MSU’s fingerprints on Super Bowl

Former Mississippi State and Shannon football player Arceto Clark, right, sits next to Seattle teammate Golden Tate at a New York Knicks game earlier this week. Clark is on the Seahawks' practice squad and has played a part in the team's preparation for tonight's Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Former Mississippi State and Shannon football player Arceto Clark, right, sits next to Seattle teammate Golden Tate at a New York Knicks game earlier this week. Clark is on the Seahawks’ practice squad and has played a part in the team’s preparation for tonight’s Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

By Logan Lowery

Daily Journal

Two Mississippi State alumni will take part in Super Bowl XLVIII at 5:30 p.m. today at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

Three former Bulldogs are on the Seattle Seahawks roster – two on the practice squad – while another will be wearing pinstripes on the officiating crew. Linebacker K.J. Wright is expected to start for the Seahawks, while wide receiver Arceto Clark and defensive tackle Dewayne Cherrington have helped Seattle prepare for today’s game.

Wright lettered from 2007-10 at MSU and has spent the last three seasons with Seattle. The Olive Branch native made 13 starts the season notching 82 tackles, five tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, four pass deflections and a fumble recovery.

Wright missed four games with a broken foot but returned for the NFC Championship game against San Francisco. He says his foot is fully healthy and understands how sound the defense will have to be against a veteran quarterback the caliber of Denver’s Peyton Manning.

“We have to stay disciplined and stay true to who we are,” Wright told Seahawks.com. “We can’t guess too much where he’s going to throw the ball and whenever he does throw it, we have to close on it and tackle really well. We can’t let them get yards after the catch.”

Clark, a former standout at Shannon High School, lettered for the Bulldogs in 2008 and 2010-12. He has had two stints on the Seahawks practice squad this season and one with the Cleveland Browns.

Cherrington lettered during the 2011-12 seasons at State after transferring in from Holmes Community College. The 6-foot-3, 335-pounder from Gwinnett, Ga., was added to the Seattle practice squad in late December after being released by New England.

Although Clark and Cherrington will not dress for today’s game, both played a vital role in preparing the starters to face the Broncos.

“If (the Seattle defenders) go out and do a good job, I’ll feel pretty good about myself,” Clark told the Associated Press.

Today will mark the 43rd Super Bowl in which at least one Bulldog has taken part in. In all, 31 former State players have participated in the Super Bowl.

FREEMAN

FREEMAN

Serving as back judge for Super Bowl XLVIII will be former Bulldog safety Steve Freeman. Freeman led Mississippi State in interceptions during the 1973 and 1974 seasons before playing 12 seasons in the NFL.

The 60-year old Freeman has been an NFL official since 2001 and his son, Brad, has followed in his footsteps working as field judge in the Southeastern Conference. The younger Freeman was also an outfielder on the 1997 and 1998 College World Series teams at MSU.

logan.lowery@journalinc.com