Roster Analysis: Mississippi State and Ole Miss

October 19, 2014 by SbS Football Staff | with 0 comments

The two biggest football teams from the state of Mississippi, Ole Miss and Mississippi State, are both in the midst of their best seasons ever. Ole Miss is 7-0 and ranked third in the country, their highest rating since 1963, while Mississippi State is 6-0 and the number one team in the country for the first time in school history.
With the Magnolia State on top of the college football world, we wanted to provide a geographic analysis of the rosters for both teams. Our analysis looks at where the players on each team are from, including the number of players from each state and where in the state the players from Mississippi are from.
As is the case with most college football teams, both the Rebels and Bulldogs get the majority of their players from their hometown state. The teams compete for players in a state that currently has the 14th most FBS players in the country (5th most on a per capita basis).
However, the state has only produced an average of 6.5 four-star or five-star high school football recruits annually over the last ten years, which is one of the lowest averages across the ten states home to SEC teams.

Players by State
Below are five observations when analyzing what states the players on both Mississippi State and Ole Miss are from.
1. Mississippi State’s Roster is More Concentrated than Ole Miss. Approximately 60% of the Bulldog players are from Mississippi, while only about 45% of the players on Ole Miss are from the state. Furthermore, approximately 84% of Mississippi State’s roster is from Mississippi or one of its four bordering states (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee), while the figure is only about 69% for Ole Miss. Additionally, the Rebels have fourteen players from either Florida or Texas, while the Bulldogs only have five.

2. Offensive Skill Players Not from Mississippi. In addition to star Quarterbacks Dak Prescott (Louisiana) and Bo Wallace (Tennessee), the leading rushers and receivers on both teams are from outside the state of Mississippi. The Bulldogs top running back Josh Robinson is from Louisiana, and their top wide receiver De’Runnya Wilson is from Alabama. Meanwhile, the Rebels top running back Jaylen Walton is from Tennessee, and their top wide receiver Laquon Treadwell is from Illinois. 

3. Key Players from Outside the United States. There is one player on each team who is from outside of the United States, and both are key players on their respective teams. Justin Senior from Montreal, Canada is a starting Sophomore Offensive Lineman for the Bulldogs, and Will Gleeson from Australia is a red-shirt Freshman who is the Rebels starting Punter. 

4. Eight Defensive Starters for Bulldogs from Mississippi. Eight of the eleven starting defensive players for Mississippi State played high school football in Mississippi, including all four starting defensive backs (Jamerson Love, Jay Hughes, Justin Cox and Taveze Calhoun). 

5. Two Rebel Starters from Illinois, None from Louisiana. Both of the players on Ole Miss from the state of Illinois, WR Laquon Treadwell and OL Fahn Cooper, are starters for the Rebels. Meanwhile, there are only two players from the state of Louisiana and neither are starters. A surprising statistic considering there are over 400 active FBS players from the state of Louisiana, a state that shares a border with Mississippi.

Players from Mississippi
In addition to looking at what states the players on each roster are from, we took a closer look at how the rosters compare when looking at the specific players from the state of Mississippi.
Below are three observations when analyzing where the players from Mississippi on each team are from.
1. No Players from the Other School’s Location. While both teams have players who are from nearby their campus, neither team has a current player from the county in which the other school is located in. There are no players on the Mississippi State roster from the county Oxford is located in (Lafayette County), and there are no players on the Ole Miss roster from the county Starkville is located in (Oktibbeha County).

2. Similar Number of Players from Jackson. Both teams have a similar number of players from the Jackson, Mississippi area (Hinds County and its bordering counties). Ole Miss is about 160 miles from Jackson and has sixteen current players from the area, while Mississippi State is about 125 miles away and has fourteen current players from the area. Jackson is largest city in Mississippi and is clearly the primary recruiting area in the state for both teams. 

3. Three Bulldog Starters from Hattiesburg Area. Mississippi State has seven players from the Hattiesburg area, including three starters (DB Jay Hughes, WR Robert Johnson and K Evan Sobiesk). Meanwhile, Ole Miss only has two players from the area and neither are starters. Located in southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg is one of the larger cities in the state and is home to the state’s third FBS team, Southern Mississippi. 

For two schools that are at a geographic disadvantage to the majority of teams they compete with in the best conference of college football, it is remarkable that both Mississippi State and Ole Miss are having this level of success at the same time.
Both teams have one more game on the schedule against a top ten team. Ole Miss faces Auburn at home on November 1st, and Mississippi State will be on the road at Alabama on November 15th.
Regardless if both teams are undefeated or each team has a loss when they meet on November 29th in Oxford, it will be the most anticipated Egg Bowl in the great history of the rivalry.
There will be over 100 players from the state of Mississippi on the field that day in what is sure to have significant SEC Championship Game and College Football Playoff implications for at least one team, and perhaps both.
College football is the biggest thing in the state of Mississippi, and this year, the state of Mississippi is the biggest thing in college football. It should be “Magnoliaificent” to watch the rest of the year unfold for both the Bulldogs and Rebels.