Best Mississippi State Offensive Player
QB Nick Fitzgerald, Sr.
As it turns out, he’s been so good that he’s not had to be known as the guy who followed Dak Prescott.
Yeah, the 6-5, 230-pounder has to prove his injured leg is fine again, and he has to cut down on his picks after giving away 11. But if and when he’s right again – and all reasonable hopes are for him to be as good as new by September – he’s one of the nation’s most dangerous all-around quarterbacks.
He has the NFL size, a good arm, and the running skills to come close to hitting the 1,000-yard mark with 14 touchdowns. But under the new coaching staff, he’s not going to be asked to carry the workload quite as much, and he’ll get to push the ball down the field a bit more.
2. RB Aeris Williams, Sr.
3. QB Keytaon Thompson, Soph.
4. OT Stewart Reese, Soph.
5. OG Darryl Williams, Jr.
Best Mississippi State Defensive Player
DT Jeffery Simmons, Jr.
A phenomenal get for the program in 2016, the 6-4, 300-pounder has been one of the SEC’s best defensive tackles both on the field and in the classroom over the last two seasons. With tremendous quickness and nasty get-off, he came up with five sacks, 12 tackles for loss and 60 stops a year after bursting onto the SEC scene as a true freshman.
Along with Montez Sweat and the rest of the parts returning, Simmons is the star of a terrific line that should be the team’s biggest strength and an even bigger factor in the backfield.
2. DE Montez Sweat, Sr.
3. S Mark McLaurin, Sr.
4. S Johnathan Abram, Sr.
5. DE/LB Gerri Green, Sr.
Key Player To A Successful Season
RB Aeris Williams, Sr.
It’s not fair that the last running back Joe Moorhead coached was Saquon Barkley, but Williams has the talent to at least do more for the ground game to take the heat off the quarterbacks.
Nick Fitzgerald is too good and too valuable to run the ball more than 150 times again, but he still might. Fortunately, the 6-1, 220-pound Williams is going to be a three-year starter with the workhorse ability to handle the ball 20 times or more without a problem.
He led the way with 1,107 yards and six scores after coming up with 720 yards as the team’s top back two years ago. 6-0 when he runs for 100 yards or more, hitting the mark four times last season. By the way, Barkley ran for 100 yards five times.
Key Game To The Mississippi State Season
Florida, Sept. 29
Of course beating Ole Miss at the end of the regular season is a must after what happened last season, and of course there are bigger fish to fry in the West if the Bulldogs have any dreams of being in the conference title chase. But for the pride of the program, it would be a whole lot of fun to beat Dan Mullen when his Gators come to town.
There’s no ill-will against the old head man – he’s the one who built up the Bulldogs, and Florida was the perfect job opening at the perfect time. But with Auburn, at LSU, and Texas A&M coming up next in conference play, this would also be the perfect time for the Bulldogs to show that he left the program in a great spot.
2017 Mississippi State Fun Stats
– 4th Down Conversions: Miss State 13-of-25 (52%) – Opponents 6-of-16 (38%)
– Time of Possession: Miss State 33:23 – Opponents 26:37
– Rushing Yards: Miss State 3272 – Opponents 1711