Mississippi State Football: Potential impact players, Super Bulldog Weekend Edition

Dec 31, 2020; Fort Worth, TX, USA; The Mississippi State Bulldogs celebrate the win over the the Tulsa Golden Hurricane after the game at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 31, 2020; Fort Worth, TX, USA; The Mississippi State Bulldogs celebrate the win over the the Tulsa Golden Hurricane after the game at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

Mississippi State Football ended its first season under Mike Leach with a bowl win and a very unforgettable brawl. Mississippi State fans and players endured a year of change like no other. Eventually, with change, the goal is for stability to arrive swiftly.

Mississippi State recruited well and added some talented players to the roster via the transfer portal. Some programs are still dealing with defections from their roster and signing class, but not Mississippi State. It has been a relatively quiet spring football season. All of the hard work will culminate in the annual Super Bulldog Weekend extravaganza in Starkville.

We are finally here for the first-ever Super Bulldog Weekend sailing under Mike Leach’s leadership. Take a gander at a few potential impact players to watch in the spring football game and also the team rosters for the Maroon and White.


Offensive Players to Watch

Mississippi State returns several players that contributed to the offensive culture change in Mike Leach’s first season. Will Rogers set several freshman records as he replaced KJ Costello. Every good football team has to have a decent backup quarterback, and Mississippi State has a seasoned one in Jack Abraham. He is my first player to watch.

Abraham is a very accurate passer, and that is something Mike Leach looks for in his quarterbacks. In three seasons at USM, Abraham completed 69.3% of his passes for 7067 yards, 41 touchdowns, and 29 interceptions. Mississippi State fans know from our experience last year how important the backup quarterback position is.

Mississippi State has no shortage of talented skill positions returning. The jury is still out on how often Mike Leach will run the ball this season. There is no question on who the top running backs will be this season, and it will be the Marks and Johnson show.

The Bulldogs also bring back top pass catchers Jaden Walley, Malik Heath, and Austin Williams. Bulldog fans know what to expect from that group. Tulu Griffin provided a sneak peek at what he brings to the table late in the season against Auburn and Tulsa. He is my 2nd offensive player to watch.

Griffin is a ball of excitement with the ball in his hands and should become an effective weapon in the Air Raid. Rufus Harvey is my second player to watch.

Harvey redshirted last season, but you will see why he is on my list if you look at the stats from the last scrimmage. Harvey is similar to Griffin in his build and will be counted on this season to provide depth and create mismatches with his speed. Another wideout to pay attention to is Cal transfer Makai Polk who will provide another big framed target for Rogers to throw to.

I could not finish the offensive list without adding an offensive lineman. There is one lineman I feel we need to watch, and that is Scott Lashley.

Lashley returns from an injury and settles in at the starting right tackle position. Lashley needs to assert himself after languishing on the bench at Alabama to have a successful final season of college football.


Defensive Players to Watch

Mississippi State’s defense under Zach Arnett willed Mississippi State to several wins and kept them in several others last season. Gone are the likes of Erroll Thompson, Kobie Jones, and Marquis Spencer. There are plenty of familiar faces and some new players that will keep the standard of bullish defenses that Mississippi State is known for.

The first defensive player to watch is Central Florida transfer Randy Charlton. Charlton has made his presence felt early and so far has claimed one of the starting defensive end positions opposite Jordan Davis.

I expect Charlton to be a disruptive pass-rushing force this season and should roll up double-digit sacks. Aaron Odom is also a player to watch in the defensive line rotation. Odom started for an injured Marquis Spencer against Tulsa and garnered two sacks.

While Aaron “Creme” Brule will be the best backer on the field for Mississippi State, Nathaniel Watson is the linebacker to watch this season as he steps into the starting middle linebacker position with huge shoes to fill. Watson showed that he had the ability to make plays last season. Now all eyes will be on him to make the defensive calls and lead the defense.

A surprise name that showed flashes last year is OLB/DE Sherman Timbs. Timbs is a Mississippi State legacy that played a lot last year. Most fans were probably wondering who this Timbs guy was. Timbs will not wow you, but he will stick his nose in there and battle and those are the types of defenders you want on your team. Watch Timbs talk about his position change here.

There is a ton of youthful experience combined with seasoned veterans in the secondary. The corners will be Forbes and Emerson. Furdge played a good bit last season before being replaced by the aforementioned Forbes. Fred Peters and CJ Morgan are the veterans returning for one final tour of duty from injury.

Colin Duncan, Londyn Craft, and Shawn Preston Jr. also return at safety. The one player in the secondary I feel we need to watch is Texas transfer Jalen Green. Green has the ability to play corner and safety, and he is currently behind Duncan at free safety.

That’s it for my players to watch spring preview. If you are going to the game this weekend, please tag Maroon and White Nation in any pictures or videos you capture. If you can’t make it to Starkville, tune in to the spring game at 11:00 AM CST on SECNetwork+.