Mississippi State football players receive preseason honors

The votes are in and a trio of Mississippi State football players were selected as members of the 2020 Preseason Coaches All-Southeastern Conference Football Team, announced by the league on Thursday.

Preseason All-American running back Kylin Hill, who earned first-team honors, highlighted the Mississippi State selections. Linebacker Erroll Thompson earned second-team honors while defensive end Kobe Jones rounded out the selection with third-team honors.

Kylin Hill

It’s not shocked to see Hill make first-team honors as not only is he in the running for the Maxwell and Doak Walker awards, but he is also the league’s leading returning rusher from a season ago. Hill led the SEC in rushing in 2019 with 1,350 yards thanks to an SEC-best eight 100-yard rushing games. Hill capped off a dominant season finishing as just one of eight Power 5 running backs with 1,300-plus rushing yards and 10-plus rushing touchdowns.

Even under new air raid offense installed by head coach Mike Leach, huge things are expected from arguably the SEC’s top running back a season ago. Hill is expected to contribute a lot more in the passing game this season. Running backs coach Eric Mele talked about an earlier conversation with Hill with Cowbell Corner in May.

“I told him when we first got the job, I said, ‘Hey listen, you’re not going to lead the SEC in rushing this year,,” Mele said. “Let’s just get that out of the way. But you’ll probably lead the SEC in all-purpose yards though. That’s what we’re all about. We want yards on the ground and in the air.”

It’s not out of the question for Hill to have a 1,500-plus total yard season again in 2020. However, his stat line is most likely going to look a lot different. Instead of 1,300-plus yards on the ground and less than 200 through the air, expect more like a 1,100-yard rushing season at best with honestly a foreseeable 300-plus yard season in the passing game.

According to NflDraftScout.com, Hill comes into the season with a third-round NFL draft projection.

Erroll Thompson

Thompson enters the 2020 season as one of the most experienced defenders in the league, being the only SEC defender to enter the new season with 200 or more career tackles. Thompson led the Bulldogs last season with 84 total tackles and led all SEC linebackers with six quarterback hits.

Adding 6.5 career sacks to his impressive rap sheet, the Butkus Award candidate is the anchor for the Bulldog defense.

Kobe Jones

Defensive end Kobe Jones walks into his final season in Starkville as a leader on the defense with 70 total tackles, 18 tackles for loss and five sacks. Jones finished second on the team with four sacks, three of which came during the final three-game stretch of the season.

For Mississippi State football to realize its dreams of SEC glory, this trio of Bulldogs must live up to their potential and preseason hype. Each one has the ability and the capacity to have an incredible season, not only boosting their own NFL draft stock but possibly propelling them into Mississippi State football history.

Photo courtesy of MSU Athletic Communications