Football is back in Davis Wade Stadium! Well, kind of.
Mississippi State’s 2017 Maroon and White Spring Game will be played today at 3 p.m. in Davis Wade. For the fans everywhere missing football and craving a taste of it, today will be the last time the public will see the team together until fall practices begin in August.
The rosters have been split into two different teams for the action today. Notables on the Maroon Team include Nick Fitzgerald, Aeris Williams, Martinas Rankin, Elgton Jenkins, and former Georgia/EMCC transfer DE Chauncey Rivers. The White Team features Brandon Bryant, Jamal Peters, Donald Gray, true-freshman QB Keytaon Thompson, Leo Lewis, and former Georgia/JCCC DB Johnathan Abram. It will be interesting to see how much Fitzgerald plays, and how many plays Thompson gets.
Fitzgerald, Williams, and Lewis will receive the most hype, so with that said, these are five players to keep an eye on in today’s scrimmage.
Bryant had a very impressive redshirt-freshman campaign. The safety led all SEC freshman defensive backs in interceptions during the 2015-16 season, and he was all over the field on every play. Last year, though, was a struggle for Bryant. Whether it was a sophomore slump or something else, Bryant had a down year last season. With a new defensive staff in the building, the speedy safety looks to use the Maroon and White Game as a springboard to a bounce-back year.
Although the offensive line was often criticized throughout last season, Martinas Rankin put together a solid year. The 6-foot-5, 302 offensive tackle was a major coup for the Bulldog’s 2015 recruiting class. The former JUCO All-American needs to build on his junior campaign to help solidify the tackle position for the 2017 season.
The one word that comes to mind when talking about Keith Mixon is fast. The speedster saw some playing time last season, but the redshirt sophomore looks to expand his role in Dan Mullen’s offense. The 5-foot-8 slot has the ability to use his blazing speed to get by defenders whenever he touches the ball. The Maroon and White Game may show some glimpses of how Mullen wants to use his potential home-run threat this upcoming season.
After playing in the SEC as a true-freshman, the former Georgia safety landed at Jones County Community last season. The 4-star chose to come to Starkville over offers from Alabama, LSU, and Ole Miss. Abram brings much-needed talent and experience to the Bulldogs’ secondary. The Spring Game will be Abram’s first chance to wear a Mississippi State uniform inside Davis Wade Stadium, even if it’s just for a glorified scrimmage.
Keytaon Thompson enters Mississippi State as the most-decorated high school quarterback that Dan Mullen has ever signed in Starkville. The 6-foot-4, 225 QB was named the Most Outstanding Player of the state championship game, earned Gatorade Louisiana Player of the Year honors, and had offers from everywhere in the country. Many inside the program believe Thompson is further ahead than where Dak Prescott and Nick Fitzgerald were at the same stage. Saturday will be the first chance to see Mullen’s prized QB recruit in action.
If you can’t make it to Starkville, check out the Maroon and White Game on SEC Network or WatchESPN today at 3 p.m.