Next Year's MSU Defense Line

Mississippi State defensive line coach David Turner, at the conclusion of Wednesday's bowl practice, provided an update about the returning defensive tackles and defensive ends.

Each player is listed by his name, next year's classification, position and size. I chose the order he talked about them.

Jessie Bowman (Sr, DT, 6-1, 305)
"Jessie had some bad habits that he's had to break, but he's improving and has come a long way. He's starting to understand what we want out of him defensively. And I think the last three weeks of bowl practicing has been real good for him."

Kyle Love (Jr, DT, 6-1, 312)
"Kyle, who will be a returning starter, has probably been the most consistent guy. Hopefully, he will nail that starting job down (in the spring) and get a little bit better. We have to have a little bit more production out of him next year in terms of the number of tackles and sacks."

Jimmie Holmes (Sr, DE, 6-3, 235)
"Jimmie has had his best three weeks of practice. I look forward to having him in spring practice, and he'll be battling for a starting position. The biggest thing with him is he has to turn it loose and play faster. Hopefully that will now come since he knows the defense and what we expect from him."

Cortez McCraney (Sr, DE, 6-4, 272)
"Cortez can be a double-duty guy for us, but we will probably move him to end because we want to get our best four guys on the field. And right now, from an athletic standpoint, he could be one of them."

Quinton Wesley (Jr, DT, 6-4, 315)
"Quinton is probably playing and practicing like he should. And, hopefully, he will continue to improve on what he has done the last couple of weeks. He hasn't asserted himself and being a force yet. I think spring ball will definitely help him. He should be one of the guys inside. If he's not starting, then he should be playing as much as a starter."

Rodney Prince (So, DT, 6-3, 252)
"I'm pleasantly surprised with Rodney and his development at tackle (after playing at defensive end). I think spring will give him a chance to become a whole lot better and allow him to gain more weight. We'll see how he can handle that weight."

Tim Bailey (Sr, DE, 6-3, 241)
"Timmy will probably be moved to the right side (defensive) end because we will start Cortez out at left end. And Timmy can handle that because Timmy is Timmy - he is going to work hard everyday. He should be even better at defensive line with a year playing there. Hopefully, spring will let him refine his technique and several other things."

Charles Burns (RJr, DE, 6-3, 265))
"The biggest thing with Charles is he has to continue to rehab and get his shoulder stronger. I don't know what his plans are, medically, for spring ball. I don't know if he will be able to practice. Hopefully, he will, but he has to rehab and get his shoulder well."

LaMarcus Williams (So, DT, 6-1, 290)
"I feel real good about LaMarcus. I feel better about him than I did earlier. And, obviously, playing this fall has helped him. I think spring will help in his deployment. He should be right in the mix of things during the spring."

Reggie Odom (So, DT, 6-0, 295)
"Reggie has come on here of late, but I'm not sure defensive line is best for him. He might be an offensive lineman. This spring will allow us to get a little bit better idea about him."

I forgot to ask him about sophomore-to-be defensive lineman Brandon Cooper (So, DE, 6-3, 240), but MSU DC Ellis Johnson talked about him.-Gene

"The thing that comes to mind about Brandon is that he is steadily improving every week. He's never been up there in a starting situation, but he's been a critcal backup for us the entire way. And he's made some big plays for us. He was one of the guys in there on that 4th and 1 against Ole Miss. And he did a great job on it. He's going to be a good player for us."

Based on Coach Turner's statements, the following four players project as the starters at the beginning of spring practice: DTs Kyle Love and Jessie Bowman, DEs Cortez McCraney and Tim Bailey. During Wednesday's practice, Love, Bowman and Bailey were running on the first unit with McCraney and Holmes as the 2nd unit DEs and Prince and Wesley as the backup DTs.

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

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