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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Players to watch: Mississippi State

Junior+WR+Jahdae+Walker+%289%29+points+towards+the+goal+line+after+a+pass+during+Texas+A%26amp%3BMs+game+vs.+South+Carolina+at+Kyle+Field+on+Satuday%2C+Oct.+28%2C+2023.
Photo by Jaime Rowe

Junior WR Jahdae Walker (9) points towards the goal line after a pass during Texas A&M’s game vs. South Carolina at Kyle Field on Satuday, Oct. 28, 2023.

Will Rogers/Chris Parson/Mike Wright, Mississippi State quarterbacks

The big question about Rogers is whether or not he’s healthy enough to play this week. He suffered a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter versus Western Michigan, but Mississippi State coach Zach Arnett hinted that Rogers could be back versus the Aggies.

Prior to getting injured, Rogers had thrown for 1,275 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions. The Bulldogs are 1-2 without Rogers this year. If he can’t go, Arnett said freshman Chris Parson and senior Mike Wright will both play.

Parson filled in at quarterback last week after Mike Wright was benched in a 24-3 loss to Kentucky. The true-freshman was a four-star prospect out of Ravenwood High School in Brentwood, Tennessee. In his short appearance versus Kentucky, he threw for 67 yards on 14 attempts, but also took three sacks.

Wright transferred in from Vanderbilt and his first two starts under center were bad. He completed just 52% of his passes versus Kentucky for 78 yards before getting benched. However, Wright has shown the ability to run his whole career. Last year at Vanderbilt, he rushed for over 500 yards and five touchdowns. So far this year, Wright has rushed for 281 yards and three touchdowns.

It’ll be interesting to see if Rogers is available to play this weekend. If not, the Bulldogs will have to roll with Parson and Wright.

Jahdae Walker, Texas A&M receiver

Walker had one of his best games as an Aggie last week versus Ole Miss. The Grand Valley State transfer had eight catches for 100 yards against the Rebels, including multiple key catches to move the chains.

Walker first saw significant action versus Lousiana Monroe earlier in the season. However, he usually doesn’t get the ball due to the other playmakers the Aggies have. He saw plenty of action last week due to sophomore Evan Stewart’s injury.

If Stewart is good to go, Walker will most likely see a decrease in snaps and targets. However, if he gets some targets, the 6-foot-4 receiver offers the Aggies size and speed on the outside.

Jett Johnson and Nathaniel Watson, Mississippi State linebackers

A&M fans know how good Edgerrin Cooper and Taurean York have been for the Aggies this season. Likewise for Mississippi State, Johnson and Watson have been pivotal for the Bulldogs’ defense this season. The linebacker tandem each has at least 30 more tackles than the Bulldogs’ third leading tackler.

Johnson leads all tacklers with 92 total tackles on the year, which is tied for 12th most in the nation. The senior also contributes all over the field. He has four sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles on the year.

Watson is right behind Johnson with 87 total tackles. The junior also leads the entire defense with eight sacks on the year. Watson also has two pass deflections, an interception, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries on the year.

The Aggie offensive line has struggled all year in pass protection. If the unit can’t figure it out, Johnson and Watson could cause some serious problems for A&M’s offense as they both lead Mississippi State in sacks.

Shemar Turner, Texas A&M defensive lineman

Turner was ejected from last week’s game after a questionable decision led him to punch an Ole Miss offensive lineman below the belt. Fortunately for Turner, he won’t face any further disciplinary action and will be available for A&M.

Turner’s availability will be vital for the Aggies as he leads all defensive linemen in sacks with five. His ability to create pressure on the quarterback will be crucial versus a Mississippi State team that is tied for 75th in the nation in sacks given up at 20.

If Mississippi State’s Rogers is still out with an injury, Turner will have the opportunity to get after Parson and Wright, who will both see action against the Aggies.

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About the Contributor
Eli Meschko
Eli Meschko, Sports Writer
Eli Meschko is a journalism senior from Boerne, Texas, and is minoring in communication and sports management. Eli has covered football, men's basketball, baseball, softball, hockey and track & field. Eli also writes for Dave Campbell's Texas Football as an intern. After graduation, Eli plans on pursuing a career in sports media or public relations.
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