It's been a strange year of football for the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
There's been an unbelievable number of transfers and opt-outs – truly unreal turnover for one season has led them to really border the 53 scholarship threshold set out by the SEC coming into 2020. Last week in a loss to Georgia, they even played at under 50.
That said, the Bulldogs seem to be headed somewhat in the right direction ahead of the Egg Bowl. Here's three players from the other side to keep your eye on going into the most important game of the season.
1. Will Rogers, Fr. Quarterback No. 2
The quarterback position has been more questions than answers for State this season, but they seem to have settled on a true freshman from Brandon, Miss., Will Rogers, who has started the past two games and is 1-1 on the year.
In high school, Rogers played in a very similar offense to what is being run at MSU currently. Where he's at in his development has been greatly aided by that. He's honestly much further ahead than one would expect from a true freshman in Leach's system, something you saw last week against a really good Georgia defense.
"We haven’t seen a ton of deep balls from him, but his accuracy in the short and intermediate passing game is his bread and butter," said Ben Portony of the Columbus Dispatch. "Will can extend plays but he’s generally keeping his eyes downfield rather than looking to scramble for an extra five yards. At this point, he’s a bit of a game manager versus a guy that will go out and win you ball games, though he won’t necessarily lose you them either."
2. Erroll Thompson, Sr. Linebacker No. 40
With all due respect to Rogers and our No. 3 player, Thompson is hands down the best player on this list. Likely a mid-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Thompson anchors the center of the MSU defense. An instinctive interior linebacker who will hit you hard over the middle of the field, Thompson leads the team by a mile with 62 tackles on the year, adding 2.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and an interception on the season.
3. Jaden Walley, Fr. Wide Receiver No. 31
While Walley isn't the No. 1 Bulldog receiver, statistically, in 2020, he's the most interesting over the final few weeks. A true freshman, Walley mid-season started working his way into the lineup, having five straight weeks with at least two catches.
Against Georgia last week, Walley broke out to the tune of seven receptions for 115 yards and a score. Out of Biloxi, Miss., he seems to be Rogers' go-to guy.
Honorable Mention: Marquiss Spencer, Sr. Defensive End No. 42
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