There are many reasons to believe Mississippi State will equal or exceed last season's success – 31 reasons, in fact. Here's Reason No. 7.
The biggest hole in MSU's offense when Dan Mullen arrived was at receiver. He had to rely heavily on freshmen in 2009, but now those freshmen are juniors and are joined by some other promising youngsters. There is experience and depth at wide receiver, finally.
The lead horse is Chad Bumphis, who's led the team in receiving each of his first two years in the program. But the former Tupelo standout has plenty of help in fellow juniors Arceto Clark, Brandon Heavens and Chris Smith. Clark is a fourth-year player who worked at defensive back for a while, but he came on strong last year, especially in big moments (362 yards, three touchdowns).
Bumphis and Heavens both play the inside receiver spot, with Bumphis the starter. The likely starters on the outside are Clark and Smith. Key reserves include sophomores Michael Carr and Ricco Sanders, the latter of which didn't catch a pass until the Gator Bowl – but it was a touchdown. And he's come in strong this offseason.
This year's receiving corps should give quarterback Chris Relf the chance to fully display the offseason improvement he has supposedly made. Mullen is going to prefer running first, but he now has much better options when the air game is called upon.
We will touch on these guys later in this series, but we mustn't forget that the passing game will be enhanced by the return of a healthy Marcus Green at tight end, and tailback LaDarius Perkins has proved a dangerous weapon out of the backfield.