FWtCT's Crootin Catch - Up - February 1, 2013

All eyes will be on Chris Jones and Houston this Wednesday as Jones decides between MSU and Ole Miss - USA TODAY Sports

Just 5 days before National Signing Day, here are the latest happenings inside MSU football recruiting.

We're just 5 days away from my personal favorite holiday. You heard me right, National Signing Day is a holiday. That, however, is a story for another day.

There is a lot to talk about, but the number of players still left on the board for MSU are not plentiful. Most of MSU's class is in place and they are still pursuing only a handful of players.

  • One of the players Dan Mullen and company are still after is Mississippi's top prep and a longtime MSU commitment, Chris Jones. There have been rumors that Jones would visit Ole Miss and MSU unofficially this weekend before deciding on National Signing day. Then there have been rumors that Jones would simply host Dan Mullen and then Hugh Freeze in his home for their final in-home visits on Saturday. With Chris, there is no way to be sure. We will have to simply wait and see what happens. What we do know with him is that he will announce on National Signing Day. He has yet to get a slot to do so on TV, but expect ESPN to pick that announcement up as it has with the nation's top prospects. Everybody thinks they know on this one, but I am under the impression that Chris is truly undecided and we will all find out what very few know on NSD. I would call him 50/50 at this point.
  • The next biggest name left on the board for MSU is name that is fairly new to the board, Fred Ross. Ross is a longtime Oklahoma State wide receiver commitment. He took a visit to MSU last weekend and was hosted by a good friend of his and recent MSU early enrollee JUCO signee, Jeremy Chappelle. Ross's aunt is also an assistant coach on the MSU women's basketball team, Aqua Franklin. Ross has definitely done some thinking about his recruitment very late in the process and there's a good chance that he's not done thinking. This, however, feels like a situation in which he will stick with his original commitment. He likes the prospect of early playing time, but also he loves the potential numbers he could put up in Oklahoma State's offense. His high school coach played at Oklahoma State and wants him to honor his commitment to them. He has a teammate Tyus Bowser who has been linked with him as a package deal of sorts, and he recently tried to commit to Oklahoma State and it was not accepted. It appears Bowser will play basketball in college. It's unclear if MSU is interested in this package deal, but apparently Oklahoma State is not. We will see if that plays a factor. Ross will make a final decision on signing day.
  • Next up is the late drama of Deon Mix. Mix went from an upset and angry former commit that looked like he'd calmed down and would re-pledge to the Bulldogs, to someone that Dan Mullen and company might have to fight to get back. Mix wanted to take a visit to UCLA (that seemed innocent enough), but now he is apparently visiting Auburn officially this weekend. The new staff at Auburn has firmed up his offer and it could get interesting here in the final days leading up to signing day. It has become clear that Deon is sick of the process and is ready to make his final decision, which will come on signing day, as well.
  • There's a name on the visitors list this weekend that probably wouldn't have been there over a month ago, and that is South Panola star safety Tony Conner. Conner is scheduled to be in Starkville this weekend. That could happen, it could not. We will have to wait and see if he shows up this afternoon. Even if he shows up, MSU has some work to do to be in the conversation for Tony. It has long been a conversation dominated by Ole Miss and Alabama. Alabama has come on strong lately and taken some of Ole Miss's long-held thunder. It could get interesting late between the Tide and the Rebels, but look for him to ink with Ole Miss on signing day. He will announce on TV on ESPNU. The job MSU and especially Deshea Townsend have done must be applauded if Tony does indeed show up on his scheduled visit this weekend. MSU was all but done for him a month ago.
  • Then there is the drama that is Mackensie Alexander. Just weeks ago on his visit, he was added to the commitment list by Scout.com. This turned out to be premature, but MSU was clearly the leader at that point. Unfortunately, his recruitment has been all over the map and appears to be in a different place now. He visited Auburn last week and his twin, Mackenro, is supposed to be visiting them this weekend. They say they are no longer a package deal, but if they both have offers from Auburn, that could be the end of this story. He could announce for Clemson, Auburn, MSU, or even Rutgers on signing day. They have all lead at some point in his recruitment. I expect him to end up in the SEC, so there's that.
  • It looks like MSU's recent commitment, Tolando Cleveland, will shut the door on Jahmere Irvin-Sills. He visited a few weeks ago and was clear he wanted to be at MSU. They kept him warm, and ended up taking a guy they were comfortable with in Cleveland. He came to their camp, and they feel like they know him better. MSU will look to add one more DB and they will be awaiting his answer on signing day, and that DB is the aforementioned Mackensie Alexander.
  • Former MSU commit and Dandy Dozen member, Scott Austin, found a new home on Wednesday night. He committed to the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns. He will fit in well there and could be a guy that puts up huge numbers for Mark Hudspeth's team. It was clear he needed some time to develop into an SEC type receiver. It is good to see him find a new home. Remember, it's about the kids. We all have our allegiances, but we must remember these are human beings and in the end, I hope they do well in life and in football. I hope everyone shares this same sentiment.
  • This weekend isn't huge for visitors, and while some decisions could come down the pipe this weekend, most answers will now be answered on signing day.
  • Don't forget folks, National Signing Day is February 6th, which is this coming Wednesday. Signing day is the first Wednesday in February every year, and it signifies the day that many high school recruits will make their decisions final by signing letters of intent.
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