We come now to the third and final installment of my post-spring depth chart featurette, and it should be much shorter than the first two entries. We’re talking special teams today, which might not get your dander up as much as offense and defense do, but you know Dan Mullen believes strongly in excelling in this part of the game.
So let’s have a look-see.
• Placekicker: 1. Derek DePasquale (Sr.), 2. Brian Egan (So.).
DePasquale has been Mr. Consistency the past two years, making 20 of 24 field goals and 51 of 51 point-after kicks. He’s made some clutch kicks, too, like that game-tying 25-yarder at the end of regulation versus Arkansas last November.
DePasquale has showed surprising range as well. He was 2 of 3 from 40-49 yards last season, and he booted a 54-yarder and a 47-yarder in the Maroon-White game this spring.
Egan has a pretty powerful leg, too, and will probably handle kickoffs.
• Punter: 1. Baker Swedenburg (So.), 2. William Berg (Jr.).
Swedenburg has yet to see the field, but he was one of the country’s most highly rated punters his senior year at Heritage Academy (2008). Mullen wants to see more consistency out of Swedenburg, but he showed in the spring game what he’s capable of when he boomed a 63-yarder.
MSU was among the best in punt coverage last season – opponents averaged 1.6 yards per return, which tied for fourth in the SEC, and State’s 37.9-yard net punt average was also fourth.
I’ve got nothing on Berg. Sorry.
• Kick returns: 1. LaDarius Perkins (So.), 2. Jameon Lewis (RFr.).
These might be the two fastest guys on the team. They certainly can scoot. Last time he was clocked in the 40-yard dash (last spring), Perkins said he ran a 4.38, and he thinks he’s even faster now. From what we’ve seen of Lewis in practices, he looks to be a dynamic guy with the ball in his hands.
You might see sophomore Michael Carr in the mix here. He had a few returns late last season.
• Punt returns: 1. Brandon Heavens (Jr.), 2. Chad Bumphis (Jr.).
Eh, I’m not too sure about this position. Heavens could do well, but as someone on this blog noted earlier, Bumphis doesn’t seem too fond of contact. That’s probably why he’s averaged 8.7 yards per return the past two years with a long of 35 (vs. lowly Memphis) and no touchdowns. Not the game-breaker he was at Tupelo.