Five Players to Watch in Mississippi State Football's Spring Game

With the 2024 Maroon and White Spring Game taking place on Saturday, here are five Mississippi State football players to watch.
Oct 28, 2023; Waco, Texas, USA;  Baylor Bears quarterback Blake Shapen (12) looks to pass against
Oct 28, 2023; Waco, Texas, USA; Baylor Bears quarterback Blake Shapen (12) looks to pass against / Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The 2024 Maroon and White Spring Game takes place on Saturday as Mississippi State football wraps-up its first spring under new head coach Jeff Lebby. This is a new look Bulldog program in many ways, making this a spring game worth tuning in for.

Let's look at some of the most intriguing players to watch in MSU's spring game.

1. Quarterback Blake Shapen

Jeff Lebby had to reload MSU through the transfer portal to make sure he could get his offense up and running in his first year. He brought in former Baylor quarterback Blake Shapen to be his signal-caller.

Shapen was a successful starter in the Big 12 and possesses all the physical traits needed to run this offense. He's easily the most experienced passer on the roster. But he's never played in an offense like Lebby's. How has he acclimated to the change, and has he separated himself from the other QBs?

2. Wide Receiver Braylon Burnside

Shapen needs weapons to throw too, and State signed an incredible class of wide receivers to help that cause. Among the group is Starkville's own Braylon Burnside, and how he's featured on Saturday will be closely monitored.

Burnside is naturally a wide receiver, but interestingly, he's been getting some work at running back in the spring. The staff thinks he's a good enough athlete to play multiple roles, and they're looking for any way to get him on the field. Expect to see Burnside used in a variety of ways.

3. Tight End Seydou Traore

It's been a while since we went into the spring interested in seeing the tight end. They weren't on the roster during the Air Raid years, and last year's spring TE options were converted linemen and walk-ons. But now State has loaded up at the position.

The leader in that room is former Arkansas State leading receiver Seydou Traore who's built and plays more like a big X-receiver than your typical TE. He presents a major matchup problem for defenses and could be a game-changer for MSU.

4. Linebacker John Lewis

State has a lot of questions on the defensive side of the ball. They're aren't many proven players on the roster. But there are some guys who we know are talented and have the potential to be big-time players in the SEC.

One of those guys is linebacker John Lewis. Lewis was a coveted recruit for State, and the hard-hitting backer is moving from a stand-up edge rusher role in the previous defense to inside LB in State's new 3-4 scheme that should suit him better. Someone has to help make up for Bookie Watson and Jett Johnson's lost production. Will Lewis?

5. Cornerback Kelley Jones

Corner might be the biggest question for Mississippi State football in 2024. There's not a lot of experience, and there are some concerns about the talent in the room. But one player stands out as particularly intriguing.

Redshirt freshman Kelley Jones doesn't look like a CB. He's 6'4", 195 pounds. That frame more resembles a wideout. But it's for that exact reason he's an exciting prospect at corner. If he can successfully cover out wide at that size, he'll be hard to throw at. Coaches love his potential, and he'll be fun to watch in the spring game.