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Position Group Breakdown: Defensive Backs

Being that the quarterback talent in the SEC is the best its been in years, the Bulldog defensive backs must have a counterpunch in store.

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

Call them the four horsemen, the core four, or even quad squad, as four seniors will lead Mississippi State’s defensive backfield this fall. Cornerbacks Jamal Peters and Chris Rayford along with safeties Johnathan Abram and Mark McLaurin have all come a long way individually, but must come together as a unit. Given the number of offenses relying on an aerial attack, defenses have turned to secondaries as leaders. That said, those mentioned above will be under the brightest of lights in just a few weeks.

Jamal Peters:

Peters is an athlete who can stand tall with the best of them. At 6’2”, he boasts length and size both essential components of a modern day cornerback. Since making the transition from safety to corner, Peters has flourished. Look for him to rule the sidelines, ultimately using athleticism to go along with both assets mentioned above.

Chris Rayford:

Perhaps the leader and glue of the group, Rayford must remain consistent. He has the experience but needs to bring it all this season. While the leadership is there, the fearlessness has to show up, as Rayford will bring the unit back together if things get out of hand.

Johnathan Abram:

Having played in both SEC conferences, Georgia in the East, and now Mississippi State in the West, Abram is more than familiar with the conference all around. When on point, Abram jumps off the screen. He is a hard hitter with a motor and will ignite the DBs all season long.

Mark McLaurin:

McLaurin is the face of the defensive backfield, plain and simple. Already regarded as one of the nation’s best safeties, his name will be mentioned more often than not and for the better. Fearless and unafraid, McLaurin will use speed and agility to rule centerfield game after game, as the Bulldogs are sure to be counting on him.

Overall Grade:



Though the talent is there, consistency has been an ongoing issue. SEC offenses are stacked at every position, especially at quarterback and wideout. We will have to wait and see, as it is only a matter of time before Peters, Rayford, Abram, and McLaurin will have their opportunity to show out.