Tuesday practice notes

Junior quarterback Damian Williams practiced for the first time this spring on Tuesday. (Logan Lowery/ Daily Journal)

Junior quarterback Damian Williams practiced for the first time this spring on Tuesday. (Logan Lowery/ Daily Journal)

Mississippi State conducted its ninth spring practice on Tuesday afternoon and first since its initial scrimmage last Friday. There were a lot of high school players on hand as both Gulfport and Columbus brought their entire teams to watch practice.

Here are a few notes I jotted down in my notebook today.

Both junior quarterback Damian Williams and freshman wide receiver Deddrick Thomas were full go at practice after spending most of the spring in the injury pit. For Williams, it was his first action of the spring and even scrimmaged leading the third team offense.

Senior cornerback Taveze Calhoun was dressed out for practice but did not participate. Calhoun wore a brace on his right ankle.

Sophomore wide receiver Gabe Myles joined the injury pit after injuring his right ankle early on during Friday’s scrimmage. Myles was on crutches and had a walking boot on. Sophomore linebacker Dezmond Harris accompanied Myles in the pit.

2016 five-star prospect Derrick Brown of Buford, Ga., was at practice on an unofficial visit. Brown is the No. 2 defensive tackle in the country and the No. 5 overall recruit as well as the top prospect in Georgia. The 6-foot-4, 305-pounder has 25 offers.

Brown was not the only five-star prospect on hand as athlete Darnay Holmes was also there. Holmes is the No. 2 prospect in 2017 for California, the No. 6 athlete and the No. 31 overall recruit. The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder has 19 offers.

Also visiting was Mission Viejo, Calif., four-star wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson Jr. Yes, he is the son of 11-year NFL wide receiver and three-time Pro Bowler Keyshawn Johnson. The younger Johnson has 24 scholarship offers and visited along with his dad, who signed with Mississippi State in 1992 but failed to meet academic requirements.

The Bulldogs worked on their hurry-up on both sides of the ball during a scrimmage session.

During that portion of practice, senior wide receiver Joe Morrow had a 20-yard gain on a reverse.

Morrow then caught a 10-yard pass from redshirt freshman quarterback Nick Fitzgerald by skying over sophomore cornerback Jamoral Graham to make the grab. Morrow came down and injured his left shoulder on the play. He took his shoulder pads off and remained in a sling for the rest of practice.

Fitzgerald found freshman wide receiver Malik Dear for a first down pass while going against senior cornerback Will Redmond.

Sophomore linebacker J.T. Gray sacked Fitzgerald and forced a fumble.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Taylor Henry had a first down pass to sophomore tight end Rashun Dixon.

Senior quarterback Dak Prescott hit junior wide receiver De’Runnya Wilson in stride for a 40-yard completion between junior safety Deontay Evans and junior cornerback Cedric Jiles, who appeared to be in zone coverage.

Junior defensive end Torrey Dale tackled Prescott for loss on a read option.

Jiles broke up a Prescott pass intended for Wilson.

Junior defensive tackle Chris Jones sacked Prescott.

Junior linebacker DeAndre Ward tackled redshirt freshman running back Dontavian Lee for a loss.

Working at kick returner today were Redmond and junior Fred Brown (1st team), sophomore Donald Gray and junior Brandon Holloway (2nd team) and Dear and Graham (3rd team).

During pass skeleton drills, Redmond broke up a Prescott pass that he should’ve picked.

Sophomore cornerback Boderick Oliver deflected a pass by redshirt freshman quarterback Elijah Staley.

Staley completed a 25-yard pass to senior tight end Darrion Hutcherson, who had a nice stiff arm at the end of the run.

Prescott connected with Wilson for an 80-yard touchdown. Prescott threw the pass 50-plus yards in the air down the left sideline.

Staley had a 35-yard completion to redshirt freshman wide receiver Jesse Jackson.

During the scrimmage portion at the end, sophomore safety Jahmere Irvin-Sills intercepted Fitzgerald.

Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Braxton Hoyett and junior defensive end Will Coleman combined on a tackle for loss on Fitzgerald.

Ward picked off Fitzgerald after the pass was batted in the air by redshirt freshman running back Aeris Williams.

Oliver intercepted Henry on a pass that was off the fingertips of sophomore tight end B.J. Hammond.

Senior left tackle Rufus Warren pancaked junior linebacker Beniquez Brown on a pass rush.

Fitzgerald completed a pass to Dear for a 30-yard gain.

Graham broke up a Fitzgerald pass.

Wilson scrimmaged for the first time all spring.

Prescott’s pass for Wilson was batted in the air and intercepted by junior safety Kivon Coman.

Prescott tried a screen pass to Gray but Gray was immediately gobbled up in the backfield by Beniquez Brown and junior defensive end A.J. Jefferson.

Fitzgerald has passes deflected on three consecutive plays by Coleman, redshirt freshman defensive tackle Cory Thomas and redshirt freshman linebacker Gerri Green.

At the end of practice, I saw Keyshawn Johnson Sr. being escorted around the football complex by cornerbacks coach Deshea Townsend. I’m sure those two met several times on Sundays in the NFL.


First Team Offense

QB Dak Prescott

RB Brandon Holloway

WR Fred Brown

WR Fred Ross

WR De’Runnya Wilson

TE Gus Walley

LT Rufus Warren

LG Justin Malone

C Jamaal Clayborn

RG Devon Desper

RT Justin Senior

First Team Defense

DE Ryan Brown

DT Nelson Adams

DT Chris Jones

DE A.J. Jefferson

LB Richie Brown

LB Beniquez Brown

LB Zach Jackson

CB Will Redmond

CB Tolando Cleveland

S Deontay Evans

S Kivon Coman

Second Team Offense

QB Nick Fitzgerald

RB Dontavian Lee

WR Joe Morrow

WR Jesse Jackson

TE B.J. Hammond

TE Shelby Christy

LT Elgton Jenkins

LG Kent Flowers

C Jocquell Johnson

RG Deion Calhoun

RT Martinas Rankin

Second Team Defense

DE Will Coleman

DT Nick James

DT Braxton Hoyett

DE Torrey Dale

LB J.T. Gray

LB DeAndre Ward

LB Gerri Green

CB Jamoral Graham

CB Chris Rayford

S Brandon Bryant

S Jahmere Irvin-Sills

Third Team Offense

QB Damian Williams

RB Aeris Williams

WR Donald Gray

WR Deddrick Thomas

WR Deshun Dixon

TE Rashun Dixon

LT Cole Carter

LG Michael Story

C Nick Proby

RG Jake Thomas

RT Ronald Cochran

Third Team Defense

DE Grant Harris

DT Cory Thomas

DT Lawrence Brown

DE Johnathan Calvin

LB Josiah Phillips

LB Kelan Chairs

LB Quadry Antoine

CB Brandon Davis

CB Boderick Oliver

S Zak Neary

S Hayes Walker


I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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