The biggest news of the week for MSU is the two new additions to Dan Mullen's staff. With Chris Wilson leaving after losing his defensive coordinator title (Wilson is now at UGA) and Melvin Smith leaving to be the cornerbacks coach at Auburn, it was important for Dan Mullen to make very solid hires to fill both positions. He needed guys that could recruit, as well as develop talent at each position. MSU has young talent at the cornerback position and the defensive line position. He hired guys that can develop that talent and bring more talent to the position on the recruiting trail.
Mullen hired former MSU assistant, David Turner, to coach the defensive line. Turner was most recently on Joker Phillip's staff at Kentucky. He coached under Sylvester Croom and under Mullen in his first season. He was one of the few coaches Mullen retained when he arrived in Starkville. He was thought to have been a key part of the recruitment of Fletcher Cox, Josh Boyd and Pernell McPhee.
Mullen's new cornerbacks coach is Deshea Townsend. Townsend played in the NFL for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Indianapolis Colts. He's spent the last two seasons as the assistant defensive backs coach for the Arizona Cardinals. He was a part of two super bowl victories during his playing days in Pittsburgh. He is originally from Batesville, Mississippi, where he attended South Panola High School and later went on to sign and play football at Alabama. He has many connections in the Batesville area and could prove to be an effective recruiter there. Also, I would add that growing up a big Steelers fan, and following his career, he was one of my favorite players during his playing days.
The first commitment of the class of 2014 for MSU comes from Nikia Cathey of Memphis, Tennessee. He is known as a speedster and a very effective return man for Westwood High School. Cathey was being recruited already by the likes of Vanderbilt and Ole Miss as well. He was recruited by Tim Brewster, who has proven himself to be a very effective recruiter in his short time for the Bulldogs. Cathey is an athlete that could end up anywhere from running back, to receiver, or even defensive back at the next level. The one certainty with him though is his abilities as a return guy. A good, early pick up for the 2014 class.
2013 class update
- Former MSU commit, Kailo Moore, committed to Ole Miss Friday morning and said he was done with the recruiting process. This should cap off the possibility of MSU signing another running back in the 2013 class. I think they will take Ashton Shumpert and call it a day. They are still recruiting Vandy commitment, Johnathan Ford, but they appear to like him in the slot.
- The quarteback position continues to be a position of interest as signing day 2013 approaches. John O'Korn seems to be a name that just gets hotter for MSU. Josh Dobbs is still out there, but if he continues to wait, MSU may just cap off their QB class and take O'Korn. If neither work out, other names could still surface.
- The battle for De'Runnya Wilson is still ongoing between Auburn and MSU. The visits could likely tell the tale here. MSU lead for a while, but staying close to home and playing for the in-state program could win out in the end for Wilson.
- Donald Gray continues to say MSU leads and it was shaping up to be an uncontested race, however, Nebraska offered recently. It is unclear how interested Gray will be in the late offer, but it is just that, late. If Gray takes a visit, it could get interesting, but MSU is closer and appears to have a relationship that should win out in the end. Nonetheless, it will be hard to ignore an offer from Nebraska.
- A few developments for MSU now that State has hired Townsend. First off, his relationship to players at South Panola, most specifically Tony Conner. He has a relationship with Tony and that very well could result in a visit for MSU now. It had looked like MSU had been all but eliminated and now it appears MSU will get a visit. However, it will be hard to catch up to Alabama and Ole Miss for Tony, as those two programs have lead throughout. Secondly, MSU can now get the Alexander twins, Mackensie and Mackenro, in for a visit. They delayed their visit set for this weekend, because of the absence of a position coach for them to meet. That will now change.
- It will be interesting to see how Townsend develops as a recruiter, because he is relatively inexperienced as a coach and has no exposure to college coaching and recruiting and things of that nature. There is no reason to believe he won't be a good recruiter, however. He has NFL experience, super bowls, and is, by all accounts, an energetic, likable guy.
- Now for some bonus recruiting. What I mean by that is there are currently recruiting battles going on that no one is really aware of. There are some guys in this 2013 in-state class that are being fought over to place. Tony Bridges, Jarius Moore, Kameron Myers, and Montreal Jordan. These guys are guys that are either not ready for the SEC out of high school or may not qualify. MSU and Ole Miss will battle to place these guys in JUCOs or will try to sway them to walk on. These are guys that could go to JUCO and come back out and blow up in their second go round in recruiting much like Justin Cox did. Bridges is a defensive back from Hattiesburg who surfaced at the MS/AL all-star event. Jarius Moore is an athlete from Terry High School in Jackson who had a big senior season and garnered interest late. Kameron Myers is a guy that was big time his sophomore and junior years, but never grew into an SEC frame. However, Meyers had a good showing at the MS/AL all-star event and schools re-evaluated late in the process. Jordan is a guy that was named Dandy Dozen and was all but ready to be big time prospect that had offers from Ole Miss and MSU and interest from Alabama, before getting hurt and having bad camp showings this past summer. MSU and Ole Miss cooled on him and now he appears to be headed to JUCO. I have also heard Jordan may walk on at Ole Miss, but it's never a sure thing until a walk on enrolls. I still think he could end up at JUCO. Whichever school can place these guys and get first dibs on them out of JUCO will have a leg up in their second recruitment.