MSU's SEC All-Freshmen Making a Difference

Mississippi State football has had twelve players make the Southeastern Conference Coaches' All-Freshmen team the past three seasons. Several of the players made a big impact on this year's team.

Although true freshman running back Anthony Dixon, who rushed 169 times for 668 yards, a 4.0-yard per carry average, and nine touchdowns during the 2006 season, is garnering most of the accolades, junior defensive end Titus Brown, a 2004 SEC Coaches' All-Freshman selection, has backed up his freshman season with excellent numbers the past two seasons. And he came into his own in 2006.

A middle linebacker his freshman season at State, Titus recorded 59 tackles, including three and one-half for losses, one and one-half of which were quarterback sacks. He played in nine games, starting five. His sophomore season he was moved to defensive end where he made 30 total tackles, including 5.5 tackles for losses (1.5 sacks) in the 10 games he appeared in while backing up All-SEC defensive end Willie Evans and Michael Heard. His junior season was a breakout season for him. Although he made 38 tackles in the 11 games he started in, what really stood out was his tackles for losses and sacks. He not only led the MSU team in tackles for losses with 14.5 and sacks with 7.5, but those same stats ranked 4th and 5th in the SEC. For his efforts, he was named a second-team selection on both the Coaches' and AP All-SEC teams.

One other member of the same All-SEC Freshman class as Titus Brown was tight end Eric Butler. Battling injuries most of his junior season, Eric still played in 11 games, starting 7. He caught 13 passes, 5th on the squad, for 210 yards. For his career, which includes playing in 32 games, 23 of which were starts, he has had 42 receptions for 564 yards and 8 touchdowns.

A third member of that All-SEC freshman class of 2004, safety Demario Bobo, was injured the entire 2006 season and is expected to receive a redshirt. However, during his freshman and sophomore seasons he showed great potential, starting 12 of the 21 games he played in. As a freshman cornerback he totaled 27 tackles. Moved to safety his sophomore season, he increased his tackle total to 38. He is expected to be in the thick of the battle for a starting safety job during 2007.

Two other members of the 2004 All-SEC Freshman class, defensive tackle Corey Clark and return specialist Jonathan Lowe, have transferred to other schools.

Last year's SEC Coaches' All-Freshman class contributed significantly this past season. In fact, three of the four were full-time starters.

After recording 14 tackles and returning 28 kickoffs for 559 yards his freshman season in 11 games (no starts), Derek Pegues moved into a starting cornerback role during 2006. After making 32 tackles and intercepting four passes (8th in the SEC) in the 12 games he started, he was selected to the 2006 Coaches All-SEC second-team. In addition to his defensive stats, Derek also led MSU in both kickoff (23.7 yards) and punt (14.0 yards) returns. Those same stats ranked fifth and second in the SEC.

Starting weakside linebacker Jamar Chaney, although not chosen to any All-SEC team his sophomore season, made a huge impact on the team nevertheless, registering 66 tackles, seven and a half for losses (2.5 of which were sacks). His tackle total was third on the team and 24th in the SEC. Only four other SEC sophomores had more tackles than Jamar.

During Jamar's freshman season, he recorded 31 tackles in the 11 games (3 starts) he participated in.

The third starter was punter Blake McAdams.

Blake, after punting 69 times for a 41.9-yard average his freshman season (3rd in the SEC and 33rd nationally), suffered a sophomore slump during 2006, punting for a 38.2-yard average (7th in the SEC) on 68 kicks.

Linebacker Anthony Littlejohn, the fourth members of the 2005 Coaches' All-SEC Freshman class, after totalling 22 tackles in 11 games (8 starts) his redshirt freshman season, tallied 19 tackles in the 11 games he participated in as a backup to Chaney and Gabe O'Neal.

As for this year's SEC Coaches' All-Freshman team, Anthony Dixon, a The Sporting News Honorable Mention All-American selection, obviously made the biggest impact of not only this year's MSU freshman class but of any freshman the past three years. Although he recorded 668 yards on the season, he showed continued improvement as the year wound down. Over the course of the last three games of the season (Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss), he rushed for 335 yards, the most of any back in the SEC during that same period except for Arkansas' Darren McFadden, an All-American selection, who rushed for 447 yards.

The other two members of the MSU squad who made the 2006 SEC Coaches' All-Freshman team were right offensive tackle Craig Jenkins and linebacker Jamon Hughes.

Craig started all 12 games for the Bulldogs, grading at 80% or better in 10 of those games. Jamon, who missed the first three games of the season due to a hamstring injury, recorded 17 tackles and a pass deflection in the nine games he played.

Look for brighter days ahead for the Mississippi State football team as these players continue to progress throughout their careers.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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