The 2018 Mississippi State football season is right around the corner, beginning Sept. 1 with the Bulldogs hosting Stephen F. Austin at Davis Wade Stadium. In preparation for the season, let's take a look at State’s signal callers.
Expectations are sky-high for this year’s offense, and rightfully so. It all starts with a healthy Nick Fitzgerald, who is perhaps the Southeastern Conference’s best quarterback.
The combination of an offensive-minded coach in Joe Moorhead and an incredibly talented dual-threat quarterback in Fitzgerald should be the perfect recipe to produce plenty of yards and points this upcoming season.
Coming back from a gruesome ankle injury in the Egg Bowl that ended his 2017 season, Fitzgerald is healthy again, and a successful 2018 season for the Bulldogs starts with him. MSU will rely heavily on the senior quarterback, who is undoubtedly the the face of this Bulldogs team. He is a is a proven runner, rushing for 984 yards on 162 carries in 12 games. He also had 14 rushing touchdowns
In 2018, Fitzgerald needs to take the next step and become a more consistent passer. He threw for 1,782 yards, while completing 159 passes on 286 attempts in 2017. He had 15 passing touchdowns on the year. Belief is that Moorhead will be having Fitzgerald looking downfield more often in 2018.
The future of the quarterback position is bright for Mississippi State. Fitzgerald is in his final season and next in line is Keytaon Thompson. Thompson has proven to the Bulldogs that he’s ready whenever he’s called upon.
In his first career start, which came in the TaxSlayer Bowl, Thompson played stride-for-stride with a quarterback who was awarded the Heisman Trophy in. Who is that quarterback? It’s none other than 2016 winner Lamar Jackson.
Thompson fueled The Bulldogs to a 31-27 win, including a game-winning score to give the Bulldogs a big win over Louisville. He finished with 147 rushing yards and 3 scores, and added an 11-of-20 passing performance for 127 yards in the game.
On the year, Thompson played 10 games, rushing for 446 yards on 75 attempts and passing for 338 yards on 32-66 passing. He had six rushing touchdowns and two passing touchdowns.
The talent is definitely there, now it’s time to see how much he develops and grasps Moorhead’s offense.
Expectations are high at the quarterback position for the Bulldogs. A healthy Fitzgerald gives reason for optimism in Starkville. He is poised for a monster year. He has a great offensive line, which returns four starters, a great running game in Aeris Williams and Kylin Hill and some new wide receivers in Stephen Guidry, Devonta Jason and Malik Heath who can all be counted on to contribute right away. And if needed, Keytaon Thompson is ready to go. I expect big things from the quarterback position in 2018.
Position Group Grade:
Having arguably the best quarterback in the SEC, The Bulldogs get an A- for the upcoming year.