Right now MSU is in full swing with Spring Practice and the starting positions for 2013 are starting to become a bit clearer. By no means are my roster assumptions set in stone. There are also some guys coming in this summer who have the opportunity to make some noise and potentially crack the starting lineup like Fred Ross. When I do this, I’m using my best guess as to who the offensive starters will be. I’m also basing my position grades of same, upgrade, or downgrade based on who they replaced from last year or if returning starters have much more ceiling to improve. This is a fun debate topic that everyone will have different ideas on.
QB Tyler Russell (SAME)- After a solid JR year (2,897 yards 24 td) you have to wonder how much improvement Russell can make. Tyler has the tools to take it to the next level but he needs to prove it on the field. If he does give us an “upgrade” type year we should notice it in the win column.
RB Ladarius Perkins (SAME)- I have LP rated as “same” because he ran for 1,024 yards last year with 8 tds. That is a great year in my mind and I don’t know how much more he can do. I will admit that he could have been an “upgrade” if I had full faith that he would be utilized better as a receiver but that’s not in his control.
WR Robert Johnson (UPGRADE)- This one is simple. With his size, athleticism, and hands there wasn’t a single starting WR last year with his tools and he has looked good this spring. A legitimate NFL talent.
WR Joe Morrow (SAME)- Joe has all the things you can’t teach to be a huge upgrade from anyone we had starting last year but he has to gain that confidence and show it. I’m also not 100% sold that he holds off Michael Carr.
WR Jameon Lewis (UPGRADE)- Another slightly controversial grade. This one is simple to me. We all loved Bumphis but he just isn’t as electric with the ball in his hands. Jameon is getting a ton of targets from Russell in practice and if that continues in the fall, we will see more big plays out of the slot.
TE Malcolm Johnson (SAME)- This one is debatable. My reasoning is that he and Marcus Green’s combined numbers were 28 rec and 8 td. I’m not sold on that Malcolm will get enough targets for his 2013 to be and “upgrade” from the 2012 TE numbers. I think he is a better player than Green but duplicating 8 td catches will be tough and improving on that will be even harder.
LT Blaine Clausell (UPGRADE)- When you look at Blaine’s jump from his Rfr to his Soph year, it was pretty significant, particularly his pass blocking. I think we see more improvement in the pass blocking and a noticeably better run blocking year from him. Not yet All-SEC contender but a better Blaine.
G Gabe Jackson (UPGRADE)- Gabe passed on the NFL last year and returned for his senior year. In spring practice he has looked like a mauler. It’s his last year and the potential money he stands to make drives more improvement. We should see the best we’ve seen of Gabe.
C Dillon Day (UPGRADE)- I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed watching Dillion this spring. He’s taken his game to the next level and he has embraced a leadership role. I think we see Dillion get some All-SEC looks next year if he performs like he’s capable of.
G Justin Malone (DOWNGRADE)- I’m going to first admit that I’m being really tough here. I really like Malone as a player and he has a very high ceiling. I’m basing this of off that you could tell a big difference when Tobias Smith was in the game last year. I think Justin has the potential to blow this grading up and I hope he does. Hopefully he’ll read this, get angry, and make me look like a moron. I’ll welcome it and give him his proper shine.
RT Charles Siddoway (UPGRADE)- Last year we saw the tough transition from Juco to SEC ball. I think Charles played pretty well. What many don’t know is that he played most of the year with torn tendons in both feet. He showed big time toughness last year and I’m banking on a healthy Siddoway in 2013 playing like he feels which is hopefully much better.