PERKINSTON — Mississippi Gulf Coast has made it to the postseason 10 straight years, the MACJC's longest active streak. The Bulldogs are looking to extend that and make it back to the top of the mountain in 2017.
Coach Chad Huff has a young squad in his fourth year, but he and his staff have put a lot of talent on the roster.
Ohio State-transfer Torrance Gibson (So., American Heritage/Plantation, Fla.) will start at quarterback, with a proven starter as backup in Larry Sisson (So., Resurrection/Pascagoula).
With an inexperienced wide receiver corps learning the ropes, they'll get help from a pair of experienced tight ends. Jake McDonald (So., New Albany/New Albany) caught 10 passes last year, and Landon Rice (Fr., Calhoun/Rome, Ga.) transferred from Auburn.
A pair of sophomore who got valuable experience last year anchor each end of the offensive line. Treyvion Shannon (So., Clarksdale/Clarksdale) and Carter Wood (So., Starkville Academy/Starkville) will bookend younger players on the interior.
"Like every year, we have to find what we can do offensively and continue to focus on those things we do well," coach Chad Huff said. "We have to take care of the football."
Aretavious Hendrix (So., Starkville/Starkville) returns in the secondary of defensive coordinator Steve Davis' 3-3 Stack defense. Saivion Smith (So., IMG Academy/IMG Academy) is a talented cornerback transfer from LSU with a host of athletic players in the mix for the other spots.
"This group can run," Huff said. "One thing I've been excited about is the speed of the secondary. One thing Coach Davis does defensively, the more speed he has on the back end, the more creative he gets up front."
A new group at linebackers is being led by USM transfer Isaiah Spencer. Huff said the group has made huge strides during the summer conditioning program and early work in fall camp.
Daquan Newkirk (Fr., The First Academy/Orlando, Fla.), an Auburn commit, and Isaiah Washington (So., Karr/New Orleans), an LSU transfer, will infuse the defensive front with talent. Brandon Walley (So., George County/George County), who played tight end last year, is transitioning to defensive end.
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