STARKVILLE • Mississippi State must replace all four starters along its defensive line, and the race to be the next defensive tackle for the Bulldogs is wide open.
Jaden Crumedy may only be a redshirt freshman but he has as good as chance as any to stake a claim for that starting job in the trenches.
“I’m just trying to get better every day,” Crumedy said. “Everybody is competing for those spots, so I’m just doing what I can. I’m trying to be that next man up.”
Crumedy isn’t without experience at the college level. He played in two contests last season – Stephen F. Austin and Louisiana Tech – which helped him get over those early-game jitters.
“It really helped,” Crumedy said. “When I did get in, I was nervous and thinking about what I had to do too hard. I still made the best out of it though.
“I think now I’m more confident in what I’ll be able to do and more confident in myself.”
Crumedy spent most of his redshirt year learning to play inside. The 6-foot-5 former Oak Grove standout was a four-star defensive end in high school before bulking up to 300 pounds.
“I just sat at home and ate a lot and grew into a D-tackle,” Crumedy said.
The added size has Crumedy feeling stronger and he hopes to make the same type of impact he had as a high school senior in which he made 111 tackles, 28.5 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks.
Crumedy is not the only former Oak Grove defensive end on the MSU roster. Jack Harris has joined him in Starkville. Crumedy has taken his former high school teammate under his wing and is showing him the ropes at the college level.
“I knew Jack really well because he was on one side and I was on the other,” Crumedy said. “We still have good chemistry and I’m helping him as he gets better.”
The Hattiesburg native will get a chance to play against his hometown team on Sept. 7 as the Bulldogs host Southern Miss for their home opener.
“I’m really looking forward to that game and a lot of my family will be able to come to that game and see me play,” Crumedy said. “That’s against my hometown team too so that’ll be a good thing.”
Crumedy is currently working under a former Golden Eagle player and coach in Deke Adams, who joined State’s staff as defensive line coach in late Janunary.
“I like his style of play and coaching strategy,” Crumedy said. “He’s really been helping us and getting to know us as individuals.”
While Crumedy is just beginning his collegiate career, he could be a big part of the Bulldogs’ success along the defensive front for years to come.
“It’s been a fun experience,” Crumedy said. “I’ve been learning a lot of stuff and I’m ready to step foot on the field and do what I can.”