STARKVILLE – Mississippi State has used six true freshmen so far this season with several making key contributions.
Defensive lineman Chris Jones, cornerback Tolando Cleveland, running back Ashton Shumpert, quarterback Damian Williams along with wide receivers De’Runnya Wilson and Fred Ross have all seen the field this fall.
Jones and Wilson made their presence known Saturday night in a 59-26 loss to LSU. Jones, a Houston native, notched four solo tackles including two stops for loss and his first career sack, while Wilson hauled in two passes for 80 yards including a 59-yard touchdown.
“It was good to see those guys start to grow,” said MSU coach Dan Mullen. “De’Runnya is starting to get better and starting to learn the game. Chris is obviously a guy with a lot of athletic potential and a very talented athlete. But you can see he’s still learning the fundamentals of how to be a good every down football player.”
Shumpert has also had an impact this year. The former Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year from Itawamba AHS has 128 yards and two touchdowns on 29 attempts in the three outings in which he has a carry.
“He’s our third-leading rusher and has the second most carries,” Mullen said. “As a true freshman coming in, he’s done a good job. He’s obviously been accelerated playing as a freshman. He’s getting the ball in his hands and learning how to be a back with pass protections, blocking and carrying out fakes.”
Former four-star prospect Will Redmond will be eligible to play in his first collegiate game this weekend.
The sophomore cornerback was suspended for the first 18 games of his career by the NCAA for receiving impermissible benefits during his recruitment.
“Will’s been a good student, worked hard and done everything he’s supposed to do during his time here,” Mullen said. “Now he gets the opportunity to finally go play. I’m really proud of the way he’s handled the whole situation.”
MSU picked up its 18th commitment for the 2014 recruiting class as Petal wide receiver Jesse Jackson pledged his services to the Bulldogs on Monday.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound three-star prospect also had offers from Alabama, Auburn, Missouri, Ole Miss and Southern Miss.
“Out of all the schools that recruited me, I looked at the coaches and how I was with them and how I got along with their players,” Jackson told Bulldawg247.com. “I looked at that a lot and every time I went to Mississippi State, I would get there early so I could check out the atmosphere and the school.
“Another reason was because of education, and I want to major in engineering and Mississippi State has the best school for that major.”