MSU - Alabama: Previewing The Stars

Mississippi State football hosts Alabama this weekend. This is my preview of the game based on the star rankings of the starters for both teams. This article shows why Alabama is ranked No. 1 in the nation.


In this article I will preview the upcoming game between Mississippi State and Alabama by combining the Scout.com star rankings and classification (Fr, So, Jr or Sr) of the starters for both teams. To come up with a point total for each player, I will combine the points for both a player's signing day star ranking as well as for his current classification.

A player with a 5-star ranking will be given 5 points, a player with a 4-star ranking receives 4 points, etc. A player with a NR ranking will receive 1 point. Next, I will determine a player's classification points based on his current classification, i.e., if he's a freshman he receives 1 point, if a sophomore 2 points, etc. I will then add a player's classification points to his star ranking points and come up with a final total for him. Once I've done that for all of the starters, I will combine their points and add 7 points to the home team for a home field advantage and come up with a team total. The team with the most points is the one that I predict will win the game.

The starters listed below are based on what each school lists on their pre-game notes.

Quarterbacks:

Mississippi State (8 pts) - Senior Tyler Russell was a 4-star recruit coming out of high school. His point total is 8, four due to his star ranking and four due to him being a senior. Playing in 5 games this season, he has completed 38 of 57 passes (66.7%) for 468 yards and 3 TDs.

Alabama (8 pts) - Senior A.J. McCarron, also a 4-star recruit in high school, earns a total of 8 points. He has completed 159 of 229 passes for 2,041 yards and 19 TDs.

Running Backs:

Mississippi State (7 pts) - Senior LaDarius Perkins was rated a 3-star when he signed with Mississippi State. His point total is 7. While dealing with injuries most of this season, Perkins has still rushed for 433 yards in 8 games.

Alabama (6 pts): - T.J. Yeldon is a sophomore who was ranked 4 stars in high school. His point total is 6. He has rushed for 862 yards and 12 TDs.

Tight Ends:

Mississippi State (5 pts) - Malcolm Johnson is a junior who was ranked a 2-star as a senior in high school. His total points are 5. Malcolm has caught 17 passes for 206 yards and 1 TD this season.

Alabama (6 pts) - Junior Brian Vogler was rated a 3-star prospect in high school. His point total is 6. More of a blocking tight end then receiver (he is 6-foot-7, 260 pounds), he has caught 7 passes for 53 yards.

Wide Receivers:

Mississippi State (17 pts):

  • Sophomore Joe Morrow was ranked 4 stars as a senior in high school. His point total is 6. This season, he has caught 16 passes for 199 yards and 1 TD.
  • Junior Jameon Lewis was rated a 2-star in high school. His point total is 5. For the season, Lewis has caught 39 passes for 505 yards and 4 TDs. He has also rushed for 3 TDs and passed for 3 more.
  • Robert Johnson, a junior, was rated 3 stars as a senior in high school. His total points are 6. Johnson is second on the team with 27 receptions for 291 yards.

    Alabama (20 pts):

  • Junior DeAndrew White was a 4-star recruit in high school. His point total is 7. White has caught 24 passes for 346 yards and 3 TDs.
  • Senior Kevin Norwood was rated a 3-star prospect coming out of high school. His point total is 7. Norwood has 386 yards (the most on the team) and 4 TDs on 27 receptions.
  • Junior Christion Jones was another 3-star recruit in high school. He has a point total of 6. Jones is Alabama's leading receiver with 28 receptions. He has 281 yards and 2 TDs.

    Offensive Linemen:

    Mississippi State (28 pts):

  • Junior left tackle Blaine Clausell was a 2-star recruit. His point total is 5.
  • Senior left guard Gabe Jackson was rated a 3-star player. His point total is 7.
  • Junior center Dillon Day was rated a 2-star player as a senior in high school. His point total is 5.
  • Junior right guard Ben Beckwith was not rated by Scout.com as a senior. His point total is 4.
  • Senior right tackle Charles Siddoway was rated a 3-star as a junior college sophomore. His point total is 7.

    Alabama (34 pts):

  • Junior left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio was rated a 5-star in high school. His point total is 8.
  • Junior left guard Arie Kouandjio was a 4-star prospect in high school. His point total is 7.
  • Sophomore center Ryan Kelly was a 4-star recruit in high school. His point total is 6.
  • Senior right guard Anthony Steen was a 3-star prospect in high school. His point total is 7.
  • Junior right tackle Austin Shepherd was a 3-star recruit in high school. His point total is 6.


    Defensive Linemen:

    Mississippi State (27 pts):

  • Junior defensive end Preston Smith was rated a 2-star recruit in high school. His point total is 5. This season, he has recorded 29 tackles with 2.5 sacks.
  • Junior defensive tackle P.J. Jones was rated 3 stars as a senior. His point total is 6. He has a total of 16 tackles this season.
  • Junior defensive tackle Kaleb Eulls earned a 4-star as a high school senior. His point total is 7. Eulls has 14 tackles this season.
  • Senior defensive end Denico Autry is the highest rated player on the MSU D-line with a 5-star as a sophomore at EMCC. His point total is 9. Autry has 18 tackles, including 1 sack.

    Alabama (19 pts):

  • Senior defensive end Ed Stinson was a 3-star recruit coming out of high school. His point total is 7. Stinson has 31 tackles, 5th on the team.
  • Junior noseguard Brandon Ivory was a 2-star prospect in high school. His point total is 5. Ivory has recorded 17 tackles this season.
  • Junior defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan was a 4-star recruit when he signed with Alabama. His point total is 7. Pagan has 22 tackles so far this year which is 8th on the team.

    Linebackers:

    Mississippi State (16 pts):

  • Matthew Wells is a junior who was rated a 4-star in high school. His point total is 7. Wells has recorded 32 tackles this year, 5th on the team.
  • Sophomore Benardrick McKinney was rated 2 stars as a senior in high school. His point total is 4. McKinney leads the team with 55 tackles this season.
  • Freshman Beniquez Brown was rated a 4-star recruit in high school. His point total is 5. Brown, starting his first game, has 20 tackles.

    Alabama (23 pts):

  • Junior Adrian Hubbard was ranked 4-star recruit coming to Alabama. His point total is 7. He has recorded 22 tackles, including 3.5 tackles for a loss.
  • Junior Trey DePriest came in rated a 5-star prospect. His point total is 8. He is 4th on the team with 35 tackles, 4 for a loss.
  • Senior C.J. Mosley was a 4-star prospect in high school. His point total is 8. He leads the team with 71 tackles. He has also recorded 7 tackles for loss.

    Defensive Backs:

    Mississippi State (20 pts):

  • Junior cornerback Jamerson Love was rated a 2-star in high school. His point total is 5. Love has recorded 19 tackles, broken up 4 passes and intercepted 3 passes.
  • Sophomore strong safety Kendrick Market was also rated 2 stars in high school. His point total is 4. Market is third on the team with 37 tackles.
  • Senior free safety Nickoe Whitley was rated a 3-star recruit in high school. His point total is 7. Whitley has recorded 4 interceptions this season, tied for the most in the SEC. He also has 36 tackles.
  • Sophomore cornerback Taveze Calhoun was rated 2 stars as a senior in high school. His point total is 4. Taveze has 27 tackles this season and has also broken up 3 passes.

    Alabama (36 pts):

  • Senior cornerback Deion Belue was a 3-star recruit coming out of Northeast MS CC. His point total is 7 points. He has 10 tackles and has broken up 3 passes.
  • Sophomore strong safety Landon Collins was rated a 5-star recruit in high school. His point total is 7. So far this season he has 38 tackles and broken up 6 passes.
  • Junior free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was a 5-star prospect in high school. His point total is 8. This season he has recorded 36 tackles and 3 pass breakups.
  • Junior STAR defensive back Jarrick Williams came in as a 4-star recruit. His point total is 7. He has 26 tackles this season.
  • Sophomore cornerback Cyrus Jones was a 5-star prospect in high school. His point total is 7. He has recorded 17 tackles.


    Kickers/Punters/Kick Returners/Punt Returners:

    Because these players are only in a few plays each game, I will divide their point total in half and add that amount to the final team total.

    Mississippi State (8.5 pts):

  • Kicker Evan Sobiesk, a redshirted freshman, was not rated in high school. His point total is 2. Sobiesk has made 2 of 3 field goals.
  • Sophomore punter Devon Bell was rated 3 stars as a senior in high school. His point total is 5. Bell has punted 13 times for a 41.5 yards per punt average.
  • Kick returner Jameon Lewis, a junior, was rated a 2-star prospect in high school. His point total is 5. Lewis has returned 17 kickoffs for a 23.5 per yard average, which is 7th in the SEC.
  • Jameon Lewis is also the MSU punt returner. Once again, his point total is 5. Jameon has returned 14 punts for a 2.4 yard per return average.

    Alabama (13.5 pts):

  • Kicker Cade Foster, a senior, was a 4-star recruit in high school. His point total is 8. He has made 9 of 10 field goals. He has also kickoff 52 times with 12 being touchbacks.
  • Punter Cody Mandell, also a senior, was a 3-star prospect in high school. His point total is 7. Mandell has punted 29 times for a 46.2 average.
  • Kicker returner Christian Jones, a junior, was ranked a 3-star recruit coming out of high school. His point total is 6. Jones has returned 15 kicks for a 31.1 yard per kick average.
  • Christian Jones also returns punts. Once again his point total is 6. He has returned 17 punts for a 12.1 yard average.


    Mississippi State has a total of 136.5 points, 65 on offense, 63 on defense and 8.5 on special teams. Of that total, 66 are the team's star amount. The other 70.5 comes from the players classification. Add in 7 points for the home field advantage and they have a total of 143.5 points. MSU has a total of 5 four-stars and 1 five-star starting.

    Alabama has 74 points on offense, 78 points on defense and 13.5 points for special teams for a total of 165.5 points. Of Alabama's total points, 90.5 are from the players star ratings. Alabama has 10 four-star starters and 5 five-star starters.

    Winner: Alabama wins with 165.5 points, which is 22 more points than MSU.


    Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.


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