The top 10 players returning to the Mississippi State Bulldogs for the 2020 college football season.
Important to note that this list is based upon last year's data and film from on each specific team as well as judgment based upon the player's position both his skill and the level of talent around him at the said position and influential cohorts. Positional value also plays a large factor in these rankings as does the offensive or defensive scheme.
1. Kylin Hill, RB
2. Errol Thompson, LB
3. K.J. Costello, QB*
4. Osirus Mitchell, WR
5. Tyler Williams, CB
6. Dareuan Parker, G
7. Marquiss Spencer, DE
8. Kobe Jones, DE
9. Martin Emerson, CB
10. Stewart Reese, G
Honorable Mention: Austin Williams, WR
Even in a Mike Leach offense, Hill is the top returning player for this Bulldogs team because of his all-around ability with the ball in his hands. Hill hauled in 18 catches a season ago for 180 yards and did a ton of damage after the catch. He's as sure-handed as they come with the ball as well and he should continually make defenders miss whether he comes away with the ball through the air or on the ground.
Costello is a bit of a cheat here but since he's technically 'returning' to action this year, he's classified in as a returner here. He looked every bit like a top NFL draft prospect at times during his career at Stanford and he really performs well from within structure and when kept clean from pressure. He'll dot perfectly-placed passes all over the field and the Air Raid offense that is already friendly to most quarterbacks should pit to his strengths very well.
Mitchell is the top returning wide out with 29 catches and six touchdowns a season ago but it's hard to not ignore the fact that this team could see a dramatic change in top returning players in 2021 with the switch in offenses.
On defense, tackling machine Thompson returns after he recorded a ton of solo stops and basically flew all over the field for the Bulldogs a season ago. He adds great value in coverage as well as when he blitzes and he's a three-down threat for any offense to contend with.
Williams brought down four PBUs a season ago while Emerson had a pick and a PBU to go along with it. With Cameron Dantzler gone, these two will absolutely see more targets their way this season, and that should be trouble for opposing quarterbacks after they combined to allow just over 50% of targets their way to be caught last year.
Spencer and Jones should also see an uptick in production after they finished behind Chauncey Rivers for the team-lead in total QB pressures. They're both dominant on the pass-rush while Jones adds a little extra with his run defense.