Predicting Mississippi State football's offensive depth chart at the start of summer

As we roll into summer, who do we expect to start for Mississippi State football's offense this fall?
Mississippi State Spring Football Game
Mississippi State Spring Football Game / Justin Ford/GettyImages

Baseball season has painfully come to an end in Starkville, so now we turn our full attention to the next sport on the calendar - football. And Mississippi State football is less than three months away from taking the field for Jeff Lebby's debut season.

A new coaching staff and schemes have led to a new look roster, so to start our transition into football-mode, let's take a look at who is likely to be starting on this team come fall.

We'll begin with the Bulldog offense.

Predicting Mississippi State football's 2024 offensive depth chart

The offensive side of the ball is where fans will be watching the closest. Jeff Lebby has a reputation for scoring points, and he's overhauled this unit through the portal. So who do we expect to start, and who will be running behind them?


Starter: Blake Shapen (Sr., Baylor)

Backup: Chris Parson (So.)

There's no debate on who's starting here. Blake Shapen was brought in to be Jeff Lebby's guy, and he looked fully comfortable in the offense in the spring. Behind him, Chris Parson looked a good bit ahead of true freshman Michael Van Buren, so we'll pencil him in as the main backup.

Running Back

Starter: Davon Booth (Sr., Utah State)

Backups: Jeffery Pittman (Sr.), Keyvone Lee (Sr.)

This unit had some question marks exiting spring, but that seems to have been addressed with the addition of Utah State transfer Davon Booth. He's an explosive runner that fits this offense perfectly (he's literally played in it). After him, both Pittman and Lee can provide good carries. We'll likely see a frequent rotation here.

Outside Receiver

Starters: Kelly Akharaiyi (Sr., UTEP), Jordan Mosely (Jr.)

Backups: Trent Hudson (Sr., New Mexico State), Braylon Burnside (Fr.)

Jeff Lebby needs vertical threats for his offense, and he addressed that by adding Kelly Akharaiyi, who was one of the nation's best in that category at UTEP. Jordan Mosely ran opposite of him in the spring and looked strong. NMSU transfer Trent Hudson gives them a good redzone target, and true freshman and Starkville-native Braylon Burnside is too talented to keep off the field.

Slot Receiver

Starter: Kevin Coleman (Jr., Louisville)

Backups: Mario Craver (Fr.), Creed Whittemore (So.)

If you're looking for explosive pass catchers, look to the slot receivers. Both Kevin Coleman and Mario Craver lit it up in the spring game. You can expect Lebby to dial up shots to those two frequently in 2024. And we can't forget Creed Whittemore, who flashed real talent last season before missing the spring.

Tight End

Starter: Seydou Traore (Jr.)

Backup: Justin Ball (Sr., Vanderbilt)

This position group was nonexistent at State just two years ago. State badly missed Seydou Traore last season while he was ineligible, but he's poised to make a major impact now as a legit receiving threat at TE. Justin Ball has SEC experience and shined in the spring game. His younger brother Cam will likely see a role as well.


Starter: Ethan Miner (Sr., North Texas)

Backup: Canon Boone (Jr.)

The top transfer center in the country landed in Starkville. Ethan Miner followed his old OL coach Jon Cooper (now coaching TEs) from North Texas to MSU to anchor a new look OL. Behind him, Canon Boone was running second team in the spring.


Starters: Marlon Martinez (Sr., LSU), Albert Reese IV (Jr.)

Backups: Jacoby Jackson (Jr., Texas Tech), Grant Jackson (Sr.)

Marlon Martinez transfers in after seeing plenty of starts over multiple years at LSU. Albert Reese IV has largely been a tackle at State but seems to have settled in at guard. Don't count out Texas Tech transfer Jacoby Jackson from eventually earning a starting spot, however.


Starters: Makylan Pounders (Jr., Memphis), Leon Bell (Jr.)

Backups: Jimothy Lewis (Fr.), Amari Smith (RFr.)

At long last, Makylan Pounders has found his way back to his rightful home in Starkville. He'll be protecting Shapen's blindside this fall. Leon Bell played well last season for State and was running with the one's in the spring. The wildcard is 4-star freshman Jimothy Lewis. He's got plenty of talent and physical tools. How quickly can he get up to SEC speed?