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Mississippi State Freshmen Deserve Opportunity Against Northwestern State

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It's time for Dan Mullen's best recruiting class and other young players to see meaningful snaps.

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Only one thing was talked about more than star quarterback Dak Prescott leading up to the season.

That one thing was Mississippi State's 2015 recruiting class, and also several redshirt freshmen who fans were patiently waiting to see play in a real game for the first time.

The likes of Jamal Peters, Leo Lewis, Donald Gray, Dontavian Lee, Aeris Williams, Nick Fitzgerald and others were a hot topic among MSU football news all offseason, but the first two games have left us all scratching our heads. We've heard great things about all these young players just to see them ride the bench when the season actually started.

Some of that was expected, obviously, for say players like Fitzgerald who has the league's best QB in front of him. But other positions -- such as safety and running back -- haven't featured the youngsters like we expected.

That may finally be about to change. Dan Mullen told the media today straight up that he planned to give reps to Nick Fitzgerald and Elijah Staley Saturday against Northwestern State because they are both one play away from being the starter (He hasn't decided who that would be).

Well Dan, so is Aeris Williams and Dontavian Lee. It's time to give these guys an opportunity to make a name for themselves and have game experience if things keep going south with Ashton Shumpert. Frankly, he doesn't look like a feature back that can be depended on.

It's time to throw Jamal Peters and Mark McLaurin out there at safety and build for the future. Heck, the starters aren't getting it done, so what can it hurt? It's Northwestern State for crying out loud. It's time to give Brandon Bryant a chance to use that world-class speed in the secondary. He saw a little more playing time last week, but still not enough.

It's not only at safety and running back. It's at receiver with Donald Gray, Malik Dear, etc. It's on the defensive line with Fletcher Adams. If all these top recruits get as little playing time as they have so far, it doesn't bode well for our chances at landing many more elite players.

Donald Gray was the nation's No. 1 JUCO receiver. Leo Lewis was the nation's No. 1 inside linebacker. Even if they aren't catching on to the speed of SEC football just yet, don't you almost have to play them anyway? If you don't, it's not sending a positive message to top high school athletes wanting to come play at your school.

So come on Dan, get these guys more involved Saturday. When the game is over, you can go right back to showing loyalty to the older players like you usually do. But please, give the fans what they want this week -- a glimpse of what is hopefully a bright future.