As Kylin Hill may not return to team, Mike Leach tells fans to 'brace' for more player departures

·3-min read

Mississippi State’s roster appears to be in a time of significant change.

Bulldogs coach Mike Leach said Wednesday during his SEC teleconference appearance that he hadn’t been in contact with running back Kylin Hill recently. According to multiple reports, Hill is opting out of the season to prep for the NFL draft.

“I haven’t talked to Kylin,” Leach said. “What I’ve heard is that he’s opting out and preparing for the NFL.”

Leach’s comments came a day after he said he had “no update” on Hill’s status and that he was “still unavailable.”

Hill is Mississippi State’s top running back and was a key part of the state’s efforts to change its flag. Hill didn’t play in MSU’s loss to Texas A&M on Oct. 17 and, according to Sports Illustrated, had an outburst after the pass-happy MSU offense struggled mightily in a 24-2 loss to Kentucky.

Hill emerged as a star in 2019. He rushed 242 times for 1,350 yards and had 10 touchdowns to go along with 18 catches for 180 yards. He nearly doubled his rushing output of 734 yards as a sophomore in 2018.

He could have left for the 2020 NFL draft but instead came back for his senior season. And that season could have lasted just three games and encompassed 15 carries and 23 catches.

Mike Leach said a ‘purge’ could be coming

Leach warned after that Kentucky game that a “purge” could be coming to the MSU roster. The Bulldogs threw 70 passes in that loss and K.J. Costello and Will Rogers combined to throw six interceptions. It was an offensive performance that was a stark contrast to the one the Bulldogs had two weeks earlier when MSU stunned LSU to open the season.

“I think we’re going to have to kind of check some of our group and figure out who really wants to play here,” Leach said after that Kentucky loss. “Any malcontents, we’re going to have to purge a couple of those.”

Well, there’s been some significant roster turnover in 2020. If Hill has indeed opted out of the season, he’s one of seven Mississippi State players who have either left the team or are in the transfer portal looking for a new school. And according to Leach, fans should be prepared for more.

“Every time I’ve been involved with a new program there’s been a certain amount of turnover,” Leach said. “I mean — you need guys to buy into what you’re doing and you need guys to buy in and you need guys to want to work really hard and play really hard and do it the right way. Coming in, you have certain rules and expectations that you expect to be followed and either they abide by them or they don’t ... I’d be surprised if we don’t lose more. If you’re stunned or nervous, I mean you better brace yourself that we might lose more.”

Mississippi State coach Mike Leach stands on the sideline during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in Lexington, Ky. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)
Mississippi State has lost three consecutive games after beating LSU to start the season. (Getty Images)

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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