‘Tis the season for lists, those subjective efforts to quantify the importance of a player or coach or team or whatever. With preseason camp nearing, we will soon have some fresher material to work with and can mercifully put lists aside. … Yeah, sure.
Anyway, I’ve got a list for you today: MSU’s Five Most Important Offensive Players.
This is not a rank of the best offensive players, but simply the most important. I’ll try to explain and justify each player’s inclusion – again, it’s a subjective endeavor – and would like to see your own list. I went over this list on LockeDown Corner this morning, and I have modified it thanks to a strong point made by my co-host, Tabora Cook. So, LaDarius Perkins is not on this list not because he isn’t important, but more so because of how much depth there is behind him.
These five guys are in many ways irreplaceable, and thus the success of this season hinges in large part on how they perform. I present them in no particular order.
• QB Tyler Russell: This is an obvious choice. He’s the starting quarterback, he’s a fifth-year senior, he’s been rewriting the school record book, etc. The offense begins with Russell, and if he can build on last year’s showing, he’ll be one of the SEC’s best.
• LT Blaine Clausell: This position has been a trouble spot for MSU ever since Derek Sherrod left after the 2010 season. Clausell, a fourth-year junior, has been inconsistent and let Russell take too many hits last season. He wasn’t the only tackle guilty of mediocre play, but seeing as he is supposed to protect Russell’s blind side, Clausell’s level of play simply has to be higher. Just imagine what kind of damage Russell could do to defenses if he wasn’t getting pounded into the turf all the time.
• LG Gabe Jackson: The senior is MSU’s best lineman and arguably the best player on the team. He anchors a solid interior line and will lead the way for a stable of running backs, whose production should only help Russell be more effective as a passer.
• WR Jameon Lewis: This is who got Perkins’ spot on this list. Entering his junior season, it’s time for Lewis to fulfill the potential we’ve seen in flashes. Over the last two seasons, the 5-foot-9, 195-pound speedster has recorded just 17 catches for 251 yards and a touchdown. Now he steps into the slot receiver role vacated by Chad Bumphis, and a receiving corps that lost all three starters from last year needs someone like Lewis to step into a lead role. If his performance in spring ball is any indication, Lewis might be ready to do just that.
• QB Dak Prescott: I know, Prescott isn’t a starter, but hear me out. One wrong step or one big hit could sideline Russell, and then the offense is suddenly in the hands of Prescott, a third-year sophomore. He’s got some experience and has shown promise as both a passer and runner, and this offense suits his skill set perfectly. Prescott will see the field to some extent this season, but he’ll continue to prepare the same way he did last year – as if the next game belongs to him.