Optimistic Bulldogs report to camp

PRESCOTT

PRESCOTT

By Logan Lowery

Daily Journal

STARKVILLE – Football is back at Mississippi State.

The Bulldogs reported back Wednesday morning and will hit the practice fields at 4:45 p.m. today to begin fall camp.

“It’s good just to be back and have everybody in the room from the coaches all the way to the equipment guys,” said junior quarterback Dak Prescott. “It was a good start.”

Having Prescott back behind center is one of several reasons MSU fans have been optimistic about 2014. The Preseason All-SEC second team selection is one of 57 letterwinners and 18 starters returning from last year’s 7-6 squad.

Even with all the experience the Bulldogs have back, there is still plenty to be done in the next month in preparation for the season opener against Southern Miss on Aug. 30.

“It’s just the beginning of camp and we’ve got a lot to work on,” said junior cornerback Taveze Calhoun. “We’ve got to get our chemistry down but I feel good with the players we’ve got back. We’ve got a lot of talent and I think we can have a special year if we go to work every day.”

Although State is a veteran squad this season, Wednesday was the first team activity for 18 signees that join the roster for the first time this fall. Those players were fitted for equipment in preparation for their first practice.

“You can tell all the young guys are kind of anxious,” said senior guard Ben Beckwith. “For all the older guys, this is all routine. All the veterans are ready to get going to Game 1. Report day is exciting but everyone knows it’s about to be a battle out there.”

Who’s not there?

Not among the 105 players who reported were senior linebacker Ferlando Bohanna, senior safety Dee Arrington and redshirt freshman defensive end Trent Simpson.

Multiple concussions limited Bohanna to just the Bowling Green game last season, where he recorded one tackle. The 6-feet, 220-pounder from Memphis appeared in 23 games and made two starts during his career notching 36 tackles, one tackle for loss and recovering two fumbles.

A hamstring injury kept Arrington out of 10 games last fall as well as spring practice. The Wiggins native made 10 tackles, one for loss and forced a fumble in 2013. For his career, he made 35 tackles, one for loss and forced and recovered a fumble in 25 games.

Simpson signed with the Bulldogs in 2013 and redshirted last season.

The 6-foot-4, 277-pounder from Oxford, Ala., went through spring but a back injury suffered this summer has jeopardized his career.

All three players are eligible for a medical redshirt to return in 2015.

Signees Jordan Harris (offensive line), Lashard Durr (cornerback) and Ravian Pierce (tight end) were not among the 105 who reported on Wednesday.

logan.lowery@journalinc.com