The Mississippi State Bulldogs saw their first player drafted in the 2014 NFL Draft last night when Gabe Jackson went with the 81st overall pick to the Oakland Raiders in the third round.
Bulldog fans should hear LaDarius Perkins's name called in the later rounds of today's draft, and a couple of other Bulldogs may go late in the draft or sign as free agents later today or this weekend.
Here is a bit of information on these players:
LaDarius Perkins: Running Back
Perkins left Starkville in second place on the all-time, all-purpose yards chart for Mississippi State. Without a doubt, his best year came during his junior season in 2012. He played through a few injuries in 2013, making 12 starts in the process, but he did not come close to matching his production from his junior season, in which he picked up second-team All-SEC honors.
The team that takes Perkins will have a running back that can be a threat in the passing game and contribute on special teams. He also has no fears about hitting a defender, but his size could make pass protection a little difficult at the NFL level.
Tyler Russell: Quarterback
For whatever reason, the senior seasons of quarterbacks at Mississippi State seemed to be cursed, and much the same happened to Tyler Russell. In the first game of the season, he suffered a concussion against Oklahoma State, and his season ended with a torn labrum.
Much like Perkins, Russell's junior season showed his capabilities much more than his senior season. During his 2012 campaign, Russell, who stands at 6' 4", 220 pounds, practically rewrote the Mississippi State record books in terms of passing, setting eleven single-season school records including yards (2897), touchdowns(24), attempts (394), completions (231) and completion percentage.
He also picked up SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors, becoming the first Mississippi State quarterback to be so honored since Sleepy Robinson in 1991.
Nickoe Whitley: Free Safety
The 6' 0", 205 pound Bulldog also has a home on the list of seniors who dealt with injury during their senior season at Mississippi State, playing most of the season with a torn ACL.
He finished third all-time at Mississippi State with 15 interceptions, and that mark left him as the active leader in FBS play at the end of his career. Five of those interceptions came during his senior season, and he also picked up 55 tackles and four forced fumbles on his was to second team All-SEC honors.
Of those four forced fumbles, none were bigger than the one that turned out to be his final play of his career. Taking on Ole Miss in the Battle for the Golden Egg, Whitley stripped Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace just before Wallace crossed the goal line for a tying score in overtime. Mississippi State recovered the fumble to seal a comeback win in the rivalry game.