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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Mississippi State
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  Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach said throughout this season he hasn't been pleased with the play of his receivers. He compared them to dinosaurs for failing to use their hands and he took away their chairs for not being engaged on the sideline. It was apparent wide receiver would be a position MSU attacked in the transfer portal in hopes of finding a potential No. 1 guy. It'll definitely have to be a priority now. Sophomore receiver Rara Thomas has entered the transfer portal, he announced via social media on Friday.

Thomas is a native of Eufaula, Alabama. He didn't start playing football until his junior year at Eufaula High School, so he was a raw talent coming to Starkville. However, it didn't stop him from having a breakout season as a freshman last year. Thomas collected 18 receptions for 252 yards with five touchdowns in 2021. He had a three-game stretch in SEC play where he caught four touchdown passes. This season, he was inconsistent, but the highs were thrilling. He caught 44 catches for 626 yards with seven touchdowns. Among his highlights: A 75-yard touchdown against Texas A&M and a Randy Moss-like touchdown over a defender at LSU. - The Clarion Ledger


So/2025 WR Rara ThomasMississippi State
News Source: The Clarion Ledger
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  It has been a successful end to the season for Mississippi State football defensive coordinator Zach Arnett. It started last week when Arnett's unit held Ole Miss to a season-low 78 rushing yards en route to a 24-22 Egg Bowl win. It has extended into this week with linebacker Nathaniel Watson and defensive linemen Jaden Crumedy, Nathan Pickering and Jordan Davis announcing they're returning next season for their final years of eligibility.

Linebacker Jett Johnson joined the mix by announcing Friday his intent to return as well. He has one season left due to the extra COVID-19 season granted to athletes by the NCAA. The Tupelo native led Mississippi State in tackles (86) last season and was second behind Watson this season with 103. Johnson had seven tackles for loss, three quarterback hurries and two fumble recoveries this season. Johnson joined Mississippi State in 2018 out of Tupelo High School. He redshirted his freshman season and appeared in five games over the next two years. - The Clarion Ledger


rSr/2024 ILB Jett JohnsonMississippi State
News Source: The Clarion Ledger
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  Mississippi State football defensive back Emmanuel Forbes is foregoing his senior season and has declared for the 2023 NFL Draft, he announced via social media Thursday night. "Deciding to play for Mississippi State has been one of the best decisions I have ever made," Forbes wrote. "I have grown off the field just as much as I have developed on it." Forbes did not announce anything regarding his status for MSU's bowl game. Forbes' six interceptions this season are tied for the most in the nation. He returned three of those for touchdowns. Of his 14 career interceptions, six have been returned for touchdowns - an FBS record.

Forbes is a native of Grenada and attended Grenada High School, where he was a four-star prospect, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. This marks the second straight season MSU has had a corner forego his senior season for the NFL. Last season, Martin Emerson did so and was taken in the third round of the NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. Forbes' decision comes amidst a successful week for MSU's defense. Linebacker Nathaniel Watson and defensive linemen Jaden Crumedy, Nathan Pickering and Jordan Davis announced they'll return next season for their final seasons of eligibility. - The Clarion Ledger


Jr/2023 CB Emmanuel ForbesMississippi State
News Source: The Clarion Ledger
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  Mississippi State linebacker Nathaniel Watson and defensive linemen Jaden Crumedy, Jordan Davis and Nathan Pickering announced their intent to return next season for their final seasons of eligibility. The offense joined the fun Thursday. Offensive lineman Kameron Jones is returning next season to use his extra COVID-19 season granted by the NCAA. Jones started 12 games for Mississippi State at right tackle this season, though he only played 12 snaps in the Egg Bowl before leaving with a foot/leg injury. That came after starting at left guard last season. - The Dispatch

rJr/2024 OT Kameron JonesMississippi State
News Source: The Dispatch
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  It took just three words for Mississippi State football fans and defensive coordinator Zach Arnett to hear what they wanted regarding the status of redshirt senior linebacker Nathaniel Watson for next season. "Run it back," Watson tweeted in a graphic featuring him holding the Golden Egg Trophy. Watson, who redshirted his freshman season in 2018, is returning to use the final year of eligibility he has left after the extra COVID-19 season granted to athletes by the NCAA. Watson, a native of Maplesville, Alabama, led Mississippi State with 108 tackles in 12 games this season, helping lead the Bulldogs to an 8-4 record and the No. 6 total defense in the SEC. He also leads the SEC in tackles. - The Clarion Ledger

rSr/2024 ILB Nathaniel WatsonMississippi State
News Source: The Clarion Ledger
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  The Mississippi State Bulldogs football program was dealt some sad news on Thursday night, but it was certainly expected. The Bulldogs star defensive back, Emmanuel Forbes, Jr. officially announced his plans to skip his senior season and enter the 2023 NFL Draft on his Twitter page. "Deciding to play for Mississippi State has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have grown off the field just as much as I have developed on it. I've had the opportunity to play for some of the best coaches anybody can ask for. After talking with my family and coaches, I'm excited to announce I will be forgoing my senior year and entering the 2023 NFL Draft. Hail Damn State! Emmanuel Forbes, Jr." - Forbes' Twitter

Jr/2023 CB Emmanuel ForbesMississippi State
News Source: Forbes' Twitter
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  NOV 28 SEC OFFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE WEEK: LaQuinston Sharp, C, Mississippi State,...Started and played 79 snaps in State's victory over No. 20 Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl...Posted the highest pass blocking grade (82.3) of any SEC center, according to PFF...Did not allow a single sack or hit on the quarterback. - SEC Football

rSr/2023 C LaQuinston SharpMississippi State
News Source: SEC Football
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  Will Rogers passed for two touchdowns and Mississippi State stopped a potential game-tying 2-point conversion with 1:25 remaining to preserve a 24-22 Egg Bowl win over No. 20 Mississippi on Thursday night. Mississippi State (8-4, 4-4 SEC), which snapped a two-game losing streak in the series, rallied from a 16-7 deficit in the second quarter with a 10-point outburst in the fourth quarter. Massimo Biscardi hit a go-ahead 34-yard field goal before Rogers connected on a 22-yard touchdown pass to Rara Thomas to build the 24-16 lead with 7:58 remaining. Ole Miss (8-4, 4-4 SEC) answered when Jaxson Dart threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Dayton Wade with 1:25 left, capping a 99-yard drive and closing within 24-22.

After two Ole Miss timeouts to set up the two-point try, Mississippi State defensive tackle Randy Charlton batted down a shuttle pass from Dart to preserve Mississippi State's the advantage. J.P. Purvis recovered the ensuring onside kick to seal it, setting off a postgame celebration undimmed by steady rain. Rogers finished 27 of 39 passing for 239 yards, including converting 8 of 16 on third down. The Bulldogs limited Ole Miss to season-lows offensively, 331 total yards, including 74 rushing. The build up to the Egg Bowl was dominated by conflicting reports whether Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin will leave to become head coach at Auburn, replacing Bryan Harsin, who was fired in October. Kiffin met privately with his team Wednesday confirming his plans to remain. However, WCBI-TV of Columbus, Mississippi, reported Kiffin will be announced as the Auburn head coach as soon as Friday. Kiffin denied the report on social media Wednesday. - Mississippi State/AP College Football


Jr/2024 QB Will RogersMississippi State
News Source: Mississippi State/AP College Football
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  Will Rogers threw for 301 yards and five touchdowns as Mississippi State rolled over East Tennessee State, 56-7 on Saturday afternoon. Rogers is now No. 9 in Southeastern Conference history with 10,189 yards, moving past Ole Miss' Eli Manning heading into the Bulldogs' Thanksgiving Day showdown with the Rebels in Oxford. It was also a milestone moment for Emmanuel Forbes, who snared a carom off East Tennessee State receiver Cameron Lewis and returned it 79 yards for a second quarter touchdown - his sixth career pick-six to set both an SEC and FBS record. The junior tied the Mississippi State record for most interceptions in a season with six and his 14 interceptions are now two away from tying the career record.

Forbes and the defense didn't give up a point to the Buccaneers' offense. ETSU (3-8) had just 154 yards with 43 of those coming through the air. It was 2 of 13 on 3rd downs and turned the ball over three times. Quarterback Tyler Riddell was 5 of 11 for 47 yards and two interceptions. The Bulldogs (7-4) had 418 yards and 342 of those were through the air. Rogers went 30 of 37 for 301 yards and five touchdowns. Justin Robinson had five catches for 62 yards and a touchdown and Tulu Griffin had four catches for 53 yards and two scores. Jo'Quavious Marks had five carries for 58 yards and a touchdown run. - Mississippi State/AP College Football


Jr/2023 CB Emmanuel ForbesMississippi State
News Source: Mississippi State/AP College Football
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  NOV 7 SEC CO-SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Lideatrick Griffin, KR, Mississippi State,...Returned a kickoff of 92 yards for a touchdown, his second career kickoff returned for a touchdown...Tied the school record for career kick return touchdowns...Finished with three returns for 144 yards for a school-record fifth career game of 100-plus kickoff return yards...Now averaging 33.8 yards per return in his career, which is 7.1 yards better than the school record (minimum 30 attempts)...Also hauled in a career-long 57-yard reception (52 yards after catch)...Produced a career-high 199 all-purpose yards. - SEC Football

Jr/2024 WR Lideatrick GriffinMississippi State
News Source: SEC Football
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  A year ago, Auburn had a 28-3 lead in the first half against Mississippi State only to see the Bulldogs make a stunning comeback. Saturday's rematch was playing out the same way in reverse. Mississippi State built a 24-3 lead in the first half but the Bulldog offense stalled for about two and a half quarters and Auburn had two different leads in the final 5 minutes. Ultimately, the Bulldogs sent the game to overtime on a Massimo Biscardi 44-yard field goal and a 6-yard Jo'Quavious Marks touchdown run walked off the win, 39-33. "It was good at the end and good at the beginning. The defense, I thought, kept us in it," Mike Leach said. "Wins are hard no matter who you are and sometimes there are games like that. The toughest teams stick through it, battles and wins." The Bulldogs (6-3, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) blew a 24-3 lead and watched as the Tigers (3-6, 1-5) outscored them 27-9 in the second half.

But Mississippi State wound up handing Auburn its fifth consecutive loss, this time under interim coach and former Tigers running back Carnell Williams. The Tigers fired coach Bryan Harsin on Monday, the same day that MSU athletic director John Cohen left his alma mater to run Auburn's department. "I tip my hat to Mississippi State. Wow, what a game. Those kids fought hard," Williams said. "You're not going to win them all, but I'm so proud of my guys. There are so many life lessons that these kids are going to learn." Auburn's Anders Carlson pushed a 38-yard field goal attempt wide right to start overtime. Then the Bulldogs capitalized on freshman J.D. Rhym's pass interference on a deep ball to set up Marks' winning score. Will Rogers broke Dak Prescott's Bulldogs career passing yards and touchdowns records in the first quarter. But the Bulldogs' offense was stuck in neutral for most of the rest of the ball game - until it mattered most. State built a 24-3 lead in the first half only to see the Tigers work their way back into the game in the third quarter with 13 points thanks to a dropped snap on a punt and an interception from Rogers that closed the gap to 24-19. - Mississippi State/AP College Football


Jr/2024 RB JoQuavious MarksMississippi State
News Source: Mississippi State/AP College Football
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  OCT 10 SEC CO-OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Will Rogers, QB, Mississippi State,...Threw for 395 yards with 31 completions and three touchdowns to help lead State to a dominant win over No. 25 Arkansas...Broke the SEC career record with 946 completions in just 28 career games (Previously held by Aaron Murray, who had 921 completions in 52 career games)...Posted the highest passing grade among SEC quarterbacks according to PFF (81.7)..Had no turnovers for the third straight week...It marked the fifth time in six games this season he has passed for more than 300 yards...Ranks 1st nationally in passing yards (351.7) and completions per game (33.6)...Leads the SEC in passing yards, passing touchdowns, completions and completion percentage. - SEC Football

Jr/2024 QB Will RogersMississippi State
News Source: SEC Football
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  Will Rogers threw for three touchdowns and broke the Southeastern Conference record for career completions, Dillon Johnson rushed for 100 yards and two scores, and No. 23 Mississippi State beat Arkansas 40-17 on Saturday. Rogers was 31-of-48 passing for 395 yards and notched the record in the first quarter with the 922nd completion of his career, eclipsing the mark set by Georgia’s Aaron Murray in 52 games, Rogers has played in 28 games. Rogers connected with Caleb Ducking, Austin Williams and Jaden Walley, and the Bulldogs (5-1, 2-1 SEC) rushed for over 100 yards for the second straight week for the first time in the Mike Leach era. Johnson is the first player under Leach in Starkville to hit the century mark.

Arkansas played without starting quarterback KJ Jefferson, who was dealing with an unspecified injury. Malik Hornsby was 8-of-17 passing for 234 yards in Jefferson’s absence, with one touchdown and two interceptions. He also rushed for 114 yards on eight carries. MSU scored the first 14 points, but the Razorbacks (3-3, 1-3) hung aroound, trailing just 21-10 at the half thanks to a missed field goal and turnover on downs by Mississippi State’s offense late in the second quarter. MSU put the game away in the fourth quarter with back-to-back interceptions from Jackie Matthews and Emmanuel Forbes. The Razorbacks had 483 yards of offense but surrendered 568 to the Bulldogs. - Mississippi/AP College Football


Jr/2024 QB Will RogersMississippi State
News Source: Mississippi/AP College Football
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  OCT 3 SEC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Emmanuel Forbes, DB, Mississippi State,...Had two interceptions, including one that was returned 33 yards for a touchdown, in State's win over No. 17-ranked Texas A&M...Broke the school record with his fourth career interception returned for a touchdown...Is now tied as the FBS' active career leader in interceptions returned for touchdowns...Leads the FBS since 2020 with 11 interceptions and is the SEC's active career leader in interceptions...It marked his second career multiple interception game Blocked a field goal attempt that was returned for a touchdown. - SEC Football

Jr/2023 CB Emmanuel ForbesMississippi State
News Source: SEC Football
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  Mississippi State forced No. 17 Texas A&M into four turnovers, including three inside the red zone, and the Bulldogs took advantage in a 42-24 victory on Saturday. Decamerion Richardson scooped up Emmanuel Forbes' critical third-quarter blocked field goal and returned it 50 yards for the touchdown to give the Bulldogs a 21-3 lead. The Aggies (3-2, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) got no closer to 11 as MSU's defense denied A&M inside the 20 all game long with big plays inside its 20. The first came early in the second quarter when Devon Achane fumbled on the 6. MSU responded with a 94-yard, 11-play drive ending with Will Rogers' 5-yard touchdown pass to Rufus Harvey.

Leading 14-0 just before halftime, the Bulldogs defense came through again as Nathaniel Watson forced Aggies quarterback Max Johnson to fumble inside the red zone. Forbes' blocked field goal in the third quarter put an exclamation point on the game for MSU and their first SEC West win. The Bulldogs (4-1, 1-1) had another efficient day offensively with 473 yards, 329 of those from Rogers on 31-of-45 passing with three touchdowns. RaRa Thomas had five catches for 134 yards and a score and MSU rushed for 144 yards on 24 carries. Meanwhile, the Aggies were frustrated on offense. Johnson was 18 of 25 for 201 yards and a touchdown before leaving in the fourth quarter with a hand injury. MSU sacked Johnson four times and posted six tackles for loss, led by 1.5 sacks by backup linebacker JP Purvis. Forbes then made two interceptions late in the fourth quarter and capped the game with a pick-six. - Mississippi State/AP College Football


Jr/2023 CB Emmanuel ForbesMississippi State
News Source: Mississippi State/AP College Football
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