STARKVILLE, MS - SEPTEMBER 15: Mississippi State players gather in the end zone for the playing of the Alma Mater after the loss to LSU 19-6 on September 15, 2011 at Davis Wade stadium in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images)
Dan Mullen wants to lock down the borders of Mississippi to keep all the Magnolia talent in-state. And he wants them all to come to Mississippi State - and he's stomped Ole Miss three times to prove to them this is where they should come.
We all know there is a lot of talented players in the state of Mississippi. It's been said plenty of times that if there was only one major school instead of three competing for such a small, but talented, pool of players Mississippi would produce a college football power. But it's not that way. Mullen wants to win with Mississippi kids nonetheless. He wants MSU to be the school for the top flight talent to attend. He says he wants to win big with 70, 80, 90% Mississippi players - but is that really what we are getting?
I honestly think it would be tough to compete year-in and year-out with 80-90% of MSU's players from Mississippi. For the 2013 class, there are only 15-20 3-star or better players - and most years there are over 25. So while Mullen has said he is aiming for a very high percentage of MS players, is he making this a hard and fast rule?
State has 19 commits right now for the 2013 class - 10 of them are from Mississippi. Not exactly 80%. In 2012, 16 out of 28 were from Mississippi - that's 57%. 73% in 2011 and 2010. Clearly being from the Magnolia state isn't a prerequisite to playing for the Bulldogs. Mullen is sticking to his "5-hour radius" rule more than anything.
Hopefully beating up on Ole Miss (and their misfortune) will lead to landing most of the top Mississippi prospects each year. If the state is thin at certain positions, in-state players can't make up their minds, or they don't want to come to Starkville, then Mullen definitely isn't going to sit around waiting on a call. Out-of-state players will always be needed to fill in the gaps and maybe even provide a star or two.
I don't think Mississippi State will ever have 80-90% of players from Mississippi. I think we can put that debate to rest. It just isn't going to happen. But I do think we can represent the state of Mississippi well and win big with 60-70% from the Magnolia state.