The all-time Mississippi State NFL team

Rick Gosselin

Fullback may be a dying position in the NFL.

But you can still find them at Mississippi State – and that’s where the NFL has always gone shopping for players at a position with no clear definition. There have been 10 fullbacks drafted from Mississippi State from as early as 1938 and as late as 2015.

Some evolve in the NFL into blockers, like Truett Smith (1938) and Malcolm Johnson (2015). Some evolve into pass catchers, like Justin Griffith (2003). Some evolve into runners, like Hoyle Granger (1966), Anthony Dixon (2010) and Vick Ballard (2012). And some evolve into special-teams aces, like Fred McCrary (1995) and Dennis McKinley (1999).

Granger was the most accomplished of the lot. He rushed for 1,194 yards and six touchdowns for the AFL Houston Oilers in his second season in 1966. He followed that up with an 848-yard, seven-touchdown season in 1967 and went to the AFL All-Star Game both seasons. He wound up playing seven seasons, rushing for 3,653 yards and 19 touchdowns.

The other nine fullbacks drafted from Mississippi State all played at least two seasons in the NFL (AFL) but only rushed for a combined 2,534 yards. Ballard chipped in 814 of those yards in 2012 for the Colts. Smith rushed for just one yard in his career and McKinley didn’t rush for any. Griffith led all of the Mississippi State fullbacks with 141 career catches.

Fullback is the position of greatest volume at Mississippi State. But when building the all-time Mississippi State NFL team, there’s plenty of quality elsewhere. Dak Prescott would be the quarterback, Eric Moulds would line up at wide receiver, defensive tackle would be imposing with current Pro Bowlers Fletcher Cox and Chris Jones and Joe Fortunato was a member of the 1950s NFL all-decade team at outside linebacker.

Here’s the all-time Mississippi State NFL team:

QB—Dak Prescott. 2 Pro Bowls, 2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of Year.

HB—Jerious Norwood. 6 seasons, 2,056 career yards, 10 TDs.

FB—Hoyle Granger. 2 Pro Bowls, 3,653 career yards, 19 touchdowns.

WR—Eric Moulds. 3 Pro Bowls, 12 seasons, 4 1,000-yard seasons.

WR—Chuck Gelatka. Pro Bowl, 4 seasons, NFL champion in 1938.

TE—Donald Lee. 10 seasons, 209 catches, 19 TDs.

OT—Tom Neville. Pro Bowl, 15 seasons, 1960s Patriots all-decade team.

OT—David Stewart. 9 seasons, 116 starts.

G—Randy Thomas. 11 seasons, 143 starts.

G—Gabe Jackson. 6 seasons, 83 starts.

C—Elgton Jenkins. Rookie starter for Green Bay in 2019.

DE—Preston Smith, 12 sacks for Green Bay in 2019.

DE—Pernell McPhee. 9 seasons, 34 sacks, Super Bowl ring.

DT—Fletcher Cox. 5 Pro Bowls, 8 seasons, 45 sacks.

DT—Chris Jones. Pro Bowl, 4 seasons, 33 sacks

OLB—Joe Fortunato. 1950s NFL all-de cade team.

MLB—D.D. Lewis, 14 seasons, 135 starts.

OLB—K.J. Wright. Pro Bowl 9 seasons, 855 tackles.

CB—Darius Slay. 3 Pro Bowls, 7 seasons, 19 interceptions.

CB—Walt Harris. Pro Bowl, 14 seasons, 35 interceptions.

S—Steve Freeman. 13 seasons, 23 interceptions, 3 TDs.

S—Bill Stacy. Pro Bowl, 5 seasons, 20 career interceptions.

P—Logan Cooke. Led NFL with 44.5-yard net average in 2019.

KR—Ode Burrell. 33 career kickoff returns, 25.4-yard average, 3 TDs.

ST—Fred McCrary, 15 special-teams tackles in 1999.

LS—Hunter Bradley. Long snapper for Green Bay since 2018.

Comments (2)
Christy M
Christy M

I hope some of those Mississippi State players get to read this article. A great tribute to the team and to the state of Mississippi.

No. 1-2
Rick Gosselin
Rick Gosselin


That defensive front seven could line up and compete in the NFL right now

NFL Stories