Mississippi State’s lack of height at receiver this season is well documented. After the early departure of De’Runnya Wilson, many started looking at the depth chart and tried to find his replacement. The guy listed that would be the most natural target, Gus Walley, soon hung up his pads after a rough string of injuries.
And that left Mississippi State considerably shorter at the receiver position. Especially when it comes to having real game experience. There’s not a receiver on the roster not named “Fred Ross” that is taller than 6’ with a catch in a game against any opponent.
Sure, there’s the chance that a young wide receiver emerges much like De’Runnya did in his freshman season. But there might actually be another answer to this problem. Last week during MSU Media Day, a couple of quotes stuck out to me from Billy Gonzales.
"Gabe Myles has elite speed. I think we'll be faster when you put Gabe and Donald out there."— David H Murray (@DawgsBiteMag) August 1, 2016
"We've got to replace the production we lost, so we need (Gray) to step up." MOstly the loss of Bear Wilson of course.— David H Murray (@DawgsBiteMag) August 1, 2016
Now, neither of these guys can do exactly what Wilson did. Neither one of them comes anywhere near his 6’5” 215 pound frame that could seemingly stretch 35 feet into the air and catch whatever you lobbed his way.
But, as Gonzales mentions, adding Gabe Myles and Donald Gray makes the receiving corps faster when they’re on the field together. And that speed might be able to overcome some of the height issues.
Both of these guys started to get meaningful playing time last season as they added onto the most dangerous passing attack that Mississippi State has ever seen. They alternated playing time and together they became a solid third option behind Wilson and Ross.
While I do think they’ve got the perfect opportunity ahead of them to contribute greatly, I still don’t expect this to be the perfect solution to the problem. You’ll need someone with some more height and weight to their frame to show up at some point during the season. But, until a younger guy like Jamal Couch, Osirus Mitchell, or Jesse Jackson steps up, the duo of Myles and Gray can combine to help keep Fred Ross open so that Ross can continue to torch SEC defenses.