STARKVILLE, Miss. (WLBT) - Things could not have gone any better for Mississippi State in the first year under defensive coordinator Bob Shoop.
The Bulldogs were ferocious on defense last season, ranking first in total defense in the country. A big part of that was a stout defensive line that averaged three sacks while allowing under 100 rushing yards per game. However, the familiar faces from that unit are gone with senior defensive tackle Lee Autry and senior defensive end Fletcher Adams - who combined for three total starts in 2018 -- being the two most experienced returnees.
“Now I’m the big guy,” said Autry. “So I have to do my best every time I go out on the field.”
The Bulldogs spent the last year trying to give Autry some help in recruiting, adding freshmen Nathan Pickering, De’Monte Russell and Ani Izuchukwu who were all rated as four-star prospects by 247sports.com. Shoop hopes that those new faces, plus a few transfers, can pick up right where last year’s defensive line left off.
“You can’t Can’t just replace six seniors with six or you just regurgitate the same problem again,” Shoop said of recruiting. “It’s just building that thing up and one of the things that’s unique in the state of Mississippi is certainly the junior college system
“Our recruiting people do such a good job with our personnel.”