By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
Chad Bumphis doesn’t talk much. That’s not to say he doesn’t like to talk. He does. In fact, he’s one of the best interviews on the team, and with the season he’s having for No. 15 Mississippi State, there’s plenty for him to talk about.
At the midway point of the regular season, he has 468 receiving yards and six touchdowns, and he’s averaging a career-high 16.7 yards per catch.
He’s already closing in on the numbers from his best season, in 2010: 634 yards and five TDs.
I can count on one hand the number of times we the media have spoken with Bumphis since preseason camp began. He’s a great quote, but he doesn’t seem to enjoy talking to us. Or maybe he doesn’t want the attention, the spotlight.
Doesn’t matter how little he talks, Bumphis is going to be written and talked about, because he deserves to be. One burning question entering the season was whether Bumphis would bounce back from a tough junior season and fulfill the potential we saw at Tupelo High School.
He’s answered that question resoundingly.
A guy who used to stockpile stats against weaker opponents has become Big-Game Bump. Take last week’s Tennessee game, when he sparked a last-minute TD drive to seal the 41-31 win.
On a third-and-7, Bumphis ran a sharp slant route and caught a Tyler Russell pass for the first down. A few plays later, he had a 23-yard gain. He finished with seven catches for 93 yards.
The week before, at Kentucky, he had nine catches for 104 yards. Last month at Troy, he had 180 yards and three TDs, including a grab in the back of the end zone to help clinch that win.
Some very tough defenses await Bumphis, so his book is not final. If he can come through against teams like Alabama, Texas A&M and LSU, he’ll end up with a season he can talk about for years to come.
By the way, I have no issue with Bumphis not talking to the media. That’s his choice. I’m not here to criticize.
I’m here to praise Bumphis for what he’s doing, which is bigger than perhaps we realize. State was without star tight end Malcolm Johnson until last week, and Jameon Lewis – a.k.a. Mr. Improv – has vanished again.
Arceto Clark was quiet for a stretch, and Chris Smith has lost two fumbles.
Bumphis has been that steadily productive presence. He has big-play ability and is clearly the best ball-catcher MSU has right now.
He’s worth talking about.
Brad Locke (firstname.lastname@example.org) covers Mississippi State for the Daily Journal and blogs daily at DJournal.com.