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Who is Mississippi State’s defensive X-factor?

While Montez Sweat has already proven to be special, he has shown that there is much more in store for fall.

TaxSlayer Bowl - Mississippi State v Louisville Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

An edge rusher with a quick first step has become the cornerstone of a modern defensive front, as Montez Sweat has proven he could be just that this season. While the Bulldogs already have a promising bunch on defense, Sweat will be heavily relied on. Standing at 6’6, the senior out of Stone Mountain, GA is poised for a big year, ready to become the primary face of the line.

Sweat is what can be described as an athlete and a half. Able to play in both a 3-4 and 4-3 scheme, his versatility is virtually unmatched. He can set the edge, ultimately limiting and further dismantling offensive backfields.

Massachusetts v Mississippi State Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images

After transferring from Michigan State, Sweat showed out in Starkville. 2017 was his year on defense. Sweat was a force on the line and posted staggering numbers. Being that the SEC is notorious for pass rushes, Sweat has become one of the conference’s best.

Sweat wrecked havoc and made an effort to be in on each play. He was all over the field, thus his numbers jumping off the stat sheet. Sweat posted 48 total tackles, 15.5 for loss, 10.5 sacks, and recovered a fumble.

While his stats speak for themselves, Sweat has also shown that he can be a leader. His leadership will be key, as the Bulldogs’ defense has been missing that element in recent years. Sweat’s emotion, energy, and nonstop motor have been infectious amongst his teammates, having brought out their best. That said, Sweat’s work ethic is also one that is unrivaled and sets the highest of standards.

NCAA Football: TaxSlayer Bowl-Louisville vs Mississippi State Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

With Joe Moorhead at the helm, Sweat could not be paired with a better coach. They share the same attitude and morals. Mississippi State has always been a defensive force and that will only continue, in large part due to Sweat’s on-field attitude and grit combined with Moorhead’s no nonsense mindset.

Overall, Sweat has shown that he is the real deal defensively. The Bulldogs are ready to make a run and Sweat is as hungry as anyone. While Davis Wade Stadium will already be packed and rocking, Sweat and company are prepared to take Starkville a level higher. Sweat has embraced the maroon and white and will settle for nothing less than the Mississippi State standard, ultimately proving that he is a Bulldog through and through.