Mississippi State has a good mix of tight ends this season.
There are seniors Brandon Hill and Malcolm Johnson that have been around the program for several years. Sophomore Gus Walley has been in the system for two seasons, but has yet to play, as he was redshirted as a true freshman and missed all of last season after Tommy John Surgery.
“Brandon Hill, Malcolm Johnson and Gus have been around for a little bit, so I have a nice mixture of older guys and younger guys,” tight ends coach Scott Sallach said. “It’s a good change from some of the things I’ve had to experience my first couple of years.”
Johnson has started 11 games during his Bulldog career and accounted for seven touchdowns. He pulled down 391 yards on 30 catches last season with two touchdowns.
The Tuscaloosa, Ala., native is listed as the starter on the preseason depth chart.
“At this stage, it’s a complete understanding of why things are going on, which he is pretty close to, but the biggest thing for him is to pass along a legacy like Marcus Green did,” Sallach said of Johnson. “It’s for him to show how to prepare for a game, how you study film, this is how I read these coverages or how I picked up these blitzes. Obviously, he has to have a huge role for us to be successful this year.”
Hill has only made eight catches in his career, but the Columbus native is one of the more versatile tight ends and one of the more classic tight ends.
He is used primarily as a blocker.
“We’ve all got our own unique skill sets,” Hill said. “Malcolm is more of the receiving tight end. I’m more versatile. Gus is more like a wideout tight end.”
The Bulldogs also have junior college transfer Darrion Hutcherson and redshirt freshman B.J. Hammond.
TE depth chart:
Malcolm Johnson, Darrion Hutcherson