Positional Breakdown, Part-3: X-Z Receivers

Included is a detailed breakdown of the Mississippi State X and Z receivers based on their 2009 play and how they looked and performed during the just-completed spring practices and scrimmages.

X (Backside) Receivers

Ricco Sanders( 5'11 195) Redshirt Freshman

  • Scout Ranking:***
  • 2009 Stats: Redshirt
  • Spring Game: Rushing- 1-1 yds. 0 TD

    Synopsis: Ricco "The Real Deal" Sanders came to Mississippi State with a lot of hype. But due to NCAA clearinghouse issues, he came in too late in fall practice to earn a spot in the rotation and was redshirted. Sanders made strides in the spring, showing flashes of why so many were high on him.

    Strengths:

  • Natural Hands
  • Run after Catch Ability
  • Solid Ball Skills
  • Good Size

    Weaknesses:

  • Route Running
  • Vertical Speed
  • Intangibles

    2010 Projection:
    Receiving- 11- 186 yds. 1 TD; Rushing 4-32 yds. 0 TD

    Sanders will likely have a slow start to the 2010 season but should come on strong to end the season and be a valuable part of the wide receiver position.


    Michael Carr ( 6'0 195) True Freshman

  • Scout Ranking:***
  • 2009( High School) Stats: Receiving 42-961 yds. 18 TD

    Synopsis:
    Michael Carr was Mr. Everything for West Point High School, playing quarterback, wide receiver, cornerback, and safety throughout his career. He settled in at receiver his senior season, leading West Point to the 5A State Championship. Carr committed to Mississippi State early in the process and will look to bring some championships their way.

    Strengths:

  • Strong Hands
  • Ball Skills
  • Versatility
  • Run After Catch Ability
  • Ability to Separate
  • Physically Ready
  • Character

    Weaknesses:

  • Durability

    2010 Projection:
    Receiving- 29-508 yds. 3 TD; Rushing 5-75 yds. 1 TD

    Carr should give Mississippi State the deep threat they lack due to the departure of O'Neal Wilder. In my opinion, he should start at the X by the time the Memphis game roles around.


    Robert Johnson( 6'0 200) True Freshman

  • Scout Ranking:***
  • 2009( High School) Stats: Receiving- 28-529 yds. 2 TD; Rushing 175 yds. 2 TD

    Synopsis:
    Johnson didn't have the senior year he might have wanted partly due to the injury of Oak Grove's starting quarterback and MSU baseball signee James McMahon, but still had a good year. He and teammate Jay Hughes committed to Mississippi State on the same day. He should give Mississippi State another versatile X receiver.

    Strengths:

  • Hands
  • Run after Catch Ability
  • Toughness
  • Elusiveness

    Weaknesses:

  • Top End Speed
  • Route Running

    2010 Projection:
    Receiving- 9-101 1 TD; Rushing 2-21 0 TD

    I expect Johnson to get his feet wet this year but not be one of the primary options until he develops.


    Malcolm Johnson( 6'2 205) True Freshman

  • Scout Ranking:**
  • 2009( High School) Stats:Receiving-37-681 yds. 8 TD; Rushing- 88 yds. 4 TD

    Synopsis:
    Johnson is a power forward receiver who plays similar to Michael Crabtree. He committed early in the recruiting process after receiving a scholarship offer at a summer camp. He will get a chance to play early as Mississippi State is in need of an over the top threat.

    Strengths:
    Ball Skills

  • Toughness
  • Run after Catch Ability
  • Size
  • Body Control

    Weaknesses:

  • Top End Speed
  • Separation Ability
  • Elusiveness

    2010 Projection:
    Redshirt

    Johnson will get a chance to play but I expect him to redshirt.


    Z (Strong Side) Receivers

    Leon Berry( 6'0 205) Senior

  • Scout Ranking:***
  • 2009 Stats: Receiving- 14-170 yds. 1 TD; Rushing 1-5 yds. 0 TD
  • Spring Game: Receiving- 1-4 yds. 0 TD

    Synopsis:
    Berry became one the best kickoff returners in the SEC last season. His role was limited as a receiver, though, partly due to lack of a capable player to deliver the ball. He was one of the main targets during spring practice and will look to have a strong 2010 season.

    Strengths:

  • Return Specialist
  • Vision
  • Toughness
  • Sure Handed

    Weaknesses:

  • Top End Speed
  • Elusiveness

    2010 Projection:
    Receiving-14-116 yds. 0 TD; Returns- 24-722 yds. 1 TD

    Berry will most likely start at the Z but will eventually settle in as a return specialist.


    Chris Smith( 6'2 215) Sophomore

  • Scout Ranking:****
  • 2009 Stats: Receiving- 3-22 yds. 0 TD
  • Spring Game: Receiving- 1-5 yds. 0 TD

    Synopsis:
    Smith played as a true freshman, earning some early playing time but succumb to the freshman jitters, dropping a few balls. He did become a valuable special teams player thanks to his physical nature. Smith had a good spring after a slow start and is looking to become a primary option next season.

    Strengths:

  • Hands
  • Good Size
  • Above Average Ball Skills
  • Solid Blocker
  • Vocal

    Weaknesses:

  • Top End Speed
  • Quickness

    2010 Projection:
    Receiving-17- 168 yds. 1 TD

    Smith should settle in nicely next season as a possession receiver and more than likely draw a few starts.


    Charles Bailey( 6'1 185) Redshirt Sophomore

  • Scout Ranking:***
  • 2009 Stats: Receiving- No Stats Spring Game: Receiving- 2-15 yds. 0 TD

    Synopsis:
    Bailey was recruited by former MSU head coach Sylvester Croom and looked to have a future at Mississippi State but a system change caused him to get him lost in the shuffle during the 2009 season. But Bailey worked to get himself back in the mix during spring practice. He will come into preseason practice looking to build off his spring performance and get a few more touches next season.

    Strengths:

  • Route Running
  • Hands
  • Size

    Weaknesses:

  • Vertical Speed
  • Quickness
  • Ball Skills

    2010 Projection:
    Receiving- 6- 47 yds. 0 TD

    Bailey will likely have to battle several very talented incoming freshmen for playing time this coming season.


    Sam Williams(6'1 205) Redshirt Freshman

  • Scout Ranking:**
  • 2009 Stats: Redshirt

    Synopsis:
    Williams redshirted in 2009 after being an invited walk on by the coaching staff. He was really looking good early in spring practice, running with the first team before tearing his ACL.

    Strengths:

  • Size
  • Hands
  • Toughness

    Weaknesses:

  • Durability
  • Quickness
  • Top End Speed

    2010 Projection:
    Unlikely to play.

    Williams will attempt to play next year but will likely have to take a medical redshirt.


    Jeremiah Short is a columnist who covers various Mississippi State sports for GenesPage.com. He can be reached by email at moot2005@yahoo.com


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