Three Bulldogs Make Preseason All-SEC Third Team

Quick, name the best-known member of the 2004 Mississippi State offensive line. Now, guess which Bulldog blocker was named most often by the league coaches when making out their Preseason All-SEC ballot.

The answer will almost certainly be a surprise to MSU fans...but likely not as surprising as it was when Will Rogers found out. The senior guard from Fairburn, Ga., was the lone Bulldog making any of the three offensive units as selected by SEC head coaches. Rogers was named to the third team.

Two other Bulldogs made third team on the defensive side of the ball. Junior linebacker Marvin Byrdsong and sophomore defensive back Quinton Culberson joined Rogers as preseason All-SEC picks.

The preseason team was released by the league a week prior to the annual ‘SEC Kickoff' in Birmingham. This is the first time the conference has polled the coaches prior to media days. It is also the first time three units, including special teams, were voted on. Coaches could not vote for their own players.

While Rogers' name likely is not the first that would come to even a MSU fan's mind when thinking of the Bulldog line, the senior actually has been building a solid reputation inside the locker room. More steady than spectacular, Rogers started every game in 2003, all at left guard. He came on strong in the second half of the season and finished with an average blocking grade of nearly 80%.

Moreover, he stayed healthy...something his fellow guards have had trouble with in recent years. Rogers goes into this senior year on the first team, but now at right guard where he practiced all spring. Of course he is used to moving around; after a redshirt season on the offensive line he spent 2001 as a backup nose guard.

Rogers certainly is being counted on to, paired with RT David Stewart, hold the right side of the line steady. And with both backups Otis Riddley and Donovan Davis not taking care of all their conditioning issues, Rogers likely will be asked to go the distance as often as possible.

The third-team picks of underclassmen Byrdsong and Culberson are not quite as surprising, though both are far from reaching their potential. Culberson was a Freshman All-SEC pick despite having his rookie year cut short by a broken ankle at Kentucky. He is expected to take over first-team at left cornerback if the leg is fully healed. Byrdsong has played in 24 games with seven starts last fall at weakside linebacker and has 93 career tackles. In the last week of spring camp he moved to middle linebacker where he is being counted on to start.

With three entire teams being picked, not surprisingly every SEC program had at least two players receive enough votes for recognition. Defending league champs LSU led the list with 13 selections, eight of them first team offense or defense. Mississippi had ten players named, though none were on a first team.

Now that the coaches have voted, the SEC's media get to vote their own all-league teams at the end of next week's media days, July 28-30. Coach Sylvester Croom has selected wideout McKinley Scott and defensive tackle Ronald Fields to appear with him in Birmingham on Wednesday.

David Murray is the editor of Dawgs' Bite magazine and the featured writer for the Dawgs Bite: Powered by website. You can contact him by email at

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