Under the lights of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Jaquarius Landrews shone with eight tackles against the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, just a third of the total he had the year before.
Now a veteran defender who adds a lot of depth to the MSU secondary, Landrews, a senior safety from Summit, said he was forged by the path he took to get to MSU. Like the 17 other players on the roster who attended a community college prior to MSU, Copiah-Lincoln Community College gave Landrews the chance to play football in the SEC after he suffered an injury his senior year of high school.
“I came to a camp here at Mississippi State, and I showed Dan Mullen that I could play,” Landrews said. “He gave me an opportunity to play, and that’s how I earned my scholarship here.”
Head coach Joe Moorhead said he did not have a lot of experience recruiting from community colleges before he came to MSU, but he has learned it is a key to their recruiting and building the program.
“I think it's an invaluable resource for us,” Moorhead said. “The most interesting thing to me are kids [in Mississippi] who have FCS or Group of 5 offers, bypass that to choose to go to junior college because they have hopes and aspirations of playing FBS or in the SEC.”
Out of the 118 players on the MSU roster, 15 players went to a community college in Mississippi. Nearly 13% of the roster took a similar path to Landrews.
MSU’s Defensive Coordinator Bob Shoop said the State of Mississippi has a unique situation where players, who for whatever reason were not able to get a chance to play at a Division I school, can work their way to a scholarship offer at the many community colleges in the state.
“It is certainly a unique and great tool,” Shoop said. “The junior college system allows you to bring in a player who is an even older player.”
Shoop said he believes Landrews is a player who is prepared to emerge after a solid junior season last year.
In the 2018 season, Landrews recorded 21 tackles in 10 games played, as he contributed to a strong MSU defense. Landrews said Co-Lin prepared him for the next level because in community college Landrews said he did not have any help, it was just football and school.
“It humbled me a whole lot because I felt like I didn’t have another opportunity to play ball,” Landrews said. “After I received that opportunity, I took advantage of it. It just made me more alive and made me stronger.”
On the field, Shoop said Landrews is what he calls a "steady Eddie," adding that Landrews is usually in the right spot and is consistent in his play. The consistent nature of Landrew, and his calmness of presence are characteristics which Shoop said balances out Shoop's personality.
“He is the yin to my yang, a little bit,” Shoop said. “Sometimes, I get on to him pretty good. He has done a great job through this camp.”
Fall camp has now given way to football season. When Landrews runs out onto Scott Field at Davis Wade Stadium for one, last first home game against the University of Southern Mississippi this Saturday at 2:30 p.m., Landrews said fans can expect a lot out of him in his last guaranteed season of football.
“Expect to see a big performance out of me,” Landrews said. “I’m going to give it my all. It is my last one, I have to take advantage of my opportunities.”