By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
There will be several vacancies in Mississippi State’s wide receivers corps next season, but some immediate help is on the way.
Of the 23 verbal commitments in MSU’s 2013 class, six are listed as wide receivers, and a handful of “athletes” could wind up at that position as well. That’s good, because four seniors – including All-SEC pick Chad Bumphis – are gone from last season’s 8-5 team.
Two of MSU’s wide receiver commits come from the junior college ranks: Jeremey Chappelle and Corey Smith. Chappelle (6-foot-2, 212 pounds) is already enrolled and will take part in spring practices.
Smith will arrive this summer, and he has a four-star rating from 247Sports.com. At 5-11, 185 pounds, he’s the smallest of what is, on the whole, a large group of receivers.
The average height of the other five receiver commits is 6-31⁄2, 201 pounds, and size is a character trait that’s been lacking in MSU’s receivers in recent years. It was a big reason the Bulldogs, while improving their passing game, didn’t stretch the field that often in 2012.
There is some size returning in the forms of Joe Morrow (6-4, 205) and Robert Johnson (6-1, 220). Also back is tight end Malcolm Johnson (6-2, 230), who averaged a team-leading 17.1 yards per catch.
The biggest receiver of MSU’s 2013 class is De’Runnya Wilson, of Wenonah School in Birmingham. He’s 6-5, 212, and is known for his physical play. He’s played some tight end and doesn’t mind blocking.
Wilson seems a willing learner. He’ll be under the tutelage of receivers coach Tim Brewster, who drew praise from MSU’s ball-catchers for his work last season after being hired in August.
“I will be doing all the things that coach Brewster teaches me,” Wilson told Bulldawgs247.com.
But any immediate receiver help is likely to come from the juco transfers.
Paul Jones, who covers MSU recruiting for Bulldawgs247, believes Smith could have the biggest impact this coming fall. A four-star prospect, Smith had 51 catches for 733 yards and nine touchdowns at East Mississippi Community College last season.
MSU coach Dan Mullen has talked with his junior college transfers about the need to come in and help out right away.
“One of the big things, and you talk about it … is with the junior college players you’re coming in as a veteran. You have to act like a junior, act in a leadership role,” Mullen said.