Mississippi State Recruiting: Alabama’s Mr. Football has Bulldogs on top

Mississippi State Football 2017 Match Preview Prediction and Players: For the past 34 years, the Alabama Sports Writers Association had bestowed the top senior in the state with the Mr. Football award. No, being a senior was not a prerequisite for winning the state’s highest honor, but that’s the way it had played out since the first Mr. Football was named in 1982.

It was a foregone conclusion: If you won Mr. Football, you were a senior. But then again, no junior in the state of Alabama has ever shone as brightly as Beauregard running back La’Damian Webb. Webb, who in 2016 set a single-season state record for rushing touchdowns and led the Hornets to their first state championship, was named the 35th winner of the Mr. Football award at the ASWA’s annual Player of the Year Awards luncheon, presented by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association on Wednesday. Mississippi State already has former four-star tailbacks Aeris Williams and Nick Gibson in the backfield. Alec Murphy and Dontavian Lee are also on the roster. Kylin Hill is next in line to take carries, but you can’t ever have enough talented ball carriers in your program.

Mississippi State Football 2017 Match and Preview

Mississippi State Football 2017

That is part of what makes La’Damian Webb, a three-star running back out of Beauregard High in Alabama, such a vital part of MSU’s recruiting efforts this cycle, according to those close to the program. While Webb can take some punishment, brute power isn’t his game. At 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, Webb is a priority for the Bulldogs for his speed and his elusive make-you-miss style. Around his hometown, some refer to him as “Butterbean.”

Webb is also known as Mr. Football. He became the first junior to ever capture that yearly state honor after he set a single-season Alabama record for rushing touchdowns (47) and led his team to a state title in 2016. He rushed for 3,242 yards, which ranks second in Alabama history. MSU wants Webb. If Webb were to commit to the Bulldogs, MSU likely wouldn’t take another running back for the class, according to sources close to the situation. East Marion’s Jarveon Howard and Hattiesburg’s Fabian Franklin are among the in-state targets at the position.

Mississippi State Football 2017 Schedule

Mississippi State is competing with Missouri, Webb added, but the Bulldogs likely have the edge at the moment, sources close to Webb said. Webb has traveled to Starkville once and he said he probably would not attend Big Dawg Camp next month, but look for MSU to try and change that. Mississippi State coaches saw Webb during the spring. “It’s been pretty good so far,” Webb said. “I really like the relationship with Dan Mullen and coach Greg Knox because he is a very good guy with a very open personality. I like the campus and coach D.J. Looney has a good relationship with each other also.”

If the Bulldogs’ offensive line can make up for the loss of two starters and reliable running options other than Fitzgerald materialize, Mississippi State’s offense could well be one of the best in the SEC in 2017, while a more mature defense should ensure improvement. Whether that’s enough to ascend a rung or two in the SEC West remains to be seen. The state will host LSU, Alabama and Egg Bowl rival Ole Miss, but must hit the road for matchups with SEC East favorite Georgia, Auburn, Texas A&M, Arkansas and an early showdown with Louisiana Tech, which won nine games a season ago. Mullen ought to add to his school-record bowl streak, but eight wins are likely the ceiling in Starkville this year.

Mississippi State Football 2017, Mullen tapped former Louisville defensive coordinator Todd Grantham to serve as the Bulldogs’ fourth DC in as many seasons. That lack of continuity hasn’t been easy for State, which ranked 12th in the SEC in total defense (459.1 yards per game) and 13th in scoring (31.8) in 2016. Grantham, who engineered a defense at UofL that ranked 14th nationally last season, and a host of help in the form of JUCO signees and highly-rated freshman linebacker Willie Gay offer hope for a turnaround. On offense, the Bulldogs must replace leading receiver Fred Ross, though Donald Gray (41 catches, 709 yards, five touchdowns) should be the next man up. Source Link

 

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