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SEC 2009 // The Depth Chart

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Whenever there is a regime change, there will be position battles, and Mississippi State is following suit.

The marquee battle, of course, is at quarterback, where Tyson Lee and Chris Relf fought to a draw in spring practice. Wes Carroll, for those of you who were unaware, has moved to Florida International, which as a Sun Belt team is practically an honorary member of the SEC anyway.

In any case, Lee had an early edge in the QB race as the incumbent starter, but Relf caught up over the course of the year. Recruit Tyler Russell could make some noise, at least among the faithful, but Russell was seen as a touted pro-style QB. He can run, but it will be interesting to see how he operates a spread offense. In any case, Dan Mullen has played down notions that Russell will start quickly.

Senior RB Anthony Dixon might be the most important returning starter for the Bulldogs. Dixon rushed for 869 yards on 197 carries last years (4.4 ypc average) and 7 TDs. He's backed up by another pair of seniors, Christian Ducre (56 rushes, 222 yards, 4.0 ypc, 2 TDs) and Arnil Stallworth, (12 carries, 57 yards, 4.2 ypc, 1 TD). 

As for freshmen -- well, the wide receivers who arrive on campus this fall could find themselves with some early playing time. In part because the second-string unit is patchwork at best.

Not a lot of progress, as they're pretty much pulling guys off the street to line up at receiver.

"Our two group is a walk-on quarterback, a guy who's been on the team for three days, and I don't even know the third kid they had out there with that. It's just tough doing it that way."

Mississippi State signed seven wideouts in the offseason, including high-caliber JUCO recruit Leon Berry out of East Mississippi Community College. Berry caught 59 passes for 1,003 yards and 9 TDs at East Mississippi. Berry is already listed as Brandon McRae's backup and as the team's first-team kick returner.

Except at right end, there don't appear to be many controversies on the defensive side of the ball. As expected, Damein Anderson came out of spring as the lead for the left cornerback spot across the field from Marcus Washington. But the defense was not the main problem for the Bulldogs during the Croom Era, though it was subpar last year.

How the offensive depth chart plays out on the field will decide State's future this year.

Full Mississippi State depth chart here.