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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Mississippi State
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  SEPT 13 SEC OFFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE WEEK: Charles Cross, Mississippi State,...Cross played 65 offensive snaps, including 51 in pass protection at left tackle...Led MSU's offensive line with a 73.6 overall grade from PFF. His 88.8 pass-blocking grade also led the team and ranked third in the SEC on the week...He did not allow a single pressure in the Bulldogs' win over Power 5 opponent NC State. - SEC Football

(DS#1 OT) rSo/2024 OT Charles CrossMississippi State
News Source: SEC Football
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  Last week, Lideatrick Griffin's 70-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter sparked a 20-point comeback for Mississippi State in an eventual win over Louisiana Tech. On Saturday against North Carolina State, Griffin made his presence felt a whole lot faster. The sophomore took the opening kickoff back for a 100-yard touchdown, and Mississippi State's defense cracked down from there en route to a 24-10 win over NC State at Davis Wade Stadium. "He can take it home any second," running back Dillon Johnson said of Griffin. "Any time he touches the ball, he's a home run hitter." After Griffin's kick return gave them a 7-0 lead 13 seconds into the contest, the Bulldogs (2-0) held the Wolfpack (1-1) to 4.5 yards per play - with most of the damage coming in garbage time.

Defensive coordinator Zach Arnett's unit held running backs Zonovan Knight and Ricky Person to 50 yards on 16 carries, while quarterback Devin Leary went 30 of 49 passing for 303 yards. NC State scored its only touchdown with 1:06 remaining on a 4-yard pass from Leary to Thayer Thomas. "We've got some dogs on defense," Bulldogs safety Jalen Green said. "We played with a lot of swag and confidence. We've got a lot to show." Quarterback Will Rogers was 33 of 49 passing for 294 yards and two touchdowns for Mississippi State. Malik Heath and Jaden Walley each caught scoring passes from the sophomore. "I thought he improved in the pocket this week," Bulldogs coach Mike Leach said of Rogers. "I thought he took command of the offense and was kind of able to keep the energy going throughout the game." - Mississippi State/AP College Football


(DS#999 WR) So/2024 WR Lideatrick GriffinMississippi State
News Source: Mississippi State/AP College Football
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  Early in the fourth quarter, with his team down 20 points at home to a non-Power 5 opponent, Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach may have heard the lyrics to an old Talking Heads song sponging around in his brain, wondering, how did we get here? Then the Bulldogs snapped in gear, and, in true Leach fashion, scored 21 points in 12 minutes to beat Louisiana Tech 35-34 in a season opener. "I basically said we tried every way known to man to lose it, just for fun let's try something different," Leach said. "Let's go ahead and do our job because we've got nothing to lose. And off we went." LA Tech trailed 14-0 in the first quarter before rattling off 34 unanswered points against the Southeastern Conference's No. 4-ranked total defense from a season ago.

Mississippi State turned the ball over four times, committed 12 penalties for 95 yards and often looked confused and listless in the first game of Leach's second season in Starkville, putting the heavily-favored Bulldogs in quite the pickle. "The middle of the game was as bad as a team can play on all sides," Leach said. But in the game's final 12 minutes, the Bulldogs regained their offensive composure. Jo'Quavious Marks rushed for two short-yardage touchdowns, then Will Rogers found Jaden Walley for a 15-yard strike to put Mississippi State back on top. - Mississippi State/AP College Football


(DS#10 WR) So/2024 WR Jaden WalleyMississippi State
News Source: Mississippi State/AP College Football
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  Mississippi State coach Mike Leach hedged ever-so slightly, but all signs point to Will Rogers leading the Bulldogs onto the field as the starting quarterback in the season opener against Louisiana Tech. Leach said after Wednesday's practice that if "we were to play today, it would be Will." When asked whether another quarterback could supplant Rogers as the starter by the time Louisiana Tech visits Davis Wade Stadium on Sept. 4, Leach said: "It's hard to tell. Difficult to say. We'll see." Much of Leach's decision to choose Rogers as the quarterback for the coach's air raid offense comes down to Rogers' consistency, Leach said, edging him over the newcomers competing for the job. Rogers started six games last season, becoming the first quarterback in program history to record 30 or more completions in three straight games.

Rogers finished with 1,976 passing yards with 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions - although four of those giveaways came during his first three games, where he came off the bench to replace K.J. Costello. Once Costello suffered an injury against Alabama, Rogers took over the starting job on a permanent basis. As the starter, Rogers threw 10 touchdowns compared to three interceptions, and he averaged 227.7 yards per game through the air to go with a 69.2 completion percentage. - The Clarion Ledger


(DS#27 QB) So/2024 QB Will RogersMississippi State
News Source: The Clarion Ledger
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  Mississippi State defensive back Collin Duncan isn't mincing words about this year's Bulldogs defense. "I think it can be great," Duncan said after practice Saturday. "I feel like it can be one of the great defenses here at Mississippi State and that's a lot. Just a few years ago we had one of the top defenses in the nation." Duncan, a junior safety from Montgomery, Alabama, has been one of the standout performers through the first few days of camp, according to coach Mike Leach. Duncan started the last seven games of the 2020 season for the Bulldogs, helping lead a defense that finished No. 57 nationally in scoring defense and No. 52 in total defense.

But already, just one weekend into fall camp, Duncan is ready to compare his squad to the 2018 unit that had the best total defense and the No. 2 scoring defense in the FBS. The difference between 2020 and 2021, as Duncan sees it, is depth. "We went last year from being one-deep at almost every position to now being three- or four-deep at almost every position. I feel like you're going to see a lot of guys this year just off of being able to rotate. A lot of guys are proving themselves this fall. It's going to be tremendous help." - The Clarion Ledger


(DS#25 FS) Jr/2023 FS Collin DuncanMississippi State
News Source: The Clarion Ledger
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  Another transfer from the Pac-12, Cal transplant Makai Polk is a 6-3, 200-pound pass catcher. In 17 games across the last two seasons, Polk caught 36 passes for 478 yards and three touchdowns. At the very least, he's depth for a talented receiver group. At the most, he's a plug-and-play receiver who helps Mississippi State attack downfield more than it could last year. - The Clarion Ledger

(DS#999 WR) Jr/2023 WR Makai PolkMississippi State
News Source: The Clarion Ledger
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  Jamire Calvin caught 75 passes for 797 yards and four touchdowns in 2017 and 2018 under Leach at Washington State. He missed the 2019 season, and Washington State only played four games in 2020, but he's reunited with Leach in Starkville as a graduate transfer who will almost certainly factor in the returning receiving rotation with Walley, Malik Heath and Austin Williams. - The Clarion Ledger

(DS#999 WR) rSr/2022 WR Jamire CalvinMississippi State
News Source: The Clarion Ledger
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  Mississippi State was picked by Southeastern Conference media to finish last in the SEC West, it was announced Friday morning. The Bulldogs, who finished 4-7 last season, were edged by Arkansas for the No. 6 spot in the division. The Razorbacks received 241 voting points, awarded on a 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale; MSU received 217. Offensive lineman Charles Cross was the Bulldogs' lone representative on the all-SEC teams, also announced Friday. Cross made the all-SEC third team, while no other MSU players cracked the list on offense, defense or special teams. - The Dispatch

(DS#1 OT) rSo/2024 OT Charles CrossMississippi State
News Source: The Dispatch
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  Williams appeared in all 11 games last season at both receiver and punt returner. He has eight career touchdowns and 628 yards across 64 receptions. Williams played his best game in the team's season-opening win against LSU in 2020, when he finished with a career-high seven receptions. Williams is a four-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll and has maintained a 4.0 GPA while earning an undergraduate degree in finance in just three years. - The Clarion Ledger

(DS#80 WR) rSr/2022 WR Austin WilliamsMississippi State
News Source: The Clarion Ledger
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  Mike Leach has secured another commitment from Jamire Calvin - this time as the head coach at Mississippi State. Nearly three months after entering the NCAA transfer portal, the former Washington State wide receiver announced Saturday night he was committing to Mississippi State, where he'll have three years of eligibility remaining. "Sorry for the wait," Calvin posted on Twitter, along with a photoshopped graphic of the receiver wearing a maroon Bulldogs uniform with the No. 6. Leach and his WSU staff won a major recruiting battle with Nebraska to land Calvin's services in 2017 and the Southern California native immediately became a part of the Cougars' receivers rotation, hauling in 75 passes for 797 yards and four touchdowns in his first two seasons playing in the Air Raid offense.

Multiple offseason injuries sidelined Calvin for the entirety of the 2019 season, and Leach left the Cougars to accept the job at Mississippi State in January 2020, bringing most of his offensive assistants, including inside receivers coach Dave Nichol - another essential member of Calvin's recruitment to WSU. Calvin, a former four-star prospect, earned a starting role with new Cougars coach Nick Rolovich, but as an outside Z-receiver as opposed to the Y-slot position he played under Leach. Still, Calvin was able to have some success in Rolovich's run-and-shoot, catching 17 passes for 183 yards and one touchdown during the four-game 2020 season. - Spokesman-Review


(DS#999 WR) rSr/2022 WR Jamire CalvinMississippi State
News Source: Spokesman-Review
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  Mississippi State brought in an experienced pass-catcher in Makai Polk. The Bulldogs also brought in an experienced pass-defender in Jalen Green. The former Texas safety played in 35 games for the Longhorns. He logged one interception and seven passes defended. Green has teamed back up with MSU safeties coach Jason Washington, who coached at Texas from 2017-19. Mississippi State's play in the secondary was hit or miss last year. Green could act as a stabilizing force for the position group as it looks to better defend the deep ball. - The Clarion Ledger

(DS#999 CB) Sr/2022 CB Jalen GreenMississippi State
News Source: The Clarion Ledger
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  Jo'quavious Marks doesn't mind sharing a backfield. The Mississippi State sophomore running back knows he'll be splitting time with fellow sophomore Dillon Johnson for the Bulldogs in 2021. Neither rusher would have it any other way. "He's going to tote the rock, I'm going to tote the rock, we're going to be proud of each other, and we're going to score touchdowns," Marks told reporters Thursday. Johnson called the pair of backs "lightning and thunder" - Johnson a power back who often proves elusive, Marks a speedy rusher with significant burst. "I think we complement each other just great," Johnson said.

Though Marks received more touches in the running and passing games in 2020, the two backs posted remarkably similar per-touch numbers. Marks averaged 4.5 yards per carry and 4.5 yards per reception; Johnson was just below at 4.4 yards per carry and 4.4 yards per catch. And now, Johnson said, both sophomore backs have made a big offseason leap after their true freshman seasons. "I feel like we both made a big jump from Year 1 to Year 2," he said. "I think it's because we've been in the system for a year, so I feel like both of us are comfortable. We feed off each other and we just love competing, so I think that's what it is." - The Dispatch


(DS#18 RB) So/2024 RB JoQuavious MarksMississippi State
News Source: The Dispatch
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  At this time last year, Will Rogers was at home during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic wondering when he'd finally be able to practice with newly hired Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach. Fast forward to the present and Rogers has played in five games under Leach, five of which he started. As a freshman, Rogers wasn't able to begin his journey last year around this time, but this year, he's taking it all in leading up to the maroon and white spring game on April 17, which is ultra important in the rising sophomore quarterback's growth. "The biggest thing I want him to do is do a great job of commanding the unit and elevating and moving the offense," Leach said. "I think he does a great job of that." And the things Leach wants Rogers to improve on? "I'd like to further polish and more efficiently run the plays that he's already relatively good at," Leach said. "Any plays he's not so quick at reacting to, I want to speed that up. Overall, I'd like to see the ball come off his hand a little quicker as far as when he sorts what he sees and puts it on him." Rogers is the only quarterback going through spring practices who has played in a game for Mississippi State. - The Clarion Ledger

(DS#27 QB) So/2024 QB Will RogersMississippi State
News Source: The Clarion Ledger
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  03/26/21 - Kylin HillSr/2021, Mississippi State, 5-11, 214 (DS#11 RB) + More +

  Kylin Hill popped up on the Zoom call before anyone else. He had a smile on his face. A clear yearning to answer any questions to come his way. A determination to make his Mississippi State Pro Day experience as fulfilling as possible. It was clearly a different Hill than the one who only played in just two games, plus one series in a third, before opting out of his senior season last fall. Hill admitted as much. "The whole experience of being away, I feel like I've matured way more," Hill said. "I'm a better person all around." Hill said he checked all the boxes scouts and coaches came for. There's no doubt the running back from Columbus has the physical tools to contribute on an NFL roster. He's got enough of a body of work to prove it, too. Hill led the SEC in rushing yards with 1,350 as a junior in 2019. At 5-foot-11, 215 pounds he has enough muscle on his frame to fight off NFL defenders. He believes so, anyway. Nevertheless, Hill has countless clips of him throwing SEC defenders to the ground with ease to back himself up. "That's just how I've been playing all my life," Hill said. "What I put into my game and how I step onto the field I just feel like whenever I run the ball nobody can stop me." - The Clarion Ledger

(DS#11 RB) Sr/2021 RB Kylin HillMississippi State
News Source: The Clarion Ledger
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  Mississippi State has a quarterback competition on its hands. Speaking with reporters Thursday after the Bulldogs opened spring practices, head coach Mike Leach noticeably mentioned that incumbent starter Will Rogers will have to "earn" his job over a plethora of signal-callers, including Southern Miss transfer Jack Abraham. "He's one of those guys that's a self-starter when he works and you trip over him in the film room all the time," Leach said of Rogers. "So I mean, that's a good quality. He's got to win his job, too. That's what spring is all about. All the jobs are open, and then they find it out." While no frontrunner has been named, it's presumed Rogers heads into camp with the edge given the final two months of the 2020 season he had. - The Dispatch

(DS#27 QB) So/2024 QB Will RogersMississippi State
News Source: The Dispatch
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