By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Dan Mullen’s fourth year as a head coach begins today.
On Wednesday, Mississippi State players reported for preseason camp, which begins this afternoon with a closed practice. Over the next four-plus weeks, the Bulldogs will prepare for the coming season, which kicks off Sept. 1 at home against Jackson State.
Most players have already been on campus, with most of the freshmen enrolling in classes in June. A handful of newcomers enrolled in January and participated in spring drills.
Two signees won’t be on the roster this fall: athlete Kivon Coman and receiver Artimas Samuel, who are likely headed to Hargrave Military Academy.
Both players told Bulldawgs247.com that they plan to sign with MSU again in December and enroll in January.
The updated 105-man roster is expected to be released today.
MSU enters camp with a handful of positions still unsettled. On offense, Blaine Clausell and Damien Robinson are trying to lock down starting jobs at the tackle spots, while tailbacks LaDarius Perkins and Nick Griffin continue to run neck-and-neck.
On defense, Ferlando Bohanna and Benardrick McKinney are locked in a battle to take over at middle linebacker. Freshman Quay Evans will be fighting sophomore Curtis Virges for snaps at defensive tackle.
Clear No. 1
One position that is settled, for once, is quarterback. Tyler Russell is the clear No. 1 after splitting time the past two years with Chris Relf. Russell, a fourth-year junior, is expected to make State a more productive passing team.
Russell and redshirt freshman Dak Prescott are the only two scholarship QBs on the roster after signee Nick Schuessler transferred to Clemson a few weeks ago. At least two walk-on quarterbacks will be here this fall, Jamil Golden (Memphis Ridgeway) and Steven Swindle (Oak Grove).
MSU went 7-6 last season, defeating Wake Forest in the Music City Bowl. Mullen is 21-17 in three years at State, including 9-15 in SEC play.
There is a lot of expectation surrounding this year’s squad, which might be the most talented and deepest under Mullen. Fans can get a peek at the Bulldogs on Saturday when a pair of split-squad practices will be open to the public.
All other practices this month will be closed to both the public and media.