Bulldog notes: Forbes honored again and new rankings for baseball and hoops

A quick look at tidbits from around MSU athletics
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Mississippi State football's Emmanuel Forbes keeps adding accolades as a result of his impressive debut season and new rankings were revealed for baseball and women's basketball. In part courtesy of State media relations, here's a quick look at a few items of note around MSU athletics from Monday:

Freshman All-American times two

Mississippi State’s standout defensive back Emmanuel Forbes has earned his second Freshman All-America honor, as one of nine true freshmen tabbed to the Football Writers’ Association of America’s defensive team.

Forbes and Jaden Walley both earned postseason honors in 2020, after Walley was named a second-team Freshman All-American by The Athletic. It marks the first time in program history that multiple MSU freshmen have earned Freshman All-American accolades in the same season.

Forbes joins Martin Emerson as the last two Bulldogs to earn rookie All-American distinction at defensive back and his selection gives MSU seven total since 2012. That list includes three current student-athletes: Forbes, Walley and Emerson along with Jace Christmann (2016) and Leo Lewis (2016) and NFL All-Pro selections Benardrick McKinney (2012) and Chris Jones (2013).

The Grenada, Mississippi, native is already tied for the Bulldogs’ career record with three interception return touchdowns. He led the SEC with five interceptions in 11 games in 2020, which ranked third in the FBS. He closed the season as the SEC’s active career leader in defensive touchdowns.

Forbes is the first Bulldog with five or more interceptions in a season since Mark McLaurin tied the school record with six in 2017 and became the first MSU defender with two interceptions in a game since McLaurin had three in the 2017 TaxSlayer Bowl.

Forbes picked off Missouri quarterback Connor Bazelak twice in the regular season finale, returning one 29 yards for a touchdown. He also picked off Texas A&M's Kellen Mond and raced 60 yards for a score. In State’s bowl game he took a pick back 90 yards for a touchdown, which is tied for the sixth-longest interception return in school history with Anthony Derricks' 90-yard return against Auburn on Nov. 1, 1997. He is the first MSU defender with multiple interception returns for a touchdown since Corey Broomfield (2) in 2009.

For the season, Forbes finished with 44 tackles, five interceptions, six pass breakups and 0.5 tackles for loss. He piled up a season-best eight stops against Auburn and totaled seven tackles versus Missouri to close out the SEC schedule. His 701 defensive snaps played ranked fourth nationally among true freshmen defenders.

Top-10 Diamond Dogs

The Mississippi State baseball program is now 3-for-3 on the preseason rankings front, as D1Baseball has tabbed the program as the No. 7 team in the country entering the 2021 campaign. State now owns top-15 rankings from each of the three publications that have announced a preseason poll for the upcoming season.

While D1Baseball has been around since 2003 as a one-stop-shop for scores and standings, the site began its dedicated coverage of college baseball in 2015. That season the site announced its first preseason poll and State has found itself among the top 25 in five of its seven preseason rankings.

The 2021 ranking is the highest for the Dawgs by the publication and marks the fourth straight season MSU will begin the year among the preseason top 25 per D1Baseball, with each of those a top 15 ranking.

The poll includes eight other SEC teams, led by preseason No. 1 Florida, No. 4 Vanderbilt, No. 6 Ole Miss and No. 8 Arkansas, giving the conference five of the top 10 teams entering the season. LSU (No. 12), South Carolina (No. 18), Tennessee (No. 19) and Auburn (No. 22) give the SEC nine of the top 25 teams, the most among any conference in college baseball. The ACC (7) and Big 12 (5) are next among the conferences in total teams ranked.

Women's basketball falls in AP poll

Following a 69-41 loss at Texas A&M on Sunday, Mississippi State women's basketball fell five spots in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll. The Bulldogs dropped from No. 14 down to No. 19.

MSU is in the midst of an 11-day stretch without a game. The Bulldogs are scheduled to return to the court on January 28 when they play host to currently-No. 4 South Carolina.

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