I have seen this question floated around the site several times this week, so we are going to take a look at how many open spots Mississippi State currently has remaining in its 2013 signing class. With National Signing Day now less than a week away, it's important to know how many spots MSU has left for recruits to come aboard for this class. It is also important for you to know up front that I am far from a professional recruiting analyst, so you can most likely deem this post as a slightly less than educated attempt to solve the numbers game revolving around this class. But with all of the decommitments, commitments, and various updates lately, I thought it was a good idea to take another look. Okay, here we go.
For starters, this guessing game is an inexact science. There's scholarships that count back to a previous class, early enrollees, grayshirts, sign and place, and goodness knows what else that helps coaches squeeze their classes into the 25 man limit. To avoid any potential confusion (other than mine, which is already well established in my head), let's say that each year, a college football team can sign 25 players to scholarship. So, here at the beginning, MSU has 25 spots to fill with signees.
Now we bring up the four players who have already signed and enrolled at MSU for the spring semester. Of the four that enrolled early -- Justin Cox, Jeremey Chappelle, Kivon Coman, and Aritmas Samuel -- the latter 2 of those were prep-schoolers, and their scholarships count back to the class of 2012 because that is the class they originally signed with.
25 scholarships - 2 already signed (J. Cox and J. Chappelle) + 0 for players (K. Coman and A. Samuel) who count back to previous class = 23 scholarships
That leaves MSU heading into National Signing Day with 23 spots to fill. Now, are they required to fill all of those? No, they are not. What happens to the spots that they don't fill? They transfer over to the next class, for use in 2014. Coaches may sometimes use that to their advantage if they know that a certain class may bring in more talent or more potential, or if there isn't as much demand in one year as they expect there to be in the next. So, it's important to note that they aren't required to fill all of the spots simply to use them. The scholarships are like your wireless plan's rollover minutes, essentially.
Using the 247 Sports website's listing, MSU currently has 18 players committed (who are not currently enrolled at MSU). Out of those 18, we can currently expect, within a reasonable doubt, that 16 will sign with MSU and enroll in the fall. Before you become puzzled, let me list those 16, and then we'll talk about the remaining 2.
- Ashton Shumpert - RB
- Donald Gray - ATH
- Jake Thomas - OL
- Cord Sandberg - QB
- Gabe Myles - CB
- Kent Flowers - OL
- De'Runnya Wilson - WR
- Shelby Christy - WR
- - ATH
- B.J. Hammond - WR
- - QB
- Jamaal Clayborn - OL
- Dezmond Harris - ATH
- Tyre'oune Holmes - ATH
- Tolando Cleveland - DB
- Trent Simpson - DE
Those are the 16, in my opinion, that MSU feels certain will sign with them on February 6th and enroll in the fall. As always, there is nothing -- and I mean nothing -- guaranteed in the world of recruiting, so do not hold my feet to the fire if that doesn't work out exactly that way. Now, back to the remaining two commitments. Here are the two that we didn't list above:
- Chris Jones - DE
- Ulric Jones - DE
Why did we leave those out?
Well for starters, if you've been following Jones' recruitment lately, you know that there have been developments as of late that would move him from a definite MSU signee to a NSD decision. Although some feel he will still sign with MSU, it is now a wide open race, as Jones has stated that he will announce his decision on NSD between either Ole Miss or MSU at his school. Whether or not we feel good about him signing with MSU, for now, he's listed as an open spot.
Ulric Jones, according to the recruiting writers, is likely headed to junior college first. He would sign with MSU and they would place him at a Juco. He still counts against the 2013 class.
So, there's your explanation for the two "commitments" that aren't counted as guaranteed to enroll in the fall. All that being said, let's take a look at where our number currently stands.
23 scholarships - 18 assumed signees = 5 spots
Despite this number being at five, most recruiting experts say MSU has a varying range of 3-5 spots remaining. There is hullabaloo about the difference in those estimates, but we'll leave that for another time and place.
ANSWER: 3-5 spots remain
Now that we know a range of how many spots State still has, here is a list of the candidates. I will let John Luke give you more of a feel for the chance that we land these, but I wanted to you at least be able to see the names all listed in one place. And, should I have left one or two out, please let me know, and I will add them in.
This is the million dollar question that you've all been waiting for. Now that we know that State has approximately 3-5 spots left to fill, let's take a look at who are candidates for those spots
Chris Jones - 5-star DE - Houston, MS
Jones is the prime target to fill one of those spots. I can say with confidence that there is no target left on the board that MSU wants as a part of this class than Jones. We will find out NSD.
Deon Mix - 3-star OL - Batesville, MS
Mix was a part of this class from last summer up until earlier this week, when he decommitted. It is widely reported that Mix's decommitment came after a disagreement over him visiting other schools. Although nothing is certain, MSU is working to resolve that disagreement, and bring Mix back in as a part of this class. His decision won't come until NSD, but State coaches and fans hope they can add him back in.
Toby Johnson - 4-star DT - Hutchinson (KS) CC
Johnson was a late addition to MSU's radar, and his family presence in Mississippi makes this one interesting. However, we won't know if he'll be a part of the MSU class until after February 6th, as Johnson will delay his decision until February 13th to take a visit to MSU two weekends from now.
Tony Conner - 5-star DB - Batesville, MS
Although Conner has been a perceived Ole Miss - Alabama battle for awhile now, never say never for MSU in this fight. The hiring of Deshea Townsend was enough to get the South Panola star to visit, and he will make that trip to Starkville this weekend. Will Townsend's, a former USP star himself and a large figure in the Batesville area, hiring be enough to help State land Conner? Probably not. But, as we learn year in and year out, never say never in the world of recruiting.
Mackensie Alexander - 5-star DB - Immokalee, FL
The final destination of this talented corner could be anywhere. Recruiting experts say he's the kind of guy who could go to bed next Tuesday having decided on one school, only to wake up the next day and sign with another. He's shown interest in MSU as of late, but that means very little. We will find out who he decides on in a couple of days.
Jahmere Irvin-Sills - 3-star DB - Elkton, MD
Another talented cornerback that could become a part of this class depending on how things shake out next Wednesday. The late breaking addition of Tolando Cleveland may have taken Irvin-Sills spot, however.
Fred Ross - 4-star WR - Tyler, TX
The Oklahoma State commitment became a big target for MSU after a secret official visit over the weekend pushed his interest in MSU up. Will he sign with Okie State or MSU? We still don't know
Mackenro Alexander - 3-star DB - Immokalee, FL
The quieter brother of the aforementioned Alexander, Mackenro could, like his brother, end up anywhere. There's talk of the two playing together somewhere, but that's not a guarantee. If they do decide so, MSU is one of the few schools to offer both. However, Auburn just joined that crowd, and could become a more potent contender for the twins services in the final week.
One can quickly ascertain that the above list constitutes a greater total than the remaining spots that MSU has. However, should MSU be able to land the majority of the above mentioned candidates for final positions, I have no doubt that class maneuvering will occur to squeeze the final prospects in.