Your team could have the best quarterback in the world, but if they don't have a good offensive line to protect him, his talent isn't going to get you far. Fortunately for MSU in 2013, they have that protection up front for senior MSU QB Tyler Russell, as the Bulldogs return four of five starters from a year ago, and a starting projected five that started at least three games apiece last year.
The leader of MSU's big uglies is Gabe Jackson, the senior guard from Liberty, Mississippi. Jackson, who passed up the NFL Draft last season to return for one final year, was named 1st team All-SEC for this season, and it's easy to see why. He's started every single game in his career; every game since his first game as a redshirt freshman in 2010. He's been named to countless award watch lists and All-everything teams, and he was a big part of the reason why MSU was top-5 in rushing offense in 2010 and 2011 in the SEC.
Some were shocked that Jackson decided to come back for his final season, but others, like myself, weren't. Last year's NFL Draft was stacked with lineman, especially interior ones, and Jackson stands to be a first round draft choice should he have a successful final season this year. And a successful season is what State needs out of Gabe if they're going to have any chance at success themselves. With a completely new wide receiving corps, Tyler Russell will need all the time that he can get in the pocket, allowing receivers to progress through their routes. Jackson, Day, Clausell, Malone, and Siddoway will be called on to give the protection that they did last year, and as the senior and most talented of the bunch, the leadership of this unit falls on Gabe's shoulders. I think Gabe and the offensive line are the most solid unit State features this season, and it's up to them to live up to that, and to give the offense a chance to be successful against what looks to be a very difficult schedule this fall.