Spring non-QB position battle: Mississippi State tight ends

Farrod Green led Mississippi State tight ends with a modest 121 yards receiving last season. Photograph by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire

With spring practice underway throughout most of the SEC, we’re taking a closer look this week at the league’s most interesting position battles. The series continues today with a preview of Mississippi State's tight ends.

Departed: None

Spring contenders: Redshirt sophomore Farrod Green, junior Justin Johnson, redshirt freshman Dontea Jones, redshirt freshman Christian Roberson, senior Jordan Thomas.

Summer contenders: N/A

The skinny: Make no mistake, Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen has big plans for his tight ends this season.

The goal: “To become playmakers,” he said.

And that means Farrod Green, Jordan Thomas and Justin Johnson combining for more than the 25 catches and two touchdowns they had last season. It might even mean redshirt freshmen Dontea Jones and Christian Roberson getting into the mix as well.

“We had a really young group last year,” Mullen told reporters of his tight ends this spring. “We’ve got a couple of guys that have played some football now. We have to use it. We have some great mismatches there with size and athleticism, and they have to become a bigger part of our offense and become get-it-to guys that we’re trying to get the ball instead of two guys that are learning and doing their job where they’re becoming more star players on the team.”

In Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State has its starting quarterback. But with star receiver Fred Ross now gone, there’s an opportunity to pick up those missing receptions.

With so many big, athletic tight ends on the roster, there’s an opportunity for Mullen to expand the offense and create mismatches in the short to intermediate passing game.

Prediction: Green and Thomas are the likely candidates to start here. Both have good speed and can stretch the field, which has been an element at the position Mississippi State has been missing. With that said, while having a feature tight end here would maybe be ideal, chances are we’ll see more of a rotation, given the numbers Mullen has recruited there the lasts few years.