It's July, which means it's basically football season, right? Well, we're certainly close. With that in mind, the BulldogBlitz.com Senior Spotlight continues today. Every day, until there are none left, we will profile one of Mississippi State's seniors entering their last year in Starkville.
No. 14 Chris Relf, quarterback, 6-4, 240-pounds
How did he get here? Rated a two-star by Rivals.com coming out of high school in Montgomery, Alabama, Relf committed to play for Mississippi State in 2006, under then-coach Sylvester Croom and offensive coordinator Woody McCorvey. He also showed interest in Vanderbilt, Auburn and Alabama, but only MSU offered.
What did he do in 2010? Last season was a bit of a coming out party for Relf, particularly the second half of his junior campaign. After mixed results in a lopsided timeshare with Tyson Lee in his sophomore year, Relf took the reins and led his team to a 9-4 season in 2010 capped by victories in the Egg Bowl and the Gator Bowl. Relf completed 58.6-percent of his 220 passes racking up 1,789 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions. He was also second on the team in rushing with 713 yards and five touchdowns.
Relf only passed for over 200 yards once in his first 10 games (210 against Alcorn State) but then he passed for 224, 288 and 281 yards in his final three games versus Arkansas, Ole Miss and Michigan, throwing six touchdowns in the process.
What does he need to do in 2011? Surprisingly to many, Relf will have a chance to cement himself among the best quarterbacks in MSU history. In Dan Mullen's third year, expectations are high for continued improvement and success after 2010's surprise run and much of that responsibility will fall on Relf's shoulders. In his sophomore season, Relf was purely a running threat. As a junior, he emerged as passer but for most of the season opponents were primarily concerned with his feet.
Many expect Relf to build on his success through the air in the end of 2010 and emerge as a true passing threat in 2011 aided by a deeper and more experienced group of receivers. If he does, he could earn himself a prominent place both in Bulldog lore and the rise of Dan Mullen.
Coach's quote: Les Koenning, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach: "His confidence has really boosted a lot and that has been very helpful to him. When he first came in he wasn't loaded with a lot of confidence. That is not saying anything bad against the other staff here. It was just that Relf was a young kid that has matured now. We've tailored some things for him in the offense and it's been a good marriage.
"The other part with Relf was just playing well in games and the teams he beat gave him a lot of confidence. And he likes that role of being a leader. Since we are usually a no-huddle team, his vocal leadership is not that big of a deal but he did improve in that area. He is still a quiet leader that leads by example and he does that in our offseason program, too, and it shows out on the field."