A handful of Mississippi State offensive and defensive standouts received recognition on the 2021 PFF All-SEC Teams, according to Pro Football Focus.
Five Bulldogs received recognition on the first, second and third teams, while one received an honorable mention. The news came as a pleasant surprise to the team, which finished the season with a 7-5 record and is awaiting a postseason bowl berth. Most of the Bulldogs who were named to one of the teams are young and show a lot of promise for the future--something that all MSU fans should be excited for.
Left tackle Charles Cross was the only Bulldog to be named to the first team. This season, the redshirt sophomore has been a standout on the offensive line and has contributed greatly to the success of the offense. Cross has the second-best pass blocking grade in the SEC at 86.2, and he also has an 85.4 run-blocking grade, which is fifth-best in the conference. Cross is projected to be a first-round draft pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Tulu Griffin was recognized as a kick returner on the PFF All-SEC second team. Griffin has excelled at times as a receiver, but his ability to return kickoffs is what he is best at. The sophomore has had a total of 439 return yards and has added one touchdown. The lone score came on a 100-yard return against NC State on Sept. 11 and was one of the highlights of the season for the Bulldogs.
Three Bulldogs were named to the PFF All-SEC third team. The first of these players was sophomore quarterback Will Rogers. Rogers started every game this season and received many accolades for his performance in the Air Raid offense. This season, he was 473-of-630 passing for 4,449 yards with 35 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Rogers leads the entire nation in completion percentage and is tied for second in total passing yards.
Redshirt junior Jett Johnson has made great improvements this season and was deservedly named to the third team. The linebacker has accounted for 84 total tackles and six tackles-for-losses. Johnson has also added one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and an interception through 12 games. Johnson has quickly become one of the best players on the tough Mississippi State defense.
Cornerback Martin Emerson was the third and final Bulldog named to the All-SEC third team. As a junior, Emerson has totaled 49 tackles and three tackles-for-losses on the season. He has three passes broken up and two deflected as well. Emerson emerged as a strong leader for all MSU cornerbacks and has shown vast improvement as he has gotten older.
One Bulldog was given an honorable mention-- center Laquinston Sharp. Sharp has been extremely valuable blocking on the offensive line, and he made very few mistakes when snapping the ball to his quarterback. The senior and SEC graduate has likely finished his career in maroon and white, but this recognition is a great way to go out.