The cupboard was pretty bare for new head coach Jeff Lebby in Starkeville, but Lebby went to work in the portal. He added 15 players to counter the 15 portal losses and was able to address quite a few needs.
Mississippi State primarily ranks this low because Will Rogers left the program. It was an expected loss, but still, a brutal one, and it was compounded by losses of leading rusher Jo’Quavious Marks to USC and second-leading receiver Zavion Thomas to LSU.
Lebby added Blake Shapen from Baylor to his quarterback room, a downgrade, but not a devastating one, and got Kelly Akharaiyi who posted 1,033 yards on 48 catches for UTEP last season. Nine of the 15 additions were on the offensive side of the ball including four offensive linemen. Lebby, the former Oklahoma offensive coordinator is wisely favoring his side of the ball.
The Bulldogs may take a slight step back this season, but Lebby proved he can fill holes in the portal and that’s a reason for optimism.