Mississippi State Football lands explosive rusher through portal

The process of landing a transfer running back took longer than expected, but Mississippi State football finally has its guy.
Dec 23, 2023; Boise, ID, USA; Utah State Aggies running back Davon Booth (6) runs for gain during
Dec 23, 2023; Boise, ID, USA; Utah State Aggies running back Davon Booth (6) runs for gain during / Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Among the biggest needs for Mississippi State football to address through the spring transfer portal window was running back. The Bulldogs lost leading rusher Jo'Quavious Marks to the transfer portal after last season, and his likely replacement, Seth Davis, will at a minimum miss the majority of the 2024 season with injury.

The trio of Jeffery Pittman, Keyvone Lee, and JUCO-transfer Johnnie Daniels is solid, but none of that group have yet proven to be lead backs. State believed it had addressed its need at RB weeks ago with the commitment of Miami (OH)-transfer Rashad Amos. But Amos ultimately chose to flip his commitment to Colorado.

Oregon State-transfer Damien Martinez was high on MSU's radar, and they had made a good impression on him. But Martinez signed with the Canes of Miami. After seemingly being set at RB, State suddenly found itself needing to dip back into a portal with limited options available.

But the option they've now landed on is a good one.

Utah State-transfer Davon Booth commits to Mississippi State

Tuesday afternoon Utah State-transfer RB Davon Booth announced his commitment to Mississippi State on social media. The 5'10", 205 lb back led the Aggies with 805 yards and six TDs in 2023.

An explosive runner, Booth averaged 6.7 yards per rush last season. He had eight carries of at least 20 yards, including four of his six TDs. He'll add some serious burst to the Mississippi State backfield, which is a big plus in an offense that prioritizes running the ball straight-ahead as quickly as possible like Jeff Lebby's.

Prior to spending the 2023 season at Utah State, Davon Booth played two seasons at Cerritos College, a junior college in California. As a sophomore, he earned All-American honors after a 1400 yard rushing season.

Davon Booth will have plenty of familiarity with State's offense

Booth ending up at Mississippi State makes plenty of sense. For one, he already has a personal connection with Bulldog RBs coach Anthony Tucker, who recruited him to Utah State when he was the OC there. Tucker left USU before Booth arrived, but already having a relationship built played a huge role in him coming to State.

Secondly, the offense Booth played in at USU was quite literally influenced by Jeff Lebby. Prior to becoming USU's OC, Anthony Tucker worked alongside Jeff Lebby at UCF, where Lebby helped spread the offensive system he learned at Baylor. When Tucker was hired as USU's OC, he brought that offense with him, and it's what the Aggies have run since.

Davon Booth is a talented prospect who'd be a good fit for Lebby's offense regardless of whether or not he had prior experience. But it's certainly a bonus that's got familiarity within the system already. He should be in for a strong season at Mississippi State this fall.