Following the departures of Jeffery Simmons and Braxton Hoyett, there will be big shoes to fill at defensive tackle. Lee Autry and Kendell Jones, two redshirt seniors, should have something to prove come fall. Like Simmons and Hoyett, Autry and Jones will be heavily relied on by coach Joe Moorhead and defensive coordinator Bob Shoop.
While the duo that is Autry and Jones may not put up monster numbers, each are sure hold their own and plug the lane up front. That said, the two will be going up against the best offensively. The talent is arguably better than ever before, as Mississippi State’s 2019 schedule is grueling. Although it will be a challenge, the SEC is the place to prove oneself on the football field, as Autry and Jones are sure to make the most of their senior season(s).
Autry, younger brother of Denico Autry, a household name for the maroon and white and now member of the Indianapolis Colts, is a lineman with a high motor and infectious energy amongst teammates. Expect Autry to make an immediate impact and, like his brother, bring a combination of power and speed to the line.
Like Autry, Jones will add power, but should bring a high level of finesse. However, the jury is still out on his overall game. Between being under the stewardship of Shoop as well as learning from Simmons, Jones should have the right skillset going into the season. Look for Jones to jump out of the gate while having to adjust to different schemes. Furthermore, opposing coordinators will throw the kitchen sink at the Bulldogs, as both Autry and Jones are going to have to get used to the SEC’s fast paced offenses.
Overall, it comes down to how quickly new talent can make adjustments. Look for another stellar season for the Mississippi State on defense, particularly at the tackle position. As mentioned above, it will take some adjusting, but Autry and Jones should do so fairly early.