The battle in the trenches was not a fun one for Mississippi State’s offensive line in 2015. It was an absolute mess at times, and had anyone but Dak Prescott been starting for the Bulldogs, MSU wouldn’t have made it to 9 wins last season.
But John Hevesy’s squad brings a lot of talent to the field for 2016. The Bulldogs have all of the right tools to potentially piece together an offensive line that can protect the passer efficiently and provide enough blocks to clear running lanes for the running backs.
Notable Losses: Justin Malone, Damien Robinson, Rufus Warren
Key Returners: Jamaal Clayborn, Devon Desper, Justin Senior, Elgton Jenkins, Deion Calhoun
Big Additions: Martinas Rankin (redshirt), Stewart Reese, Greg Eiland, Darryl Williams (redshirt), Dareuan Parker, Harrison Moon (redshirt), Michael Story (redshirt)
Mississippi State is returning three starters to the offensive line in Jamaal Clayborn, Devon Desper, and Justin Senior. The trio has played in a total of 90 games with 56 starts between them. At this point in their careers, they’ve seen just about everything that the SEC’s powerful defensive lines can throw at them. Their experience provides the perfect foundation to build an offensive line around.
Elgton Jenkins and Deion Calhoun have the talent and potential to earn a starting spot on the offensive line this year. They both played in all 13 games of their freshmen season in 2015 and made a combined 4 starts. Together they provide Mississippi State with plenty of options should the guys on the line need to be shuffled around at any point this season.
Martinas Rankin is a stud that redshirted last season, but he should be a dominant starter this season as a tackle. He was a four star coming out of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College where he became an All American in 2014. His presence gives the Bulldogs a solid amount of talent and experience.
And it’s not like the Bulldogs don’t also have depth at the position. Like most other position groups on the offense, Mississippi State has plenty of young guys that appear ready to play if they’re needed.
Mississippi State’s offensive line has the right guys to construct a solid offensive line for 2016 and the foreseeable future. The three senior starters provide a solid foundation for Dan Mullen and John Hevesy to build around. Adding Martinas Rankin to the mix should bolster the line even further.
Having guys like Elgton Jenkins and Deion Calhoun provides solid depth and gives Mullen and Hevesy options should they need to change the line for any reason. Add in all of the youth right behind them, and MSU should be able to piece together an offensive line without worries for the next few seasons.
Catch up with our other position group previews here: