MSU's Mixon, Dear back from injuries

Mississippi State's Keith Mixon looks to break a tackle against Auburn last season.

Staff Writer

They’re back.

It has been a long few months for Mississippi State junior wide receivers Keith Mixon and Malik Dear. Both guys are used to being productive members of the Bulldog offense. However both were hampered by injuries last year. Mixon battled a foot ailment, missed five games and then was still limited this past spring. Dear tore the ACL in his left knee back in the spring of 2017, then sat out all last season recovering.

Now, both are back, close to full strength and enjoying the preparations to get back to their old selves headed into MSU’s 2018 season.

“It feels good,” Mixon said. “I’ve been out for so long now. I’m just learning the new offense and basically getting my feet back under me.”

Dear is experiencing similar emotions.

“It’s the best feeling I’ve had in a long time,” Dear said. “It’s way better than last year. I’m coming off the knee injury and I just feel reformed and fresh and liking the brand new me.”

If Mixon and Dear can come back this season and perform anywhere close to their previous levels, it’ll be a big benefit for a Mississippi State offense that needs receivers to step up after a down year for the unit last year in which no pass catcher had more than 276 yards receiving.

Dear has played in 23 total games in his Bulldog career. He has been a versatile threat with 481 total yards receiving and four touchdowns. He has also run for 234 yards and a pair of scores.

Mixon boasts similar credentials with 503 career receiving yards and three touchdowns to go along with 119 career yards on the ground.

Both expect to have the chance to add to those totals once the new season kicks off on Sept. 1. Though the duo can certainly use the rest of preseason camp to get their feet back under them, State seems to be counting on Mixon and Dear to be productive like they’ve been in the past and believe that opportunity is near.

“They’re on their way,” MSU wide receivers coach and offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said of Mixon and Dear. “I really do think both of them, from day one to right now have gotten a whole lot better. I think they’re both starting to get a little bit more comfortable and trusting in their bodies.

“By no means are they ready to rock and roll. Could they play a game today? I’d say no, but man, they are really close now and I’m excited.”

Mixon and Dear can’t wait to jump back in the midst of real action. It doesn’t hurt that they expect the air attack to be more a part of MSU’s offense than ever under first-year head coach Joe Moorhead.

“It’s a lot of passes,” Mixon said with a smile. “You should see (the receivers’) numbers go up this year.”

Whatever the numbers end up being, Mixon and Dear are just glad to be able to have another chance to contribute to them. Even before the two get back to action in a real game though, they’re already having positive impacts.

“Their attitudes have been awesome and they’re fighting their butts off to get on that field and it’s pushing everybody,” Getsy said.