STARKVILLE — Quarterback Will Rogers has not come close in his three seasons under center for Mississippi football. Brad Cumbests may count two catches in 2020, but even he was traded from tight end to wide receiver when coach Mike Leach arrived in Starkville.
Tight ends were not used on Leach’s airstrike, meaning new offensive coordinator Kevin Barbay is inheriting an intriguing situation. He needs to fill a position that the Bulldogs haven’t had since 2019.
However, his pitch shouldn’t be that difficult. Tight end Henry Pearson led Appalachian State — Barbay’s previous stint as OC — with five touchdown receptions. He amassed 25 catches for 329 yards — an average of 13.2 yards per catch.
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While Barbay was in Central Michigan in 2021, tight end Joel Wilson finished third with a 9-4 team on six touchdown catches. On his 31 receptions, Wilson averaged 11.8 yards.
It’s obvious that tight ends can make a big contribution to Barbay’s offense. There are high school prospects where MSU can get a late run ahead of National Signing Day (February 1) to build the future of the position, but to make a difference next season, Barbay needs options from the Find transfer portal.
Here are a few for MSU to consider.
Rylan Goede – Georgia
Georgia has become a hot spot for tight ends. The manner in which Kirby Smart employees have utilized the position is a major reason for the program’s offensive success in back-to-back national championship runs. When Goede entered the transfer market, he became a key target for many schools.
The state of Mississippi is one of them. According to a report by 247Sports, Goede is expected to visit MSU in the next few weeks.
Goede (6ft 6, 240lbs) was a reserve in his four years with Georgia, appearing in just nine games. He entered the portal with two seasons remaining. According to the ratings of 247Sports, it is the No. 3 among the available portals.
Arik Gilbert – Georgia
Gilbert is the highest rated Georgia tight ends on the portal and checks in at #2. He also saw little playing time, though he did catch two passes, including a 4-yard touchdown against Vanderbilt.
Gilbert (6-5, 255) was on the preseason 2022 John Mackey Award watchlist, given to the nation’s top tight end. Mississippi state won’t want to stop after securing a tight end, so maybe the Georgia boys can become a package deal.
Cane Berrong – Notre Dame
He has received offers from Arkansas, Colorado and Wisconsin, among others. Compared to programs that have proven themselves in this position, the state of Mississippi might find it difficult to compete. But if he’s coming to an SEC school where he could start from the moment he arrives, Berrong should at least consider the option when it’s presented to him.
When Berrong entered the portal, he quickly became a target across the country. As the top available tight end on the left in the portal, the hype hasn’t let up.
Berrong, part of the 2021 recruit class, has submitted an offer from the state of Mississippi.
Outley is a Little Rock, Arkansas native who got a lot of attention from the SEC in the 2021 recruiting class but decided to stay in his home state.
Outley has been in the portal since December 5, which could make for difficult recruiting for late-coming MSU. However, after not seeing the field in two seasons with the Razorbacks, he could take an opportunity to gain game time.
According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, he was a three-star contender after high school.