regular season finale against Ole Miss and has spent the time since recovering. He avoided all contact drills in the spring as a precaution, but teammates believe Fitzgerald will be back to his gamechanging self come September when the season kicks off.
“We've watched him put in the rehab and been up here early in the mornings and he has worked to get himself back right,” running back Kylin Hill said of Fitzgerald during the spring.
Sweat and Simmons are looking to replicate or improve upon last season's efforts in 2018. Both were All-SEC first team selections last year.
Sweat led the SEC with 10.5 sacks and won three different SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week awards in 2017. He could have used that success to springboard into this past April's NFL Draft, but he instead elected to return for his senior year.
“It was a decision that I made with my family and with my coaches,” Sweat said in the spring. “We thought it would be best for me just to come back and get my degree in December and go ahead and have another great season and take it from there.”
Like Sweat, Simmons also had a strong year last season. He won a pair of SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week awards himself and finished the campaign with 60 tackles including 12 for loss. He also had five sacks.
The combination of Sweat and Simmons gives MSU as talented of a duo up front as any team in the SEC this coming year.
Fitzgerald, Sweat, Simmons and the rest of the Bulldogs open up the 2018 season on Sept. 1 at 6:30 p.m. in a home game against Stephen F. Austin.