Mississippi State fans are over the moon with new coach Joe Moorhead, with some viewing him as an upgrade over Dan Mullen, who moved on to Florida after nine seasons in Starkville. Whether that will be the case remains to be seen, but Moorhead has a good mix of veterans and young talent that could make the Bulldogs contenders in the loaded SEC West.
Despite the turnover in coaches, Moorhead and his staff were able to secure an excellent signing class that included six 4-star recruits and saw the Bulldogs finish No. 27 in 247Sports class rankings.
Here are three freshmen who should make an immediate impact this season for Mississippi State:
1. Malik Heath, WR
The 6-foot-3 Heath has been timed at 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He will give the Bulldogs and quarterback Nick Fitzgerald an opportunity to stretch the field. This could be a big addition considering how much the Bulldogs struggled getting the ball downfield last season, finishing 118th in the FBS by averaging just 6.1 yards per passing attempt. Moorhead’s offense last season at Penn State averaged 8.2 yards per attempt, good for 26th in the FBS.
Once Heath gets into a college weight room and adds some muscle to his 205-pound frame, he could be a force against SEC defenses.
2. Marcus Murphy, ATH
An early enrollee from West Point, Miss., it isn’t a matter of when Murphy might see the field but where. He’s a natural at many positions, including running back, receiver and defensive back. At 6-1 and 190 pounds, he is quick and could become a go-to possession receiver for the Bulldogs while providing depth at safety.
It could be tempting to use him a lot early, it would be wise to allow him to grow accustomed to the college game at a reasonable pace.
3. Devonta Jason, WR
Jason is another wide receiver to add to Fitzgerald’s arsenal. That sound you hear are opposing defensive coordinators sighing. Jason is 6-3, 210 pounds and should provide nightmares for smaller defenders. He can be used in multiple spots, including the slot and at wideout. If Fitzgerald throws it up for grabs between Jason and a defender, Jason should win the majority of the time.
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