Another go-round on the commitment prediction wheel, except this time, thecristilmethod will be joining me, and we'll be predicting percentages for MSU's remaining major targets, all of whom will be announcing their decisions on NSD. This time we will be predicting Chris Jones, Fred Ross, Mackensie Alexander, Tony Conner, Deon Mix, and Toby Johnson. First, we will give a percentage chance that they end up at Mississippi State, and then we will give a take on where their recruitment stands.
Chris Jones - DE, Houston, MS.
We all know the story of Chris Jones by now. He was unknown and now he is a superstar. He has come into focus of everyone in MS that follows recruiting and garnered nationwide attention. He has long been committed to MSU, but a visit to Ole Miss shook things up last weekend. In the past weekend, rumors have been wild. Chris will announce on signing day and it's hard to get a feel. It appears his father likes Ole Miss and his mother likes MSU. Chris has said that he isn't trying to please others with his decision, just himself. On signing day, I expect Chris Jones to select Ole Miss. As much I hate what will follow what I just said and as easy as this would unfold for him to stick with MSU, I think the kid took a visit that he really enjoyed last weekend and he's upset he didn't get to see that earlier. Some of the sheltering people in Houston did may have really been a negative for MSU in the end. Why come out and announce your decision you've been solid on for months, if there's not a good chance that it changes? Why not go back and visit MSU after an Ole Miss visit last weekend? Why not give the MSU fan base a reason to rest easy after your visit to Ole Miss? (not that he owes anyone anything) Chris is a good kid and could be painted inaccurately if my prediction comes to fruition.
Prediction: MSU 45%, Ole Miss 55%. If I'm wrong, which there's a great chance that I am, don't kill me. There are just a few tell tale signs pointing in this direction at this point in the process.
Chris Jones' recruitment has taken quite a few turns in recent weeks, but those turns seem to have shifted back in MSU's favor this past week. Yes, Jones took a visit to Ole Miss. And why shouldn't he? We want these kids to make the best decisions for them, and now Jones can at least say that he has seen both in-state schools. Since that visit, there has been talk on both sides pointing towards confidence in getting Jones' LOI. But a lot of that is just smokescreen, as fans grasp at whatever they can to assure themselves that the big fish is going to get reeled in. Personally, I think there would be more smoke if there was a fire that Jones was headed to Ole Miss. I think he's leaning towards sticking with his original plan: the one he's had since last summer.
UPDATE: I typed all of those words above this on Friday night, and woke up feeling a little different. I still think State has as good a chance as any to land Jones, but I didn't factor in the unofficial visit to Oxford today. Now, if Chris makes it to Starkville tonight like everyone expects, then I think chances go back up. But if he doesn't? Well, let's not consider that right now. I still pick MSU, but last night I had it at 65% - 35% in our favor. Today, I'm bumping it down to 57% - 43% for MSU.
Prediction: MSU 57%, Ole Miss 43%. I could absolutely be wrong, but things this past week just seem to point towards Chris coming to State.
Fred Ross - WR, Tyler, TX.
A long time commitment to Oklahoma State, he recently visited MSU. There are things in place that give MSU a reason to be optimistic. The same with Chris Jones announcing on signing day after being committed so long, works here. Why announce after a long time being committed and never decommitting? Ross is good friends with Jeremy Chappelle and has an aunt that is an assistant women's basketball coach at MSU, Aqua Franklin. However, he has been committed to Oklahoma State since last February. He is close to Oklahoma State and he fits into each offense well. He could probably play earlier at MSU, so there is another feather in their cap. MSU has given him something to really consider late in the process, but was it too late?
Prediction: MSU 40%, OSU 60%. He's simply been committed to OSU too long and the relationship runs deep. His high school coach(who played at OSU) is encouraging him to stick with his commitment.
It was quite exciting earlier this week when we found out about last weekend's surprise visitor. Like John Luke says, Ross has ties to State, but it's late in the process. He's been committed to Oklahoma State for quite awhile, and it's hard to break up that kind of longstanding relationship. The secret may be in the rumored package deal. Is MSU interested in Ross' friend Tyus Bowser? That may be the key. For some reason, I just feel good about this one lately.
Prediction: MSU 57.5%, OSU 42.5%.
Mackensie Alexander - CB, Immokalee, FL.
People have tried to predict the recruitment of Mackensie Alexander. People have tried to tame that beast, but it simply has taken too many turns. Rutgers lead, but wait Clemson lead, then FSU lead, then MSU, now Auburn, or is it Clemson...you get it. I expect him to decide between Clemson, Auburn, Rutgers, and MSU. I expect him to stay in the SEC. I think who he visits last could hold an edge.
Prediction: MSU- 30%, Clemson 20%, Rutgers 10%, Auburn 40%. I just like the team that he visited last and it appears his twin, Mackenro, could end up at Auburn as well.
Watching Mackensie's recruitment has been like watching a kid in a room full of toys. He loves one, is all about the one, until he spots another. Alexander has had several favorites, and has been one surprise after another during his recruitment process. Sometimes we see these guys makes decisions based off of what is newest (and therefore greatest) to them, and Auburn fits that profile right now. The recent offer (and visit) of brother Mackenro isn't hurting their chances either. I think it's the Tigers (SEC ones, that is) LOI to lose.
Prediction: MSU 25%, Clemson 25%, Auburn 50%.
Tony Conner - DB, Batesville, MS.
Ole Miss and Alabama have lead the pack for the whole way. It appears he might visit MSU this weekend, or at least that is what he is scheduled to do. We will see if he ends up on the visit. If he does, it could give MSU a bump and Deshea Townsend has fought hard to get MSU in the thick of it, but he will decide between Ole Miss and Alabama and it will likely be Ole Miss. Thats been pretty consistent throughout his recruitment. Nothing the MSU coaches did wrong here.
Prediction: MSU 5%, Alabama 20%, Ole Miss 75%.
I'll admit, I have no grand illusions about Conner signing with State. We've seen crazier things happen in crootin', but I'm satisfied that State could even get him to visit. That wasn't happening before Townsend came aboard, but Tony is on campus as I type, all thanks to him. As for where he's headed? I think he wants a national championship. Rumors have been a-swirlin that Alabama made a late push with Vonn Bell all but headed to Tennessee, and I think there's more to that than Ole Miss faithful want to let on. I think its Alabama to win, MSU to place, and Ole Miss to show.
Prediction: MSU 21%, Ole Miss 19%, Alabama 60%.
Deon Mix - OL, Batesville, MS.
Mix was long considered the vocal leader of the 2013 class for MSU, but recent frustration with the coaches has caused him to decommit. He wanted to take a fun visit to UCLA, but the coaches were against it this late in the process. I was a believer that he would soon recommit, but that has yet to happen. He then said he would commit on signing day. Then word came out that Auburn wanted him to visit and had firmed up his offer. Now it appears he is set to visit Auburn this weekend. It could get interesting here but....
Prediction: MSU 75%, Auburn 20%, UCLA 5%.
Mix's Auburn visits frankly scares me, as the Tigers are hosting a number of high value targets and are hot right now in recruiting. I still think MSU is the favorite, but man, that visit has some potentially scary consequences. MSU does have Deshea as the ace in the hole, plus Mix was committed to State for the back half of 2012. State sweats it, but I think the odds are ever in our favor (/whips self with bullwhip for using Hunger Games line).
Prediction: MSU 65%, Auburn 30%, UCLA 5%
Toby Johnson - DT, Hutchinson Community College, KS.
He was long considered a UGA lean. He was also once considered the top JUCO DT in the country. Then he injured his knee. His relationship with UGA slowly dissolved. Since then MSU and other schools have gotten on him. He is originally from Mississippi and that is the connection. He was supposed to come to Starkville last weekend, but never made it. Now he is scheduled to be at Auburn this weekend and MSU the weekend after signing day and decide after that. So, at this point, he plans on signing after signing day. We will see if he makes it to Auburn this weekend and if those are his plans after the visit. A lot of times, kids get caught up in the excitement of the day and like to get the attention. We will see what Toby does.
Prediction - MSU 50%, Auburn 50%. It is hard to say here because he hasn't visited either team yet. You have to like his ties to the state of Mississippi, but his MSU visit is slated to be after signing day, so we will see if he indeed waits.
Johnson is visiting Auburn this weekend, and will spend his final visit on MSU next weekend, before deciding on February 12th (or 13th, maybe). Until he at least finishes his Auburn visit, it's tough to know which way he's leaning. I defer for the time being.
Prediction: Going the same here with John Luke. It seems like a cop out, but this one is un-callable (definitely a made up word) until Johnson finishes out visits.