Big things are expected of Mississippi State this fall and why not? The Bulldogs return 82 percent of their overall production from 2017 off a team that went 9-4; they have a new, energetic coaching staff and a quarterback in Nick Fitzgerald who could be one of the league’s best.
The Bulldogs will be anchored by a stingy defense, led by names like Sweat, Simmons, McLaurin and others.
One name often forgotten is Chauncey Rivers.
Rivers, who signed with Georgia out of high school before ending up at East Mississippi Community College on his way to Starkville, has had a long winding road to this point. He was one of the stars of the Netflix documentary “Last Chance U” season one He was ruled academically ineligible last year once he set foot on campus at Mississippi State.
Rivers chose to redshirt and still has two years of eligibility left in Starkville.
“It was tough for me, but it was tough for my teammates, too,” Rivers is quoted in the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. “That had changed a lot for what we had planned. But at the end of the day, that’s life.”
Rivers will make his debut as a Bulldog this fall, providing the defense another potential dynamic play-maker and depth to an already strong defense. Coaches raved last year that Rivers was actually the best pass-rusher on the team in practice; that says a ton considering his counterpart, Montez Sweat, had 9.5 sacks a year ago.
If the rumors are in fact true, the 6-2, 260-pound Rivers could give Mississippi State an edge the Bulldogs haven’t seen since 1999 and a Joe Lee Dunn defense.
Rivers, along with Sweat, Jeff Simmons, Fletcher Adams and others could give the Bulldogs one of the top two or three defensive fronts in the league in 2018, which means bad news for opponents on Saturday.
It’s taken Rivers a long time to get where he is today, but come September he will finally be revealed to the rest of the SEC.
(You can follow Jake Wimberly on Twitter @Jakewim)
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