The Daily Journal’s Logan Lowery reports from MSU’s post-practice media session.
STARKVILLE | Mississippi State enters its season opener with plenty of experience returning on the offensive side of the ball. Back are five starters along the offensive line, a fifth-year senior quarterback in Tyler Russell and a 1,000-yard rusher in LaDarius Perkins.
But the one offensive area where the Bulldogs could struggle is at wide receiver. MSU lost seven wideouts from its 2012 roster, leaving an inexperienced group to try and keep pace with a potent Oklahoma State offense on Saturday.
Two freshmen – Brandon Holloway (redshirt) and De’Runnya Wilson (true) – are listed on the two-deep, along with junior college transfer Jeremey Chappelle. Despite their lack of experience, Russell has been impressed with the work ethic from his young crop of wideouts.
“It’s just how hard they work and how eager they are to learn,” Russell said following Tuesday’s practice. “They’ve done a great job of learning all the plays and knowing where they need to be and the things I’m looking for them to do.”
Wilson, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound former Mr. Basketball from Birmingham, Ala., played only one season of high school football at Wenonah but is listed behind sophomore Joe Morrow on the depth chart.
“He’s a big, tall, physical receiver who goes up there and makes plays for you,” Russell said. “For him it’s just learning the things we want him to do, and he’s done a great job of that. I’m looking forward to him keeping on improving and getting ready for the season.”
Junior slot receiver Jameon Lewis has also been impressed by Wilson’s consistency and playmaking ability in practice.
“All through camp he’s been making plays,” Lewis said. “He doesn’t have too many drops, and most of the time he doesn’t have gloves on, he’ll be barehanded.”
To combat the personnel turnover, State signed six receivers – five of which made it to campus. Junior Robert Johnson is the only Bulldog receiver with starting experience. His lone start came against UAB in 2011.
“Those guys have done a great job of leading the younger guys,” Russell said. “I don’t have to say much to RoJo (Johnson), Jameon or Joe because they pretty much know what I expect. The young guys look up to them, and so far they’ve done a pretty good job. I’m impressed.”
Mississippi State loses its top four pass receivers from last fall with the returning wideouts accounting for just 32 catches for 325 yards and two touchdowns.
For more from Russell and Lewis, check the videos below (Lewis video courtesy MSU media relations).