Mississippi State football schedule, roster, recruiting and what to watch in 2018

Sporting News
A look at Mississippi State, which checks in at No. 24 in Sporting News' Top 25 heading into Joe Moorhead's first season.

Mississippi State football schedule, roster, recruiting and what to watch in 2018

A look at Mississippi State, which checks in at No. 24 in Sporting News' Top 25 heading into Joe Moorhead's first season.

Mississippi State is coming off a 9-4 season, the latest outing that saw the the Bulldogs go 34-18 over the last four seasons. Longtime coach Dan Mullen is gone to take over at Florida, however, and that has led to the hiring of former Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead.

Moorhead is an inventive offensive mind, and that's great news for quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, who returns after suffering a dislocated foot in the Egg Bowl against Ole Miss last season. Fitzgerald was limited to 7-on-7 drills in the spring, but should be ready to go this fall. It's an opportunity for a solid program to take the next step in the SEC West.

MORE: SEC early conference primer

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Mississippi State opens at No. 24 in Sporting News' updated way-too-early top 25, thanks in part to a favorable schedule. It's on the Bulldogs to take advantage.

Mississippi State football schedule 2018

Date

Opponent

Location

Sept. 1

Stephen F. Austin

Starkville, Miss.

Sept. 8

at Kansas State

Manhattan, Kan.

Sept. 15

Louisiana

Starkville, Miss.

Sept. 22

at Kentucky

Lexington, Ky.

Sept. 29

Florida

Starkville, Miss.

Oct. 6

No. 8 Auburn

Starkville, Miss.

Oct. 13

Bye

Off

Oct. 20

at No. 18 LSU

Baton Rouge. La.

Oct. 27

Texas A&M

Starkville, Miss.

Nov. 3

Louisiana Tech

Starkville, Miss.

Nov. 10

at No. 1 Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Nov. 17

Arkansas

Starkville, Miss.

Nov. 22

at Ole Miss

Oxford, Miss.

Dec. 1

SEC championship

Atlanta

*Games in bold denote SEC games

Mississippi State football recruiting 2018

The Bulldogs ranked 27th in 247Sports' Composite 2018 team rankings. Moorhead did land a pair of four-star receivers in Devonta Jason (Landry-Walker, New Orleans) and Malik Heath (Callaway, Jackson, Miss.). Heath is the top in-state recruit, and the Bulldogs signed four of the top five recruits in Mississippi. That's a good start.

MORE: SEC might not play in Mississippi if gun law passes

Mississippi State football roster 2018

No.

Name

Pos.

Year

1

Stephen Guidry

WR

Jr.

2

Jamal Peters

CB

Sr.

2

Reggie Todd

WR

So.

3

Johnathan Abram

S

Sr.

3

Devonta Jason

WR

Fr.

4

Gerri Green

DE

Sr.

4

Deddrick Thomas

WR

Jr.

5

Chauncey Rivers

DE

Jr.

6

Jamal Couch

WR

Jr.

6

Willie Gay Jr.

LB

So.

7

Nick Fitzgerald

QB

Sr.

7

Marcus Murphy

CB/ATH

Fr.

8

Kylin Hill

RB

So.

8

Maurice Smitherman

CB

Jr.

9

Malik Dear

WR

Jr.

9

Montez Sweat

DE

Sr.

10

Leo Lewis

LB

Jr.

10

Keytaon Thompson

QB

So.

11

Jaquarius Landrews

S

Jr.

12

Rip Kirk

QB

Jr.

13

Cameron Dantzler

CB

So.

13

Travis O'Connor

WR

So.

16

Korey Charles

CB

So.

17

Logan Burnett

QB

So.

17

Aaron Odom

DE

Fr.

19

Stephen Adegoke

S

Sr.

20

Taury Dixon

CB

So.

21

Nick Gibson

RB

Jr.

22

Blake Armour

S

Fr.

22

Aeris Williams

RB

Sr.

23

Raymond Freeman

LS

Fr.

23

Keith Mixon

WR

Jr.

24

Chris Rayford

CB

Sr.

25

Somon Anderson

CB

So.

26

Jordan Lawless

K

So.

26

Alec Murphy

RB

Jr.

27

Kody Schexnayder

P

Jr.

28

Londyn Craft

S

Fr.

28

Dontavian Lee

RB

Sr.

29

C.J. Morgan

S

So.

30

Dan Mills

K

Fr.

32

Brian Cole

S

Jr.

33

Robert Rivers

RB

Fr.

33

Tyler Williams

CB

Fr.

34

Cory Thomas

DT

Sr.

35

Landon Guidry

S

Fr.

37

Brad Wall

K

So.

38

Cason Grant

WR

Fr.

39

Nathan Swanson

LS

So.

40

Erroll Thompson

LB

So.

41

Mark McLaurin

S

Sr.

42

Tucker Day

P/K

So.

42

Marquiss Spencer

DE

Jr.

43

Fletcher Adams

DE

Jr.

47

Jace Christmann

K

So.

48

Chris Redmon

LB

So.

49

Aadreekis Conner

S

Fr.

50

Tim Washington

LB

Jr.

51

R.J. Jennings

LB

Fr.

51

Stewart Reese

OL

So.

52

Kobe Jones

DE

So.

53

Cameron Miller

LB

So.

54

Blake Mitchell

OL

So.

55

Greg Eiland

OL

So.

56

Kamau Batiste

LB

So.

56

Dareuan Parker

OL

So.

58

Tyler Dunning

LB

Fr.

59

LaKevion Isaac

DT

Jr.

61

Deion Calhoun

OL

Sr.

62

Matt Stanic

OL

Jr.

64

Marlon Reese

OL

Sr.

65

Sherman Timbs

DT

Fr.

66

Joel Baldwin

LS

Sr.

67

Paul Blackwell

LS

Jr.

68

Harry Parker

OL

Fr.

70

Tommy Champion

OL

Jr.

73

Darryl Williams

OL

Jr.

74

Elgton Jenkins

OL

Sr.

75

Michael Story

OL

Jr.

77

Cordavien Suggs

OL

Fr.

78

Tyre Phillips

OL

Jr.

79

Evans Wilkerson

OL

Jr.

80

Christian Roberson

TE

So.

81

Justin Johnson

TE

Sr.

82

Farrod Green

TE

Jr.

84

Dontea Jones

TE

So.

85

Austin Williams

WR

Fr.

86

Jesse Jackson

WR

Sr.

87

Osirus Mitchell

WR

So.

88

Powers Warren

TE

Fr.

89

Vincent Taylor

WR

So.

90

Grant Harris

DT

Sr.

91

James Jackson

DT

Fr.

92

Kendell Jones

DT

Jr.

93

Tyler Smith

K

So.

94

Jeffery Simmons

DT

Jr.

95

Braxton Hoyett

DT

Sr.

96

Tre Brown

DT

Sr.

97

Lee Autry

DT

Jr.

What to watch in 2018

1. How will Nick Fitzgerald look?

Moorhead's system is quarterback-friendly and features an intricate passing attack that's hard to defend. Fitzgerald's health will be the big question, but all indications are he'll be ready to go. He needs to be more accurate, however: he has a 55.4 completion for his career. Penn State's Trace McSorley had a 57.9 completion percentage in his first season with Moorhead before that jumped to 66.5 in 2017. Fitzgerald has to make that happen on an accelerated learning curve.

2. What will Bob Shoop do with the defense?

9 Montez Sweat DE Sr.

Bob Shoop is Mississippi State's defensive coordinator after stops in Vanderbilt (2011-13), Penn State (2014-15) and Tennessee (2016-17). The Bulldogs will show a 4-2-5 look, but depth at linebacker was a concern at the spring game. This defense is talented up front with players such as Montez Sweat, Gerri Green and Jeffery Simmons. Mark McLaurin, the team's leading tackler, anchors the secondary. It should be solid defense, and it will have to hold in big games. The Bulldogs allowed 30 or more points in their four losses last season.

3. How will Bulldogs handle early success?

The schedule is set up for eight or nine wins — perhaps even a double-digit win total — if the Bulldogs make those adjustments and handle early-season success. There's a decent chance Mississippi State will be undefeated when Mullen makes his return with Florida on Sept. 29. That's a game that will set the tone for SEC West matchups with Auburn, LSU and Alabama later in the schedule. Remember, the Crimson Tide had to rally in the fourth quarter for a 31-24 victory in Starkville in 2017.

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