Positional Breakdown, Part-9: Defensive Ends

Senior Pernell McPhee

Included is a detailed breakdown of the Mississippi State defensive ends based on their 2009 play and how they looked and performed during the just-completed spring practices and scrimmages.

Left Defensive End

Pernell McPhee (6'3 285) Senior

  • Scout Ranking:****
  • 2009 Stats:56 tkls./12 TFL/ 5 sks.
  • Spring Game: No Stats

    Synopsis:
    McPhee, one of the biggest Junior College recruits Mississippi State has gotten in the last few years, lived up to the hype in 2009 with a monster year. The player nicknamed "McPhenom" has become one of the best defensive ends in the SEC but will look to become one of the best in the nation in 2010.

    Strengths:

  • Swagger
  • Instincts
  • Run Support
  • Good Bull Rusher
  • Versatility
  • Athleticism
  • Size

    Weaknesses:

  • Football I.Q.
  • Technique
  • Speed Rush Ability

    2010 Projection:
    55 tkls./12 TFL/ 8 sks./3 PB - (1st Team All-SEC)

    McPhee will have another monster year under the tutelage of Coach Chris Wilson but will fall short of All-American status while rotating with Johnathan McKenzie.


    Johnathan McKenzie (6'5 265) Redshirt Freshman

  • Scout Ranking:**
  • 2009 Stats: No Stats, Redshirted
  • Spring Game: 5 tkls./1 sk.

    Synopsis:
    McKenzie, nicknamed "Drago" by his teammates, reminds many of the Russian boxer from Rocky with his relentless effort. McKenzie gave the starting offense fits this past season on scout team while redshirting. He lived up to the hype many were putting on him, having an impressive spring. McKenzie didn't earn a starting position during the spring partly due to not fitting the scheme on the weak side end position.

    Strengths:

  • Relentless Motor
  • Strength
  • Run Support
  • Intangibles
  • Toughness
  • Character
  • Work Ethic

    Weaknesses:

  • Athleticism
  • Versatility

    2010 Projection:
    33 Tkls./6 TFL/2 sks./1 PB - (All-SEC Freshman)

    McKenzie should give right tackles fits all next season and make the All-SEC freshman team.


    Trevor Stigers (6'4 255) Redshirt Sophomore

  • Scout Ranking:***
  • 2009 Stats: 3 Tks.
  • Spring Game: 1 tk./1 sk.

    Synopsis:
    Stigers came to Mississippi State with a lot of hype and was expected to contribute immediately but arrived late in the fall of 2008 and redshirted. He saw playing time sparingly in 2009 while battling injuries. He hoped to move up the depth chart during spring practice but was beat out by Johnathan McKenzie.

    Strengths:

  • Size
  • Athleticism

    Weaknesses:

  • Durability
  • Motor

    2010 Projection:
    12 tkls./1 TFL/0 Sks.

    Stigers should get some playing time in 2010 but I expect him to play primarily in blow out games.


    Kaleb Eulls (6'4 274) True Freshman

  • Scout Ranking:****
  • 2009 (High School) Stats: Unknown

    Synopsis:
    Eulls is one of the prized recruits of the 2010 signing class. He earned national attention as a hero for tackling a girl wielding a gun on his school bus. Eulls will now try to gain national attention for his prowess on the football field next year for the Bulldogs.

    Strengths:

  • Versatility
  • Athleticism
  • Character

    Weaknesses:

  • Toughness
  • Technique

    2010 Projection:
    Redshirt

    Eulls will likely redshirt unless there is an injury that forces him into action.


    Right Defensive End

    Nick Bell (6'3 265) Redshirt Sophomore

  • Scout Ranking:**
  • 2009 Stats: 15 tkls./2.5 TFL./ 0.5 sks.
  • Spring Game: 3 tkls.

    Synopsis:
    Bell had a slow start to the 2009 season but eventually became a regular part of the rotation by the end of the season. He opened the spring as the starting weak side end and held onto the spot through the entire spring.

    Strengths:

  • Versatility
  • Size
  • Strength
  • Athleticism

    Weaknesses:

  • Stiff

    2010 Projection:
    36 Tkls./7 TFL./3 Sks./4 PB

    Bell should have a pretty good year next year, benefiting from the pressure created by McPhee, Cox, and Boyd.


    Sean Ferguson (6'4 250) Junior

  • Scout Ranking:**
  • 2009 Stats: 25 tkls./5.5 TFL/1.0 sks.
  • Spring Game: 5 tkls./3 TFL/2 sks.

    Synopsis:
    Ferguson played early in his career, starting the first game of his true freshman season at defensive end. Ferguson drew a few starts this past season and had a solid year. He came into the spring looking to secure a starting position but was beat out by Nick Bell. He still is expected to get a lot of snaps next season in the rotation.

    Strengths:

  • Competitiveness
  • Durability
  • Experience
  • Run Support

    Weaknesses:

  • Athleticism
  • Pass Rush
  • Versatility

    2010 Projection:
    18 Tkls./2 TFL/1 Sks./1 PB

    Ferguson will start out as the primary backup to Bell but will eventually get beat out by Shane McCardell.


    Shane McCardell (6'4 245) Redshirt Sophomore

  • Scout Ranking:**
  • 2009 Stats:1 Tkl.
  • Spring Game: 3 tkls./1 TFL./1 sks.

    Synopsis:
    McCardell has had a slow start to his career, redshirting as a freshman and only playing in passing situations last year. He was looking to earn more playing time in the spring but still sat at the bottom of the depth chart when the spring ended. He still has the most raw talent of any defensive end Mississippi State has and could be a force if he can put it all together.

    Strengths:

  • Elite Athleticism
  • Versatility
  • Pass Rush

    Weaknesses:

  • Toughness
  • Run Support
  • Strength
  • Awareness
  • Aggressiveness

    2010 Projection:
    15 Tkls./3 Sks./4 TFL/4 PB

    McCardell will be used primarily as a pass rush specialist to start the season but eventually will be Nick Bell's backup.


    Corvell Harrison-Gay (6'3 260) True Freshman

  • Scout Ranking:**
  • 2009 (High School) Stats: 84 tkls./9 TFL/ 4 sks./ 2 int.

    Synopsis:
    Harrison-Gay was one of the guys originally thought to be a signed and place signee. He worked hard in the classroom and should be on campus in June. He played linebacker in high school but should play defensive end in college.

    Strengths:

  • Athleticism
  • Size
  • Versatility
  • Tackling

    Weaknesses:

  • Change of Direction
  • Technique

    2010 Projection:
    Redshirt

    Harrison-Gay will likely redshirt to allow his body to develop.


    Paul Crawford (6'8 230) True Freshman

  • Scout Ranking:**
  • 2009 (High School) Stats: 72 tkls./ 5 TFL/ 1 sk.

    Synopsis:
    Crawford was also considered a sign and place guy but he might have a chance to qualify if everything falls just right for him. If Crawford qualifies then he could fit into the late bloomer category and become a steal for Mississippi State.

    Strengths:

  • Size
  • Length
  • Athleticism
  • Tackling
  • Intensity

    Weaknesses:

  • Lumbering Movement
  • Raw

    2010 Projection:
    Redshirt

    Crawford will likely redshirt to develop his body.


    Jeremiah Short is a columnist who covers various Mississippi State sports for GenesPage.com. He can be reached by email at moot2005@yahoo.com

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