Another day, another All-Mullen Team selection! Who is the third receiver to make the team? One of the greatest wideouts in Mississippi State history.
Mississippi State’s offense has improved in many areas under Dan Mullen. From the quarterbacks to the receivers, Mullen has done a great job of developing talent during his time in Starkville.
Who makes up the fifth spot?
Fred Ross (2013-2016)
Fred Ross was one of the bigger surprises of the 2013 recruiting cycle. The Tyler, Texas, native was considered one of the elite wide receiver prospects in the nation. Ross had been committed to Oklahoma State for nearly a full year before he visited Starkville for the first time. The visit obviously made a lasting impression.
On the eve of signing day, Mississippi State fans received some great news while sweating out Chris Jones’ final decision. Ross flipped to the Bulldogs the day before National Signing Day, giving Mullen and staff a bonafide prospect from one of the most talented regions in America.
Ross entered Mississippi State’s wide receiver room with fellow 2013 signee (and MWN All-Mullen Team member) De’Runnya Wilson. Ross appeared in 11 games for the Bulldogs during his first season in Starkville. He didn’t put up gaudy numbers, but he showed the staff he is talented enough to see the field straight out of high school. He finished his debut season with nine catches for 115 yards.
As a sophomore, though, Ross showed his talent. With Dak Prescott fully entrenched as the starting quarterback for the 2014 season and beyond, Ross flourished. Wilson was Dak’s go-to guy, but the Texas native developed a connection with the star quarterback.
Ross totaled 30 catches for 489 yards and five touchdowns in his second season wearing the Maroon and White. Although he wasn’t Dak’s primary target in season two, the pair still hooked up for big plays. Ross averaged more than 16 yards per catch in the 2014 campaign.
Ross’ two biggest moments of his sophomore season came in touchdowns in big moments.
In a tight game against Arkansas as the number one team in college football, Mississippi State desperately needed a big play. The Razorbacks attempted to play their style of football to limit Dak’s opportunities, so the Bulldogs couldn’t let chances slip. In a broken play because of Dak’s ability to extend plays, the Arkansas defense lost track of Fred Ross. The result? A touchdown that put the number one team in the land up for good.
In the Orange Bowl, Fred Ross again came down with a huge touchdown in a big moment. The Yellow Jackets had all the momentum, so the Bulldogs needed a play to give them boost heading into the break. Dak dialed up a Hail Marry and it was none other than The Boss who came down with the football.
The game didn’t go as planned, but Fred Ross made a big-time play in a big-time moment. That was a theme of his throughout his illustrious career in Starkville.
Fred Ross took his development to an entirely different level in his junior season. Ross put together a huge season in Dak’s final fall as the man in Starkville. The two connected 88 times for 1,007 yards and five touchdowns in 2015. With Ross in the slot, Dak quickly developed a new favorite target during his senior season. Ross had the ability to line up all over the line of scrimmage, giving headaches to defensive staffs every Saturday. He was selected to the All-SEC first team by both the media and the coaches.
The highlight of Ross’ junior season was his incredible one-handed catch against Arkansas. He had a thing for making big plays against the Razorbacks.
The catch was so incredible that ESPN’s Sport Science dove in to find out how exactly Ross brought down the ball, eluded the defender, and ran in for six.
The Boss continued to excel after Dak’s departure to the NFL. With Nick Fitzgerald calling the shots, Ross was the clear number one option for the Bulldogs. Ross caught 72 passes for 917 yards and 12 touchdowns. His twelve scores topped the entire conference and his 72 grabs ranked second in the SEC. Again, the Texas native was named a first-team All-SEC selection for the second consecutive season — the first Bulldog wideout to ever accomplish that feat.
Fred ‘The Boss’ Ross rewrote the records books during his stellar four-year career in Starkville. His 199 receptions and 2,528 receiving yards both rank number one in Mississippi State history. Ross’ 12 touchdowns during his senior season and his 22 career scores both rank second in the record books.
Needless to say, Fred Ross left Mississippi State as one of the greatest wide receivers to ever rep the Maroon and White.
Note: all stats gathered from hailstate.com and sports-reference.com.