Position analysis: MSU tight ends

Mississippi State tight end Farrod Green (82)
Staff Writer

Like Rome, a good tight end group isn’t built in a day.

That’s the attitude Mississippi State tight ends coach Mark Hudspeth seems to have this spring as he teaches his unit new head coach Joe Moorhead’s offense.

“We’re not there yet,” Hudspeth said this past week. “We’re getting better and working hard and right now, learning all the nuances of this offense.”

With Moorhead calling the shots, there’s a good chance MSU will rely on its tight ends more than ever in 2018.

“I think the thing they’re excited about is they’re going to be involved in this offense,” Hudspeth said. “They’re going to have the opportunity to make plays and help us offensively in the passing game as well as the run game.”

MSU showed a few glimpses of how its tight ends might soon be utilized in its first scrimmage of the spring last weekend. In the contest, a trio of State tight ends – Justin Johnson, Dontea Jones and Powers Warren – combined to catch five passes for 54 yards and two touchdowns.

The display emphasized something Hudspeth is proud of. He’s glad to have multiple options.

“I’m really liking our room,” Hudspeth said. “We’ve got some talent. We’ve got some length, good size and good athleticism.”

Farrod Green and Johnson are the two most experienced guys of the group. Last season, Green was MSU’s most productive tight end in the passing game as he caught nine passes for 174 yards. Johnson also contributed with eight catches for 44 yards and a touchdown.

“Both of those guys are good players and are picking everything up,” Hudspeth said. “They’re very consistent.”

While both Green and Johnson are known commodities for MSU, Hudspeth says it’s another tight end that has really stepped up this spring. That young man is Jones, who Hudspeth labeled “the surprise of the spring.”
“He hasn’t played very much at all until now,” Hudspeth said. “He’s been very productive this spring and has worked hard and has learned the offense and I’ve been really proud of him.”

Hudspeth has also been pleased with the work ethic of another pair of youngsters. Warren, a freshman, as well as Christian Roberson have also impressed and shown improvement according to Hudspeth. It nothing else, their progression will provide greater depth for the Bulldogs.

Right now, more than four months away from the season opener, improvement is really all Hudspeth can ask for from all of his guys. He has seen that from practice to practice this spring.

By the fall, Hudspeth is confident his tight ends will be prepared to be a vital part of whatever Moorhead wants to do.

“Once we can get it down and master it, I think we have the chance to be pretty special offensively,” Hudspeth said.