Positional Breakdown, Part-6: Guards/Centers

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

Guards and Centers

Left Offensive Guards

Quentin Saulsberry (6'2 305) Redshirt Junior

  • Scout Ranking:***
  • 2009 Stats: 12 starts

    Synopsis:
    Saulsberry got thrown into the fray early in his career starting at right tackle out of necessity his freshman year. He was moved to his more natural guard position this past season and was part of one of the best units in the SEC. He now is looking to take the next step of becoming one of the best guards in the conference next season.

    Strengths:

  • Strength
  • Work Ethic
  • Athleticism
  • Run Blocking
  • Size
  • Experience

    Weaknesses:

  • Pass Blocking
  • Nasty Streak

    2010 Projection:
    Starting Left Guard

    Saulsberry should get better next season but not quite All-SEC better.


    Gabe Jackson (6'2 300) Redshirt Freshman

  • Scout Ranking:***
  • 2009 Stats: Redshirted

    Synopsis:
    Jackson came into the fall out of shape but improved as the season progressed. He had a strong off-season and had a solid spring. He will be in the mix to get playing time next season.

    Strengths:

  • Strength
  • Aggressive
  • Run Blocking
  • Nasty Streak
  • Tough
  • Athletic

    Weaknesses:

  • Awareness
  • Technique

    2010 Projection:
    Backup left guard or starting right guard

    He will likely be a backup unless Smith goes down again, then he probably starts at right guard.


    Dillon Day (6'4 288) True Freshman

  • Scout Ranking:**
  • 2009 Stats: Louisiana All-State

    Synopsis:
    This kid is an absolute monster that can play guard or center on the college level. Day was expected to greyshirt but the numbers worked out for him and he will enroll in June. He has bulked up to 288 so don't be shocked to see him push for playing time after working with Coach Balis this summer.

    Strengths:

  • Aggressive
  • Mean Streak
  • Athleticism
  • Work Ethic
  • Versatility

    Weaknesses:

  • Technique
  • Inexperience

    2010 Projection:
    Redshirt or backup guard

    Day may very well redshirt but I have a feeling this kid will find a way to get on the field.


    Right Offensive Guards

    Tobias Smith (6'3 305) Redshirt Sophomore

  • Scout Ranking:***
  • 2009 Stats: Played 1 Game (LSU)

    Synopsis:
    Smith has been penciled in as a starter the last two years but has had the injury bug strike him both times. He did play one game last season against LSU and looked quite impressive. Smith seems to be healthy now and will look to make his presence felt next season.

    Strengths:

  • Road Grader
  • Strength
  • Aggressive
  • Recover Ability
  • Size

    Weaknesses:

  • Durability
  • Inexperience

    2010 Projection:
    1st or Second Team All-SEC

    If Smith stays healthy he will be one of or the best guard in the SEC.


    Templeton Hardy (6'3 305) Redshirt Sophomore

  • Scout Ranking:****
  • 2009 Stats: Backup Guard

    Synopsis:
    Hardy came out of high school highly rated but, up to this point, has failed to live up to expectations.

    Strengths:

  • Size
  • Strength

    Weaknesses:

  • Durability
  • Motor
  • Intangibles

    2010 Projection:
    Backup Guard

    Hardy will likely be a backup, battling Melichar, Jackson, Howie and Day for playing time.


    Mark Melichar (6'4 300) Redshirt Senior

  • Scout Ranking:**
  • 2009 Stats: Backup Tackle

    Synopsis:
    Melichar has primarily been a backup most of his career other than a brief stint as the starting right tackle in 2008.

    Strengths:

  • Experience
  • Size

    Weaknesses:

  • Athleticism
  • Strength

    2010 Projection:br> Third string guard


    Eric Lawson (6'7 330) True Freshman

  • Scout Ranking:**
  • 2009 Stats: 2nd Team All-6A

    Synopsis:
    Lawson originally committed to Texas Tech but made a signing day switch to the Bulldogs. Lawson has a ways to go but does have the size and athleticism to be a good lineman.

    Strengths:

  • Athleticism
  • Size

    Weaknesses:

  • Toughness
  • Aggressiveness

    2010 Projection:
    Redshirt

    Lawson will need a year to develop.


    Centers

    J.C. Brignone (6'1 300)

  • Scout Ranking:***
  • 2009 Stats:12 starts

    Synopsis:
    Brignone has been one of the staples of the offensive line the past two seasons, providing good leadership and stability.

    Strengths:

  • Versatility
  • Strength
  • Run Blocking
  • Experience
  • Leadership

    Weaknesses:

  • Athleticism
  • Mean Streak

    2010 Projection:
    Honorable Mention All-SEC

    Brignone should become one of the top 3 centers in the SEC next season.


    D.J. Looney (6'1 305) Redshirt Junior

  • Scout Ranking:***
  • 2009 Stats: Backup Center

    Synopsis:
    Looney has been a reliable backup the last two seasons behind Brignone. He is a kid with a great personality, even running for student body president.

    Strengths:

  • Leadership
  • Technique
  • Run Blocking

    Weaknesses:

  • Athleticism
  • Size
  • Durability

    2010 Projection:
    Situational Starts

    If Brignone or Smith gets hurt he could see some starts in 2010.


    Sam Watts (6'2 305) Redshirt Freshman

  • Scout Ranking:***
  • 2009 Stats: Redshirted

    Synopsis:
    Watts enrolled early in 2009, going through Mullen's first spring practice. He wasn't able to parlay that into playing time, sitting behind Brignone and Looney in 2009. He overcame a shoulder surgery to have a strong spring, taking advantage of a D.J. Looney injury.

    Strengths:

  • Size
  • Versatility
  • Character
  • Toughness

    Weaknesses:

  • Aggressiveness
  • Mean Streak
  • Durability

    2010 Projection:
    Backup Center or Guard

    Watts has developed but will likely have to wait one more season to see significant playing time.


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


  • Gene's Page Top Stories