HOOVER, Ala. • There were a lot of expectations placed upon Mississippi State’s tight ends last year based on Joe Moorhead’s track record of featuring the position in the passing game.
But Bulldog tight ends only averaged 2.5 catches and 31.2 yards per game in 2018 and accounted for just two touchdowns all year.
“It didn’t pan out that way but that was our first year in coach Moorhead’s offense,” said MSU senior tight end Farrod Green. “This year there will be a lot more touches to the tight ends.”
Although MSU lost its top tight end target in Justin Johnson, who caught 17 passes for 238 yards and a score last season, the Bulldogs believe in the talent they are bringing back.
“This is my fifth year at Mississippi State and this is the most all-around talent in the (tight end) room that I’ve ever been around,” Green said. “Everybody in the room could start today. Brad Cumbest, (Geor’quarius) Spivey, Powers Warren and Dontea Jones, all of us bring something different to the table and we’re a very loaded group.”
Green stated that the offense will feature more two tight end sets this season in an effort to get more of that talent onto the field at the same time and create advantageous match-ups against the defense.
Two three-star members of Mississippi State’s signing class – offensive tackle Brandon Cunningham and safety Collin Duncan – have enrolled for the second summer term along with Kansas State graduate transfer wide receiver Isaiah Zuber.
Zuber is back healthy after undergoing hip surgery in the spring and is expected to contribute at multiple receiver positions as well as in the return game.
“When you look at his film from Kansas State, he played some slot and he played some outside,” Moorhead said. “I think instead of pigeon-holing yourself into the X, the Z, and the slot, he’s a guy who has been able to play all three positions and allows you a little more opportunity to get your best three on the field.”
The lone signee that has yet to arrive in Starkville is three-star running back Kareem Walker. The former Michigan transfer is finishing up his academic requirements at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas and Moorhead expects him to be in for fall camp.
The Bulldogs bring back three starters along the offensive line but none are expected to start at the same position this fall.
Senior Darryl Williams made the move from left guard to center during the spring. Junior Greg Eiland also shifted from left tackle to right tackle while junior Stewart Reese slid inside to right guard after starting at right tackle the past two seasons.
“We’re gelling real well,” Williams said. “I think our guys are going to excel at their new spots and I’m looking forward to the challenge with those guys.”
Williams mentioned that he is in constant communication with Elgton Jenkins, who made a similar transition to center last season and was a second round pick by the Green Bay Packers.