Mississippi State football depth chart released

Game week is upon us and Mississippi State football released the depth chart for its Week 1 matchup against the defending national champion LSU Tigers. New head coach Mike Leach hopes to kick off the 2020 season in dramatic fashion attempting to knock off the No. 6 ranked Tigers in Death Valley, but who is a part of the traveling Bulldogs squad?

Both Mississippi State and LSU’s depth charts look very different than the previous ones a season ago. Last year Heisman trophy winning LSU quarterback Joe Burrow picked apart the Bulldogs in a 36-13 victory, but this year Ed Orgeron is sending out junior Myles Brennan, a former four-star recruit by Rivals.com from the state of Mississippi.

The new depth chart reveals the lack of experience for Mississippi State. The Bulldogs have seven new starters on offense and almost an entirely new secondary on defense. Three of the new starters on offense come on the offensive line, making them a must-watch and very vulnerable position group this season.

Here’s a look at what Mississippi State football’s season-opening depth chart looks like:


No real big surprises here as Mike Leach has described the starting quarterback job as a battle all offseason. It is somewhat surprising to see Stanford graduate transfer K.J. Costello and true freshmen Will Rodgers listed as co-starters, but it’s hard not to imagine seeing Costello make his first start for the Maroon and White this Saturday.

Depth chart

  1. K.J. Costello (SR) or Will Rodgers (FR)

Running Backs

Definitely no surprises here as senior Kylin Hill returns as the SEC’s leading returning rusher a season ago. Hill is expected to be a much larger focal point in the passing game under the new air raid offense. Up and coming freshmen Jo’Quavious Marks and Dillon Johnson follow Hill on the depth chart. Look to see Marks and Johnson get a lot of touches in garbage time as the new coaching staff will look to develop their young talent.

Depth chart

  1. Kylin Hill (SR), 2. Jo’Quavious Marks (FR), 3. Dillon Johnson (FR) or Lee Witherspoon (SO)

Wide Receivers

The wide receivers may very well end up being the most important position group under Leach’s air raid offense in which they will deploy two slot receivers in senior Javonta Payton and junior Austin Williams. Former Alabama transfer Tyrell Shavers pushed Osirus Mitchell out of his starting spot in what was a fierce training camp battle, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it somewhat continues into the regular season.

Big things are expected from each and every one of these receivers as without consistent performances it could be a long season for the Bulldogs.

Depth chart

Z Receiver: 1. Tyrell Shavers (JR), 2. Osirus Mitchell (SR) or Caleb Ducking (JR) or Dontea Jones (SR)

H Receiver: 1. Javonta Payton (SR), 2. Geor’quarius Spivey (SO) or Garret Shrader (SO)

X Receiver: 1. Malik Heath (JR) or Cameron Gardner (SO), 2. Lideatrick Griffin (FR)

Y Receiver: 1. Austin Williams (JR), 2. Jaden Walley (FR)

Offensive Line

Three new starters on the offensive line spells trouble for the Bulldog offense. After a stellar season blocking for star running back Kylin Hill, the new offensive line will be tasked more frequently with protecting their signal-caller. A couple of position switches were made during the offseason as senior Greg Eiland switched from right tackle to left guard and senior Dareuan Parker switched from left guard to right guard.

Pass protection will be key in Leach’s offense and we shall see if the 2020 offensive line is up to the task.

Depth chart

Left Tackle: 1. Charles Cross (FR), 2. Kameron Jones (SO)

Left Guard: 1. Greg Eiland (SR), 2. LaQuinston Sharp (SR)

Center: 1. Cole Smith (SO), 2. James Jackson (JR)

Right Guard: 1. Dareuan Parker (SR), 2. Brandon Cunningham (FR)

Right Tackle: 1. Kwatrivous Johnson (SO), 2. Scott Lashley (SR)

Defensive Line

The defensive line is one of the more experienced groups returning for the Bulldogs with a pair of seniors at the defensive end spots. Senior Kobe Jones headlines the group as a third-team Preseason Coaches All-SEC selection.

Depth chart

Defensive End: 1. Kobe Jones (SR), 2. Jack Harris (SO)

Nose Guard: 1. Jaden Crumedy (SO), 2. Nathan Pickering (SO), 3. Cameron Young (SO)

Defensive End: 1. Marquiss Spencer (SR), 2. Aaron Odom (JR)


The linebackers feature the heart of the defensive in the SEC’s leading returning tackler Erroll Thompson. The starting linebackers are also joined by the former No. 1 junior college inside linebacker, per 247Sports, Tyrus Wheat.

Depth chart

Sam Linebacker: 1. Tyrus Wheat (JR), 2. Jordan Davis (JR)

Weak Side Linebacker: 1. Aaron Brule (SO), 2. Jett Johnson (SO) or Rodney Groce Jr. (FR)

Middle Linebacker: 1. Erroll Thompson (SR), 2. Nathaniel Watson (SO)


Depth and experience are severely lacking in the secondary for Mississippi State. After losing both starters last year, the Bulldogs look to their inexperienced youth to come in and get the job down and pray for no serious injuries.

Depth chart

Cornerback: 1. Esaias Furdge (SO), 2. Emmanuel Forbes (FR)

Cornerback: 1. Martin Emerson (SO), 2. Decamerion Richardson (FR)


The Bulldogs have reliable veterans at two of their safety positions, but all eyes will be on walk-on junior Londyn Craft to see if he can live up to the likes of other former great Mississippi State safeties. Marcus Murphy and Fred Peters will look to build on their impressive collegiate careers and may end up looking pro at the end of the season.

Depth chart

Free Safety: 1. Fred Peters (SR), 2. Collin Duncan (SO)

Strong Safety: 1. Londyn Craft (JR), 2. Dylan Lawrence (FR)

Bulldog Safety: 1. Marcus Murphy (JR), 2. Shawn Preston (SO)

Special Teams

Arizona State graduate transfer kicker Brandon Ruiz won his job and looks to build off of an impressive kicking career with the Sun Devils. After all the drama of where he would transfer to, it is refreshing to have a former preseason Lou Groza Award watchlist nominee to be kicking field goals and kicking off for the Bulldogs this season.

Depth chart

Kicker: 1. Brandon Ruiz (JR), 2. Jace Christmann (SR) or Nolan McCord (FR)

Punter: 1. Tucker Day (JR) or Reed Bowman (SR)

Kickoff Specialist: 1. Brandon Ruiz (JR), 2. Scott Goodman (JR) or Tucker Day (JR)

Long Snapper: 1. Paul Blackwell (SR), 2. Hayes Hammond (FR) or Colby Cox (FR)

Holder: 1. Reed Bowman (SR), 2. Tucker Day (JR)

Kick Returner: 1. Javonta Payton (SR) or Jo’Quavious Marks (FR)

Punter Returner: 1. Austin Williams (JR), 2. Lee Witherspoon (SO)

Photo courtesy of MSU Athletic Communications