make a legit run at the SEC West. Wide Receiver really isn’t one of those reasons as we knew both Wilson and Ross would be gone by then. With Wilson leaving before the 2016 season it opens things up for Gray, Jackson, Jonnas Spivey, Keith Mixon, Malik Dear, Deddrick Thomas and any WR from the 2016 class a chance to get more experience.

Good luck to De’Runnya both in the NFL Draft and in the NFL. I’m sure you’ll do great.