Veteran MSU Tight Ends Stepping Up

Mississippi State football is in the envious position of having three veteran tight ends, all juniors and all experienced. And second-year tight ends coach Reed Stringer couldn't be happier.

"I've been very pleased with Eric Butler, Dezmond (Sherrod) and Jason (Husband). They are all in maroon jerseys, all number 1's," said Stringer. "They are doing really well. They have stepped up and taken a leadership role."

And Stringer expects all three to play a major role on this year's team.

"I rotate them in and out. They are all going to have roles on this team, and I expect them to perform well," he said.

Expectations for one of the three, Eric Butler, has been high ever since he stepped foot on campus. And if the last few days of practice are any indication, he may be ready to finally meet those expectations.

"I think Eric Butler may have had his best practice (Thursday) in the two years that I have been here. He was even better than (Wednesday)," said Stringer. "He's put two really good practices together and has really stepped up. He's making plays. He's making catches, blocking well, and taking on a bigger leadership role. We expect that from him."

Stringer's also been impressed with what he's seen from Husband.

"Jason is doing well. He came in weighing 10 pounds more than he weighed last year. He's close to 230 now," said Reed Stringer. "He's working hard on the run game. We already know what he can do in the passing game."

Add the always dependable Dezmond Sherrod in the mix and you have three guys that can play for any team in the SEC. Not only play but produce.

"Our tight ends can go anywhere in this conference and play. There's no doubt about that," said Stringer. "They are not only really good players but have experience."

While Stringer couldn't be happier with his three juniors, he's also seen some good things from the youngsters that will back them up the next two years.

"(True freshman) Chris Herrera is doing well. He's just going through the learning process. I also have (true freshman) Brandon Henderson but he hasn't been able to practice due to a hamstring injury," noted Stringer.

"I also have a walk-on by the name of Jeremy Cunningham (6-2, 220) who is doing really well. He's from Madison, Alabama. We really wanted him to walk on and he did. He's doing a good job for us and has a chance to be a good player for us. He's a little underweight right now, but he has great ball skills and is fast.

"(Sophomore) Jeremy Jones is also doing good. He's a guy who needs to keep working on the little things because he has all the skills in the world. Once he puts it all together, he will really be able to help us."

With Mississippi State having a mixture of three very talented and experienced juniors, as well as four gifted underclassmen, the tight end position looks to be very solid for the next four to five years.


Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at swindoll@genespage.com.

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