Mississippi State football 2024 summer position confidence rankings

Entering the summer, which positions on the Mississippi State football roster are we most and least confident in?
Mississippi State Spring Football Game
Mississippi State Spring Football Game / Justin Ford/GettyImages

Mississippi State football is going to look very different in 2024, both in terms of style of play and the contributors on the field. Nearly every player that's likely to play a major role this fall will be one that Bulldog fans may not be overly familiar with.

The majority of starters on the offensive side of the ball will be transfers. There's more experience back on defense, but still, several transfers and players who've seen limited playing time thus far at State will lead the way.

With so much new to MSU in 2024, how do I feel about each position group on the team as we enter the summer? Here's my rank of the offensive and defensive positions on the roster, from most to least confident...

1. Wide Receiver

State took some big losses from the WR room, but Jeff Lebby and Chad Bumphis nailed the reload here with transfers Kelly Akharaiyi, Kevin Coleman, Trent Hudson set for big seasons and a trio of 4-star freshman who'll contribute immediately. Veteran Jordan Mosely looks primed for a breakout year, and the young but talented Creed Whittemore should take a step forward.

2. Quarterback

This might be bold, but the fact is State has a proven power conference starter at QB, which they can't say about many other positions. Blake Shapen was a good QB at Baylor, and he looked to be in full command of Lebby's offense in the spring. Things are more iffy behind him, but Chris Parson is talented and at least got some SEC experience last year.

3. Linebacker

It's crazy to still have LB this high after losing the incredible duo of Bookie Watson and Jett Johnson, but I still feel pretty good about this group. John Lewis should improve moving back to the inside, and Stone Blanton was a big addition to have alongside him. Donterry Russell will likely be the best pass rusher on the team, and Nic Mitchell and Branden Jennings looked good in the spring. There's good depth to this unit as well.

4. Offensive Line

This is another room that's been almost totally overhauled, but give Cody Kennedy credit; he did an outstanding job. Transfers LT Makylan Pounders and C Ethan Miner will anchor this unit, and two other talented transfers, guards Jacoby Jackson and Marlon Martinez, will also compete for starting roles. Albert Reese IV brings some versatility, and Leon Bell flashed last season. There are some questions about depth after the top group, however.

5. Defensive Line

There's a good mix of solid veterans and promising young pieces along the DL. DE De'Monte Russell is the leader of the group, and fellow end Deonte Anderson will be a major factor too. UNC transfer DT Kedrick Bingley-Jones got praise in the spring, and young interior lineman Trevion Williams and Kalvin Dinkins now get their chance to showcase their high ceilings. The question is if State can actually get more of a pass rush up front this fall.

6. Running Back

RB is a spot that I feel more confident in after the spring. Jeffery Pittman and JUCO-transfer Johnnie Daniels were both impressive in the spring game, and Keyvone Lee reportedly had a good spring as well. But the biggest boost is from Utah State transfer Davon Booth, an explosive rusher who thrived in this same offense last season for the Aggies. The lone question is whether or not a true bell cow exists in this room that MSU can lean on.

7. Tight End

Is MSU finally going to get good production from a TE? Seydou Traore is finally eligible after sitting out last season, and he looks like the first major receiving threat at the position State has seen in ages. Vandy transfer Justin Ball impressed in the spring game, and his younger brother Cam was highly-rated transfer. Still, until we actually see a Bulldog TE make an impact in the fall, I can't rank them too highly.

8. Safety

Here's what I can say for the safety room: you've at got some experienced pieces there with Corey Ellington and Jordan Morant and at least one truly high ceiling guy in Issac Smith. The issue is you don't have anyone that's proven to be a high-level SEC player to this point. Can the veterans step up and Smith play to his recruiting profile? Can a new face like Tyler Woodard become a star? I think the options here are at least serviceable, but I'm not certain this unit will shine.

9. Cornerback

The recent add of transfer Montre Miller makes me slightly better, but I don't have much confidence in the CB room as it stands currently. Traveon Wright looked solid in the spring game, but he was pretty much the only guy who did. Can Brice Pollock build off taking some lumps as a freshman? Hopefully. And perhaps Brylan Lanier's experience gives State a good option at nickel. But there's little proven with this group, and I'm not sure there are many high ceilings either.