STARKVILLE, Miss. — It’s easy to lose Mississippi State’s Jameon Lewis on the football field. At just 5-foot-9 and 187 pounds, he can often slice through creases in the defense or slip behind the offensive line undetected.
And when that happens, the other team is usually in trouble.
Lewis might be the most versatile player in the Southeastern Conference. He’s listed as a receiver, but pulled the rare trifecta last season of accounting for a passing, rushing and receiving touchdown in the same game.
Even more impressive: He did it twice.
“I am glad I caught some eyes last year,” Lewis said.
“But I think the best is yet to come.”
Mississippi State opens its season against Southern Miss on Saturday at newly remodeled Davis Wade Stadium.
Bulldogs’ quarterback Dak Prescott is the undeniable focal point of the offense this season after throwing for 1,940 yards and rushing for 829 more in 2013, but Lewis isn’t far behind as the second option.
The senior led the team with 64 catches for 923 yards and five touchdowns while needing just 13 carries to rush for 117 yards and three touchdowns.
Then there was the passing threat: He completed all three of his attempts for 84 yards and three touchdowns.
Lewis and Prescott work together well when paired together in the backfield.
And Lewis’ throwing ability have even allowed Prescott to moonlight as a receiver: He was the one who caught two of the receiver’s touchdown passes.
“It’s the best, really,” Prescott said. “You can get the ball to him quick, hand it off to him. Just get it to him in the open field and he is going to make plays. I have that confidence in him that, down field 1-on-1 with that defender on him, I have the confidence in him and he knows I am going to throw him the ball.”
Lewis was a high school quarterback and is comfortable throwing passes. The Bulldogs need him to have a big senior season, and Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen is confident Lewis can still bring an element of surprise.
“The key to trick plays is when you call them,” Mullen said. “Inherently, you draw up a trick play and there’s a lot of danger to call it. It can be a big hit or it can be a big miss. So a lot of times it’s more the ‘when,’ not the ‘what’ you’re calling.”
Mullen has never been afraid to call trick plays. Lewis was his go-to man last season, but there might be a few more wrinkles in the future.
“I think our personnel gives us the flexibility to be able to do that,” Mullen said. “When we get guys who are high school quarterbacks — not just with Jameon Lewis but now you’ve got Gabe Myles — you have guys who are going to be comfortable doing things.”
Lewis says he’s excited about the season opener because he was recruited by Southern Miss and has some former high school teammates who play for the Golden Eagles.
But he cautioned against expecting too much in the season opener.
“Yeah, we got some of those packages still,” said Lewis. “But I am pretty sure we’re not gonna pull those out until mid-season when games get real.”