With new faces popping up at different positions for the Mississippi State Bulldogs, the linebacker squad will have a pretty familiar look to it. Both Benardrick McKinney and Deontae Skinner return as starters in 2013, and these two will have a large say in how successful the Mississippi State defense is in 2013.
Skinner started all 13 games for Mississippi State in 2012, and he picked up several starts in 2011, making him the most experienced of the three starting linebackers. Last season he tallied 62 tackles (22 solo), and he brought the ball carrier down in the backfield on five occasions. With a new pressure based defense looking to take hold in Starkville, Skinner should see more plays in the backfield, including a few quarterback sacks, a stat column in which he did not register a mark during the 2012 season. While he did not sack the quarterback, he was credited with two quarterback hurries during the season.
It will be interesting to see how the Bulldogs use Skinner in pass coverage. Last season he successfully defended three passes.
A talented athlete, most Bulldog fans hope to see a big season out of Skinner.