On the podcast “Hail Dear Ol’ Pod” I co-host with my good friend and FWtCT personality Ladd Ezell where we talk Mississippi St. Bulldogs sports of all sorts, we came up with a segment in our creative factory called “Diggin’ Dawgs”. During this segment, we talked about some dawgs we were diggin that might be flying under the radar. The podcast will return at a date TBA but for now, I wanted to run with that idea and give some thoughts on some dawgs, not named Simmons or Fitzgerald, I think are showing some great potential.
Gerri Green was a very highly recruited 4 star LB prospect out of high school that came into MSU with a ton of hype. After a redshirt season, he had a breakout year his freshman campaign and looked to be the next stud LB to come out of MSU. His sophomore season unfortunately saw a slight regression as he struggled to make any of the positions thrown at him his own between LB and DE. While his numbers were solid, many expected a bigger jump.
Well Green clearly took this to heart this offseason as he has come out like a man on fire in his DE role he has fully embraced. On Saturday, he was all over the field and forced 2 fumbles. His ability to get pressure on an elusive QB from the blind side was a joy to watch. Just imagine what he might do to some of the less mobile QBs we will face in the SEC (sup Etling?). Grantham has clearly taken this pure athlete and is teaching him the ways of Khalil Mack and Von Miller.
One of the big JUCO safety recruits from the past year’s recruiting class, Abram did not play against Charleston Southern but showed up in a big way against La Tech. While racking up 7 tackles, he also demonstrated his ability to get to the QB in blitz situations. On one play, he literally went “And 1 Mixtape” and broke the poor RT’s ankles in route to getting pressure on the QB.
Abram’s ability to do many things in Grantham’s defense was very interesting, as many times we had Abrams, Bryant, and McLaurin on the field at the same time as safeties. This creates a ton of different looks that will be tricky for opposing QBs to identify and could lead to misreads and turnover opportunities. This is what Grantham preaches and why we got him. Also, for those loyal listeners, you will remember on “Hail Dear Ol’ Pod”, I came out a very strongly in favor of Abram getting a targeting penalty in the Spring Game. I want the days of WRs fearing coming across the middle when we had the likes of Josh Morgan and Nickoe Whitley. He brings that fear.
Finally, I have to be diggin’ some offensive dawgs, right? Deddrick Thomas is a name some might not know or hear much about, but I think is making some solid strides in this offense. Truth be told, we might not be hearing anything about him if Malik Dear doesn’t get hurt and reports are circulating that Dear is near a return to the field so this all may be for naught.
That being said, I think Thomas has shown a strong ability to get open and catch the ball underneath for Fitz. Our WR play is very streaky and having a guy in the slot that can get open and make reliable catches between the sticks is how you take some pressure off the run game we are so dependent on right now. Thomas has demonstrated this, along with a shiftiness that if he can make that first man miss he can turn a 5 yard catch into a 15 yard gain. I also think with Dear coming back this could help Thomas as he and Dear could both potentially find themselves on the field and force teams to pick a side to cover and let the other one do some work in space. Dan likes the Percy Harvin type players and I expect him to continue to find ways to maximize a player like Thomas’ abilities.