There will be several fresh faces roaming the outfield at Dudy Noble Field this spring.
Mississippi State graduated longtime staples C.T. Bradford, Demarcus Henderson and Derrick Armstrong and will have several youngsters vying to fill their spikes.
“We lost some guys in the outfield who are very, very good players,” said MSU skipper John Cohen. “C.T. Bradford is a really good player. Demarcus Henderson and Derrick Armstrong also helped our club, but we do feel like we have people waiting in the wings to take those spots.”
Senior Jake Vickerson has the most experience returning although he has only spent one season in Starkville. Vickerson started 35 games in left field and three in right last year. The Tuscaloosa, Ala., native appeared in 60 total games where he hit .264 with five doubles, one triple, 15 RBI and 11 stolen bases.
Redshirt sophomore Cody Brown also gained experience in the outfield last season. The Biloxi native started 24 games in right field and six in left. Brown batted .248 with three doubles, two triples, two homers, 16 RBI and five steals in 47 games.
Jacob Robson saw his 2014 season cut short after 18 games due to a nerve in his arm. But Robson was able to qualify as a redshirt and gets his sophomore year back. The Canadian has seen action in 62 career games including 29 starts. He has a .186 career batting average with a pair of doubles and 16 RBI.
“Jacob Robson has really made a jump for us in the outfield, both as a power and strength guy and as a runner,” Cohen said.
Reid Humphreys will be making the transition from third base to left field for his sophomore campaign. Humphreys hit .241 with a double, home run and drove in eight runs in 58 at bats last spring.
“The outfield has been a little bit of an adjustment,” Humphreys said. “I am getting more and more comfortable each day.”
The Diamond Dogs also have a pair of outfielders who take the field following a redshirt season a year ago in Joey Swinarski and Brent Rooker.
Swinarski is a highly-touted recruit from Orlando, Fla., who graduated high school an entire year early. He hit 21 home runs during his three-year high school career and was a second team All-American.
Rooker is a 6-foot-3, 210-pounder from Germantown, Tenn., and was a three-time All-State selection in high school. He batted .430 with nine home runs, 32 RBI and 23 stolen bases as a senior. Rooker was also a finalist for Tennessee’s Mr. Football after racking up over 3,300 yards and 33 touchdowns.
Michael Smith was signed out of Walters State (Tenn.) Community College. The junior hit .331 with nine doubles, three triples, four homers, 36 RBI and 29 stolen bases a year ago. Smith also earned a gold glove for his defensive prowess.