Mississippi State had an up and down year in 2015 at the tight end position. There were two primary targets at the position for Dak Prescott to throw to, and both showed a lot of promise. Gus Walley was an incredibly talented 6’4” 240 pound target that Dak seemed fond of early on in the season, but unfortunately injuries cut his career short.
And then Darrion Hutcherson was a tremendous target at 6’7” and 260 pounds, but he didn’t see the field much until the back half of the schedule. Together they caught 35 passes for 310 yards and 2 touchdowns. Things just didn’t pan out as well as they could have at the position.
But the Bulldogs have quickly and quietly acquired a solid amount of depth at the position. What does the position look like for 2016?
Notable Losses: Gus Walley, Darrion Hutcherson
Key Returners: Justin Johnson
Big Additions: Jordan Thomas, Farrod Green (redshirt), Christian Roberson, Dontea Jones
The Mississippi State coaches have been raving about Justin Johnson and his ability as a leader this offseason. He came to Starkville as a 6’3” and 205 pound 3 star receiver but he has since bulked up to 239 pounds and looks ready to be Mississippi State’s top tight end. He got a little experience a year ago, playing in a few games and catching 5 receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown, but the importance of his role is going to be significantly increased this season.
Mullen feels good about Justin Johnson at TE. Says he's the "leader of that room." He says that Farrod Green has grown and taken steps .— Mike Singer (@Rivals_Singer) August 1, 2016
Farrod Green, like Justin Johnson, transitioned from a long, rangy receiving threat into a solid tight end. Green is 6’3 and 232 pounds, per the Mississippi State roster, and should provide the Bulldogs with some solid depth at the position. As mentioned in the above tweet quoting Dan Mullen from MSU media day, Farrod Green has taken steps forward and should be able to see the field in some capacity this season.
Jordan Thomas was the top ranked tight end coming out of junior college and he’s a mountain of a man standing at 6’5” and 295 pounds. At his size, he looks much more like an offensive tackle than a tight end, but he still showed the ability to be a bit of a receiving threat at the juco level. He snagged 4 touchdowns off of 18 receptions and 228 receiving yards. His size gives the Bulldogs a solid blocking option and the perfect guy to put in for short yardage situations. If Dan Mullen wants to add a giant blocker for something of a jumbo package, Jordan Thomas is the perfect guy for the role.
And then we can add in a couple of young guys in Christian Roberson and Dontea Jones. These guys were both three stars coming out of high school and they were both early enrollees, joining the Mississippi State team back in January. Roberson is 6’5” and 239 pounds while Jones weighs in at 6’4” and 254 pounds. Adding both of these guys onto the team early was the perfect opportunity for Roberson and Jones to acclimate themselves to the college climate and prepare for the season.
The Bulldogs have a variety of builds and talents at tight end this season. But there just isn’t much experience here. The future of the position looks very bright with the guys that Dan Mullen has accumulated and there’ll be plenty of opportunities for these guys to prove themselves due to the lack of height at the wide receiver position, but as a whole, this position is still a question mark.