Sunday was a successful day for Mississippi State Football on the recruiting front.
Who did the Mississippi State football team land from the transfer portal, and what will they add to the roster?
Mississippi State picked up a big pair of commitments from the transfer portal on Sunday. Former Eastern Washington WR Freddie Roberson announced his pledge to the Bulldogs following his visit to Starkville this weekend.
The 2-time All-Big Sky receiver from Seattle has totaled 93 catches for 1,552 yards and 13 TDs over the past two seasons. Roberson, who measures out at 6’2, 195, was considered one of the best available WRs in the transfer portal. MSU beat out Washington State, BYU, and Fresno State for Roberson.
Shortly after Roberson made his commitment official, Mississippi State Football picked up another key transfer with former Vanderbilt quarterback, Mike Wright, announcing for the Bulldogs.
Wright, a 6’4, 195 dual-threat QB from Fayetteville, Ga, started 11 games for the Commodores during his 3 seasons in Nashville. For his career, Wright has completed 55.3% of his passes for 2,067 yards with 21 TDs and 11 INTs to go along with 908 rushing yards and 7 TDs. This past season, he led Vanderbilt to big upsets over Kentucky and Florida, giving the ‘Dores their first SEC victories since 2019. Wright was also pursued by Boston College.
Roberson and Wright mark the 6th and 7th commitments for the Bulldogs, respectively, via the transfer portal. Previous additions have been DB Ray’darius Jones from LSU, CB Khamauri Rogers from Miami, S Christopher Keys from Indiana, S Ja’Kobi Albert from Kentucky, and K Nicholas Barr-Mira from UCLA.
What is Mississippi State Football getting from Roberson and Wright?
These additions were crucial for Mississippi State heading into the 2023 season. The Bulldogs lost 3 starting WRs from the 2022 team with Rara Thomas transferring to Georgia and Caleb Ducking and Austin Williams graduating. While WR depth going forward isn’t quite as crucial as it was with the Air Raid, that’s still a lot of production being lost at the position. Roberson is a player who can come in and compete for a starting role right away and potentially be a major piece for the offense in 2023.
Addressing QB depth was also a necessity for MSU. The Bulldogs saw 3 big transfers out of the program at the position between Sawyer Robertson, Braedyn Locke, and Daniel Greek. This left just senior starter Will Rogers and true freshman Chris Parson as the only scholarship QBs remaining on the roster. Ideally, MSU would like to redshirt Parson, meaning the only backup options for Rogers would be walk-ons. Wright coming in adds a veteran backup with starting SEC experience. Also, his running ability could mean he sees snaps as a wildcat QB to provide an occasional QB run threat in Kevin Barbay’s offense.
What’s next for Mississippi State Football with the portal?
While the Bulldogs have been loading up in the portal, it doesn’t appear that they are done bringing in new talent to the roster. With the change in offensive philosophy, adding TEs to the roster is a must, as they currently have none. State looks to have zeroed in on a target at the position in Georgia transfer Ryland Goede. The former 4-star out of Kennesaw is in search of a new home after struggling to find playing time in Georgia’s loaded TE room, and MSU is clearly on his radar.
Hopefully, new TEs coach Mike Schmidt can get Goede in the boat, and ideally, State can then find another option at TE to bring in and add some depth to the position.
There has also been heavy speculation that former Bulldog RB Dillon Johnson could remove his name from the transfer portal and return to MSU. Johnson entered the portal in explosive fashion in early December with a controversial transfer announcement in which he vocalized his frustrations with then-HC Mike Leach. Johnson has since deleted said announcement and expressed support for Leach with his passing. Johnson, who totaled over 2,000 yards of offense and 12 TDs during his 3 seasons in Starkville, initially announced a transfer commitment to Washington on January 3 but did not enroll. All reports are that he is being heavily “recruited” by Zach Arnett and his staff to return to the Bulldogs and was in Starkville this weekend.
If Johnson were to return, he would become the third Bulldog to return to MSU after entering the portal this cycle, joining WRs Zavion Thomas and Tulu Griffin. His skill set as a physical, hard-to-bring-down runner adds a key element to the MSU backfield.
Getting Dillon Johnson back would be yet another huge win for Zach Arnett out of the portal. Regardless, Mississippi State looks to be in a position to reload its roster going into a pivotal 2023 season.