Mississippi State Football: Wide Receiver Room Boasts Major Potential

With a great freshman class and impact transfers coming in, the Mississippi State football wide receiver room could be dangerous in 2024.
Sep 2, 2023; Starkville, Mississippi, USA;Mississippi State Bulldogs wide receiver Creed Whittemore
Sep 2, 2023; Starkville, Mississippi, USA;Mississippi State Bulldogs wide receiver Creed Whittemore / Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi State's 2024 Maroon and White Spring Game is less than two weeks away, and we're breaking down each position group on the Mississippi State football roster in preparation. It's a brand new team in Starkville during Jeff Lebby's first spring as head coach, so there's plenty to learn about in spring practices.

We last looked at the Bulldog running backs and whether or not a bell-cow already exists in that group. Today, we're looking at the wide receiver room, and it's a group State fans should be very excited for.

State added impact transfers at wide receiver

Mississippi State lost its top two receivers from last season in Tulu Griffin and Zavion Thomas, and though solid options return on the roster, there was little returning production from 2023. So, Jeff Lebby hit the transfer portal, and he brought in a pair of wideouts that should make major impacts in 2024.

Kelly Akharaiyi comes in from UTEP. Last season he had 1033 yards and seven TDs for the Miners on 21.5 yards per catch, the fourth best yards per catch in the nation. He's the definition of a deep-threat, and that's something State had to add to the roster to make a Lebby offense predicated on taking shots work.

Former Louisville and Jackson State WR Kevin Coleman also joins. Coleman is a slot receiver who had 362 yards and two TDs for the Cardinals in 2023. In 2022, he earned SWAC Freshman of the Year honors at Jackson State. He's a dangerous player in the open field who's also fantastic as a kick returner.

Solid group of veterans return for Mississippi State

Though there wasn't much production returning in the wide receiver room from 2023, there are still quality players in that group of returnees. Former Georgia-transfer Justin Robinson has flashed major potential in his two seasons in Starkville. He's a prototypical outside receiver with the frame to be the team's best redzone target.

Creed Whittemore is a great athlete out of the slot who showed what he was capable of early in his true freshman campaign. Not to just blindly compare one white, slot receiver to another, but if you watched how Jeff Lebby used Drake Stoops at Oklahoma, there's reason to be excited for Whittemore's role in the offense.

Former Northwestern-transfer Jordan Mosely has been named as a guy that's impressed in practices for a few years now and is reportedly running with the 1s in spring. Is this the year he finally breaks out? And we can't forget about Jaden Walley who just a few years ago looked like he could become State's next great pass-catcher.

MSU's freshman wideouts will factor in early

If you're looking for true freshman that will make impacts in 2024, look to the WR room. Lebby and WR coach Chad Bumphis signed what is likely the best WR class in program history going into this year. Three 4-stars, Braylon "Stonka" Burnside, JJ Harrell, and Mario Craver, and a high 3-star in Sanfrisco Magee will all have a chance to shine as freshmen.

Craver possess elite speed, a trait that's massive for this offense, and reports are that Burnside is already turning heads in spring practices. This group will be the focal point of the Bulldog offense within the next few years, but even in 2024, expect to see the freshman WRs play a lot and play well.

Mississippi State's wide receivers could be special in 2024

It's funny how after years of wide receiver talent being a major question for MSU football, we're now on a run of having talented receiver rooms in Starkville. You can thank Mike Leach for starting the trend, and Jeff Lebby is keeping it going.

This is a group worth being excited for. There's a great mix of high-floor veterans and young guys with insane potential. There's also a great mix of different types of players between guys who can stretch the field vertically, redzone targets, and guys who can win in space.

You need strong WR talent to make Jeff Lebby's offense go, and it looks like Mississippi State has it. This is the group I'm most excited to watch in the spring game.