Dan Mullen’s departure for the vacant Florida job left Starkville, Mississippi and Bulldog nation in a state of anxiety, but it did not last long. Fans are arguable more excited about next season with their new head coach, Joe Moorhead, than they were with Mullen, and considering his past record as a coach and the talent State has, it isn’t hard to see why.
Mississippi State Football, despite all that has happened over the past month and a half, does not look like a program that just lost arguably its best ever head coach. Athletic Director John Cohen and the Athletic Department quickly and effectively hired Joe Moorhead, who immediately repaid the trust placed in him by retaining most of the recruits committed for 2018, and even managed to flip a couple new ones for early signing day.
Three of the standout recruits are 4-star wide receivers Stephen Guidry, Malik Heath, and Devonta Jason. It’s a bit surprising State was able to attract and retain the services of such coveted receivers considering the run-first philosophy that has always been in place, but fans can expect to see fortunes improve in the passing game under the new Moorhead regime.
In 2 years as a starter at Penn State under Joe Moorhead, quarterback Trace McSorely already holds the record for first and second respectively in single season passing yards, first and second respectively in single season passing touchdowns, first in career passing touchdowns, and second in all time passing yards. (All of this was achieved with running back Saquon Barkley breaking records on the ground as well)
Nick Fitzgerald and Trace McSorely are hardly comparable in style, but Fitzgerald has shown before that he has the arm talent to toss the pigskin down the field, but his accuracy and dropped balls have hindered his development. However, with a new class of talented receivers and a new head coach who knows how to run a passing game it isn’t unrealistic to expect Fitzgerald’s numbers to go up.
Moorhead will also look forward to developing Keytaon Thompson, State’s prized 4-star QB and heir apparent to Fitzgerald’s offense. Already arguably a better passer, Thompson’s development under Moorhead has fans just as excited for 2019 as they are for 2018.
Despite Mississippi State’s run-first history, fans can expect a passing game the likes of which Starkville has never seen before in the Moorhead era.