Background Photo courtesy Grant Halverson, Getty Images
With the holidays behind us, we have a wild end to the 2013 recruiting class ahead. Get an update here.
This is called the "silly season" for a reason. The things that you hear and the things that will happen are just down right silly sometimes. So the holidays are behind us, the new year is on the horizon, and Signing Day (full disclosure, it's my favorite holiday even with my birthday coming on October 31st and yes, Signing Day is a holiday) 2013 just 42 days away.
I would like to start by saying I hope everyone had a great Christmas holiday. I hope everyone was able to hug the loved ones they have around them and tell them that you love them and are lucky to have them. I also hope everyone is is looking forward to the new year and the opportunity that comes with it.
Now I'll stop all of that and get to the point of this post before I lose my readers.
As I'm sure you are aware by now, former cornerbacks coach Melvin Smith, has accepted the same position at Auburn. Dan Mullen has proven himself a great hirer of assistant coaches. For bowl prep and the bowl game, it appears that Tony Hughes will coach the entire secondary and a hire will be made after the bowl game. The loss of Smith could affect recruiting in a negative way. He was a tremendous recruiter of the state of Mississippi and one of the most revered recruiters of the Mississippi Delta.
Yesterday was dominated by the news of Kailo Moore's decommitment. Smith was his main recruiter. While losing Smith probably played a part in Moore's decision, this decommitment has been a longtime coming and served as merely a reason for his decommitment. MSU will still recruit Moore, but the rumors of him ending back up at Ole Miss appear to be coming true.
MSU still has many big fish left on the board and here is a breakdown of the players they are still recruiting at each position. Remember this list is fluid as new names will pop up in January as the official visit period really begins to heat up. Also, MSU could be done recruiting Junior College players for this class, but guys who graduate in May could still pop up on the JUCO list for this class. I will update you as any new names appear on this list.
Quarterback - Of course MSU still has a commitment from Cord Sandberg here, but the MLB draft is looming appears to be more of a threat with each passing week. Dan Mullen and company have continued to recruit guys at this position, most specifically Josh Dobbs of Alpharetta, Georgia. He has visited and will come on an official visit in January, as well. He is currently committed to Arizona State and being pursued by Stanford as well. Stanford is also interested in him for baseball. A new name to this position is Houston commit and St. Thomas Aquinas High School quarterback, John O'Korn. He is 6-3 210 and has a big arm. He lead St. Thomas Aquinas to the state championship his senior season. Arkansas is also looking at him hard. New names could surface at this position in the coming weeks.
Running Back - The story stops and ends at this position with Ashton Shumpert as I've been telling you guys for a while now. I personally feel that Shumpert has NFL potential on the defensive side of the ball, but the depth chart at MSU will allow him to step in and play running back. He doesn't talk much so people are left to speculate about his recruitment. It has long been thought that he is an MSU lean and I have no reason to believe otherwise but you can't discount Ole Miss in his recruitment when the calendar turns to January. His visits might tell the tale. I expect him to provide a fun ride for recruitnicks in the countdown to signing day 2013. Also look for MSU to go hard after Vandy commitment, Johnathan Ford. He will be more of a slot-back type of guy, however. There might be other running backs brought in on visits just in case.
Wide Receiver - De'Runnya Wilson continues to be the hot name here. He says that MSU still leads even with Auburn and Tennessee recently coming in with offers. Look for MSU to bring in some wide receivers on visits to make sure they have a plan B if WIlson does not ink with them. Ole Miss commit, Derrick Jones, is also a name of interest here since his showing at the MS/AL all-star game. He didn't get an offer at camp this summer, and probably won't, but a name to watch, nonetheless. There is also a possibility that MSU could be done at receiver.
Offensive Line - MSU has put together a very quality offensive line class to this point and are not desperate to ink another. However, if they do, it will likely be Sunny Odogwu of Hargrave.
Defensive Line - As for the interior defensive line slot, David Washington of Hinds Community College, continues to be the name that appears. He has been waiting for an MSU offer for a while since decommitting from Kentucky this past fall. It is still unsettled if that offer will come or not. As for the end slots on the defensive line, it appears that they are happy with what they have at this position, especially Chris Jones. However, with that being said, they are still going hard after Elijah Daniel as he is too talented to pass up and the interest is mutual. Daniel is a guy from Indiana that is being pursued hard by the home state school and it would not be a surprise if he signed with Indiana, however he has family in the South and was born in the South and has a desire to come back to the South, especially the SEC. He has a brother at Marshall. He also has a lot of interest in Ole Miss. I am of the opinion, however, that if he makes a scheduled January visit to Florida, they will be in the driver's seat to land him. However, MSU, Ole Miss, Indiana, and Florida will all have a good shot at signing him. He was once a Clemson commitment.
Linebacker - they appear to be happy with this position for the class. Names could surface here, but they appear to be happy with what they have. Mackenro Alexander (brother of Mackensie Alexander who we will discuss in a minute) is a name to keep an eye on here, though.
Secondary - Mackensie Alexander is a name I just mentioned and MSU is after him hard. He says MSU is recruiting him the hardest currently. He is from Florida and it could be hard to pull him from the home state, but MSU is giving it a go. Jalen Ramsey is another guy in the secondary that MSU is going hard after that is a highly sought after prospect. Currently a USC commit, but acting like any but. He is being heavily pursued by Florida and Alabama. Those two are considered favorites, especially with Nick Saban taking over his recruitment for Alabama. The home state Tennessee Vols have also gotten back in the game with their coaching change. He is a long shot, but like Alexander, MSU is pursuing him hard.
Athlete - Donald Gray is a guy out of Memphis that could play corner or receiver in college and MSU is pursuing him to fill a best available slot if that is an open slot when it is all said and done. If Gray can get qualified and MSU has a spot, he could be a big late addition.
The 2014 class in Mississippi has the makings of a very deep class. There will be some star power at the top, but the depth of the 2014 class in-state is impressive. In the coming weeks, when I have time because I'll be busy covering the 2013 class for you guys, I'll try to start dropping some names and early analysis of some of the 2014 prospects in Mississippi that are already making a name for themselves and some guys that could surprise in the 2014 class. So look forward to that in the midst of the 2013 class drawing to an end. Junior days will begin in January so you will begin to start learning about these 2014 guys soon enough.