On the Links: Camp Begins; Intriguing Players; Recruiting News

Receiver Robert Johnson (right) will be sporting a new number this fall and is vying for a starting job. (Photo by Deste Lee)

Receiver Robert Johnson (right) will be sporting a new number this fall and is vying for a starting job. (Photo by Deste Lee)

Well hello, friends. Welcome to the wonderful world of August in Mississippi, the month that has us Southerners seriously considering a move to North Dakota. Ah, but we have a way of dealing with the heat: bad domestic beer and football.

Today, some of you will join me under the sun as MSU opens preseason camp with a 5 p.m. practice. The Bulldogs have reconvened, holding meetings and such yesterday, and now strap on the helmets to resume on-field work. It’s 30 days until the season opener against Oklahoma State in Houston, and old storylines are made new again, while fresh storylines get ready to emerge.

As August drags on, there will be several players worth tracking. In today’s Journal, I listed the 10 most intriguing players on this year’s squad – guys who bring something unique to the table, be it their abilities or the role they’ll play. One of those guys on the list is freshman defensive end Chris Jones, the five-star recruit from up the road in Houston. He’s been on campus since early July, and fans will eagerly watch to see if he can crack the rotation this fall.

There are a handful of position battles to keep an eye on, most notably wide receiver, where MSU is looking for three new starters. The No. 2 tailback role will be more fascinating than you’d normally expect it to be, with Josh RobinsonDerrick Milton and a healthy Nick Griffin all vying for carries.

If you’re going out to practice this weekend – the first six sessions are open to the public and media – make sure you have a roster handy, because several players have switched jersey numbers since the spring. To help you, I’ll go ahead and list the notable changes: Nickoe Whitley, No. 1; Jay Hughes, No. 3; Jamerson Love, No. 5; Zach Jackson, No. 8; Deontae Skinner, No. 11; Robert Johnson, No. 12; Cedric Jiles, No. 13; Gus Walley, No. 19; Taveze Calhoun, No. 23; Baker Swedenburg, No. 41; Jeremey Chappelle, No. 84.

• Also in today’s Journal is some recruiting news: West Point running back Aeris Williams committed to MSU yesterday. He’s the 14th member of State’s 2014 commitment class. On today’s LockeDown Corner, I had Paul Jones on to talk about Williams and about preseason camp. Click below to listen.

Paul Jones Interview

I am the online content coordinator for DJournal.com. I also co-host The Memo and Prep Rally podcasts and host the Newsbreak program. Previously at the Journal, I covered Mississippi State athletics (2008-13), high schools (2004-08), and was on the copy desk (2002-04).

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