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Thoughts on the 2013 signing class from the writers of FWtCT
1. What player are you most excited about in this class?
cristilmethod: Definitely Fred Ross. To me, Ross is the kind of game-changing talent that this offense needs on the outside. What is interesting on Ross is that with MSU's lack of depth at WR and Ross' talent, he could potentially come in and contribute immediately. The first team he could play against? Oklahoma State, who he was committed to since last February. Big pickup, and big late addition to MSU's class.
robnoladog: Chris Jones. No question. Highest rated recruit in MSU history. He could be our Jevon Kearse/Julius Peppers.
tbradenbishop: Fred Ross. I would've said Chris Jones but I already know a little about him. Ross, not so much. This 4-star receiver and Parade All-American could be our next Chad Bumphis-like man but a little taller. With Russell having an above average year last season, I could see Freddie really having a fun time fitting in.
JLGrindin: Most excited about Chris Jones. Obviously a guy I've been high on throughout. Even in the beginning. I feel like this is the obvious answer here, but I also consider Chris the number one player in the country. Great, great pickup.
WCF: I think it's obvious that Chris Jones is the most anticipated player in this class and might be the most anticipated ever. We're talking about a kid that was a two-star recruit that we were taking a chance on just six months ago. Scary to think that he's not even close to his full potential. A summer under Matt Balis' strength program and direction under David Turner, he should be ready.
Metal Building Dawg: Cord Sandberg. Yep, that's right, I'm picking a guy who has a 25% chance of even coming to campus, and a 5% chance of still being here past his third year and being THE GUY. But hey, if somehow he does stick around, and even if it's just for one year as a starter, he could be great. I'm thinking he could play as a true frosh because we know he'll be drafted after 3 years in baseball, then when he is, he'll still come back for his senior year, be the starter, and fit perfectly into Mullen's system. Maybe the baseball thing will be to our benefit in that other teams may have backed off and he was a solid commit who never wavered since last June, and he can come to Starkville and make some noise.
2. Is there a member of this class you think will be better than folks are anticipating?
cristilmethod: I think Gabe Myles could be really special. Myles wasn't talked much about because he committed early and he's a local guy, but he's an outstanding athlete. I think you could see him be one of the next stars in MSU's secondary, or anywhere that the coaches look to put him.
robnoladog: I really like De'Runnya Wilson. Huge target and has good wheels. Solid hands too. Probably needs some time to develop since he hasn't played a lot of football, but he could be a monster.
tbradenbishop: Chris Jones. You know, most people didn't know this kid eight months ago. Now, he's a household name. That type of instant hype is phenomenal. Folks know he's "going to be good" but I don't think we know exactly just how good he can be. This is kinda scary-fun.
JLGrindin: Again, a guy I've talked about a lot on the site, Kent Flowers. This kid has a great frame. He has quick feet. Could start out on the interior and will probably redshirt, but this is MSU's left tackle in time. Best offensive lineman in the state.
WCF: I'm very high on B.J. Hammond. I think that he has all the tools to be a great receiver in our league. The coaches did a great job putting together a strong wide receiver corp for this season after three big losses at the position. Hammond can stretch the field and has solid speed to be a down-field threat and I think there are two guys that will see the field at wide out this year from the class. He will be one of them.
Metal Building Dawg: I really like Kent Flowers as JL said, but I'll go Donald Grey here. Hopefully he'll make his grades and be in maroon for four years, he could be an excellent return guy, and receiver too. Excellent speed. Got to like speed.
3. Who will have the most immediate impact?
cristilmethod: Again, I think it will be Ross. Some might say Chris Jones because of the pure talent, but I think he's still behind Autry and potentially another. Jones could contribute pretty quickly too though, but for now, my money is on Ross. I would probably say Ashton Shumpert just because he is already well built for college ball, but MSU is already so deep at RB.
robnoladog: Justin Cox. Our secondary needs help and he could be Darius Slay 2.0.
tbradenbishop: Shumpert. The kid has been a hard-working young man for a few years now. He will do anything and everything the coach staff will tell him to do.
JLGrindin: This is an offensive and defensive thing. I agree with you guys here. On the defensive side of the ball, it's Justin Cox. Unless Redmond and Arrington make big jumps next year, he's the best DB on the team. On offense, it's Ross. Great speed. Good size. Also touted as a great route runner (which is rare for WRs coming out of high school). They need a playmaker in that receiver corps next season and he could make a few plays I feel.
WCF: With Jones coming in as a five-star defensive end, it's very tempting to think that he'll get right in there. I don't think that will be the case. The MSU defensive line is stacked with solid lineman with SEC experience. Quay Evans was thought to be SEC ready in high school and he struggled to grasp the system last season. So I believe the guy who will make the biggest impact early could be freshman wideout Fred Ross. Ross has a serious set of skills coming out of the talented Texas ranks. This was a huge pick up for the Bulldogs really late in the process and turns out to be a better deal than juco receiver Corey Smith.
Metal Building Dawg: Looking up and down this class, the only guys I see not redshirting are Chris Jones and Cord Sandberg (for reasons mentioned in #1). Maybe Fred Ross gets on the field, but no receiver has avoided the redshirt under Mullen since Bumphis and Chris Smith - and that was out of necessity. So I've got to go with Justin Cox, juco safety. Excellent ball player, and he comes into a position of need. I anticipate he will start at least a handful of games in 2013, but definitely be a starter in 2014.
4. Your final thoughts on the class...
cristilmethod: I think this class is a really, really strong one that filled a lot of needs. It won't get the attention that Ole Miss' or Alabama's will, but State really filled some needs in this class. Getting two QBs was necessary, and MSU did that with not only two guys, but two guys that really fit the Dan Mullen offense perfectly. If Cord Sandberg makes it to campus, he could really shine in that offense. I think some depth concerns were addressed well on the OL with Flowers, Clayborn and Thomas, and at the WR position with the huge haul including Christy, Ross, Gray, Hammond, and others. It also goes without saying that holding on to Chris Jones was a huge win for MSU, and I think he could really be a star for MSU in a couple of years. If I had to rate this class, I would give them a strong B, possibly a B+. I think the potential was there to move up to an A should they have landed Mackensie Alexander or Tony Conner, but that didn't happen. Still, a really nice showing on NSD for MSU.
robnoladog: Holding onto Jones was HUGE. Without him I think this class is disappointing. I would have loved to get Alexander as well. That would have taken this class to another level, but overall a really good group.
tbradenbishop: I'm satisfied with the class. The last two years have been so-so as far as recruiting. We, as well as many other nonrecruiting minds, need to keep in mind kids still need to get graduated, moved, tell girlfriends/parents/buddies audios, and just grow over the next few months. Some things change, some things don't. Our class gets a "B" from me.
JLGrindin: This class has some solid players that got overlooked. Then it has some potential stars. There are a few skill position guys that could play offense or defense and you have to have versatility like that in a class. Good along the lines of scrimmage. This class fills needs as well as any class in the country.
WCF: I love this class. It was highly overshadowed by the rival's star-studded class, but it makes the fans feel better that their coaches actually evaluated talent to develop rather than follow someone else's trail and star ratings. Looking at the rankings and finding the bulldogs in the middle to bottom half of the conference is not exactly indicative of what this class brings. You have several great talents but the rest are all raw guys that this coaching staff can really develop. As we've seen time and time again, the star system is jaded. Being a top-5 class never translated directly to wins. I think this is a group that will work hard and develop into a winner. Could be Dan Mullen's best class.
Metal Building Dawg: In my opinion, this is the best class Mullen has signed. It won't be ranked the highest, but that's because there will only be 21-22 signees. Remember there were 28 last year. I sound like a broken record, but MSU keeps steadily improving in this area and it's because of the string of winning seasons. Once we can group 4-5 top 25 classes together we'll be able to compete in the West. It's extremely difficult to close the gap when you're working with classes ranked in the 30s, 40s and 50s, which is what we have now. But get into the top 25, into the teens, and you can make up that difference. Mullen has State on the right path, and he's doing it the right way.
Last night WCF, JL, Justin and myself got together to record a National Signing Day podcast for Bulldog Sports Radio on the For Whom the Cowbell Tolls Radio Show. You can listen to it HERE or just click the audio player below.
These are our thoughts, but we'd love you hear yours as well, so drop them off in the comments or make your feelings know via our poll..
What did you think of MSU's 2013 signing class?
It was awesome (14 votes)
It's a solid class (138 votes)
Pretty average (17 votes)
Mediocre at best (4 votes)
Lousy (6 votes)
179 total votes