The five most important offensive players for Mississippi State football in 2024

These are the offensive players Mississippi State football needs to play well in order to have a successful 2024.
Mississippi State Spring Football Game
Mississippi State Spring Football Game / Justin Ford/GettyImages

Jeff Lebby has gotten immediate results on offense at each stop of his coaching career, and the expectation is for that to continue at Mississippi State. But for that to happen, there's several players who'll need to show out this fall to make his first season a success.

Let's look at the five most important players for the Bulldog offense in 2024. These aren't necessarily the best players or clear leaders of the unit, but for State to reach its potential, they need to play well this fall.

Quarterback Blake Shapen

This is the most obvious answer for the entire team. Blake Shapen was brought in to lead MSU's new-look offense, and they can't be successful unless he quickly masters Lebby's scheme. This is especially true considering the Bulldogs will likely have to score a lot to be competitive in 2024.

Running Backs Jeffery Pittman and Keyvone Lee

With both Pittman and Lee included, we technically have six players listed here, but consider this an "either/or". Davon Booth will likely start at RB for State, but someone needs to compliment him. Jeff Lebby typically rotates RBs, and while Booth is explosive, he may not be best suited for short-yardage spots. Either Jeffery Pittman or Keyvone Lee need to become quality options for those scenarios to maximize MSU's rushing attack.

Wide Receiver Kevin Coleman

The key to making an offense like Jeff Lebby's really take off is having multiple WRs that can stretch the field. When that happens, defenses can't just overload coverage towards one player and limit the damage. We expect Kelly Akharaiyi to excel out wide. MSU needs Kevin Coleman to do the same out of the slot. If he can be just as big of a threat to win vertically as Akharaiyi, this passing game could be hard to stop.

Tight End Seydou Traore

There are few positions that can be more valuable to an offense than a TE that's a legitimate receiving threat. State has rarely had that in its history, but that's what Seydou Traore provides. He's can play attached to the line to help in the run game, be a matchup nightmare over the middle, or be a jump ball threat out wide. He'll open up a ton for the Bulldog offense.

Tackle Makylan Pounders

A one-time MSU commit and former Memphis Tiger, Makylan Pounders has made his way to where he originally wanted to be in Starkville, and now he's tasked with protecting Blake Shapen's blindside. And outside of Shapen, Pounders may be more responsible for State's success than any other player given the importance of the left tackle position. Whether or not Shapen will have time to take the shots down field this offense calls for hinges on Pounders' ability to win against the SEC's elite pass-rushers.