By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – With two-a-days under way, Mississippi State’s freshmen are facing their toughest tests yet.
Whoever can come out the other side better for it will only help their odds of playing this fall instead of redshirting. Under Dan Mullen, only a handful of freshmen each year find the field. Three did so last season: Dee Arrington, P.J. Jones and Preston Smith.
That number could be higher this season, Mullen said Wednesday.
“I see us probably playing a couple more than that. But that is the pure guesstimate at this point,” he said. “Who they are at this point I have no idea. I think the fact we have 27 juniors and seniors on the team, we’re going to need some young guys to play for us.”
Mullen originally signed 28 to the 2012 class, but two of them transferred out over the summer, and two more never made it to campus. Still, 24 is a good-sized class, and there are several good candidates to log immediate playing time.
Defensive tackle Quay Evans is certainly expected to get quite a few snaps. The Morton native, who was the consensus No. 1 prospect in the state last year, enrolled in January and went through spring drills with MSU.
Other freshmen who could play: include kicker Devon Bell, linebacker Richie Brown, athlete Brandon Holloway and defensive tackle Nick James.
“If everybody redshirts over a five-year span, I guess you’re looking at 18 to 20 would be a normal signing class,” Mullen said. “That probably helps it. But again, it is all judged on who is ready to go on the field. We’re not going to put guys on the field until they’re ready to play.”
MSU will also have two-a-day practices on Friday, Monday and Wednesday.