It's September. The Dawgs (I prefer dawgs over dogs, be sure to vote on this in the poll from yesterday) are 4-0 and Scout has the 2013 class rated as a top 20 class to this point. That's a pretty good spot to be in as Dan Mullen and his staff are poised to end the 2013 cycle with some big names. The results on the field this season for State could help determine if that strong finish is within reach. MSU needs not only to win, but to continue to have packed crowds and make some noise in the bowl season. State has a chance, with Auburn and Arkansas having an off year, to finish strong and make a push to maybe be the third best team in the best division of the best conference in the country.
So far Dan Mullen and crew have done a good job of putting together a class of offensive linemen that should be solid for a years to come. The even more impressive thing about this O-line class? They were able to find all four linemen in Mississippi. This group is headed by 4-star tackle, Jake Thomas.
The offensive line is going to be the calling card of this class, but Mullen has also found some future playmakers to add to his D-line, as well. The three defensive ends committed average out in size at just over 6'6 and 260 pounds. Pretty impressive. The headliner of this group is also a Mississippi product in recently re-ranked and new 4-star, Chris Jones.
The other headliners of this class so far are: 4-star running back, Kailo Moore and 4-star quarterback Cord Sandberg. While those two guys are nice, shiny 4-star recruits and will get all the hype, don't overlook two wide receiver commits who will likely thrive in Dan Mullen's offense in Scott Austin of Biloxi and B.J. Hammond of Gadsden, Alabama.
So you're probably asking yourself, who's going to be next to pledge to the Dawgs? Because recruiting is all about who's next. Not who we have, but who will we get next. That's a valid question. The next commit for the Bulldogs could be a big one. It may not come soon (commitments don't always come in bunches during the season), but three guys that could potentially commit to MSU are: Jonathon Rumph (JUCO WR), Justin Cox (JUCO DB, and former MSU signee), and Tyre'oune Holmes (talks of a potential offer have re-surfaced). MSU is in a battle with Tennessee and Georgia for Rumph, and he recently announced he will wait about another month before committing. As for Cox, he is enjoying being recruiting all over again (and more so this time around), but is a heavy MSU lean. On Holmes, its simply a question of if. He would commit on the spot IF offered.
Now, what positions does MSU need to focus on to finish out 2013 strong? Sitting at 18 commitments, it is getting to the point in the process that MSU is going to only take their top remaining targets as spots are becoming precious. I think State will likely add another quarterback as the MLB draft could pry Cord Sandberg away. A few names to watch at the quarterback position for State would be 4-star Josh Dobbs. He's committed to Arizona State, but he's from Georgia and SEC interest and Dan Mullen's offense might intrigue him. Another name is Parker Adamson of Oxford, Mississippi.
State will also look to add another defensive back to this class. We all know they would like that defensive back to be Tony Conner, but if not, they might go the JUCO route. The Dawgs are also looking to possibly add a defensive tackle to the class (not a necessity after last years DT haul). They would love to add 4-star Andrew Billings of Texas, but also might take Rod Crayton if they miss on Billings.
You also might see the Dawgs take another linebacker in this class. They are still evaluating Stacey Garner of Forrest County, Mississippi and Benny McCall of Lake Cormorant, Mississippi. Neither of those guys are shoe-ins for an offer, so it is clear that linebacker was also a position they could play with this class.
Dan Mullen would probably like to add one more running back to this class, as well. It is clear that the Dawgs covet Ashton Shumpert of Itawamba, Mississippi to fill out the running back class. If they do not get him, they might just keep what they have.
Look for MSU to add another receiver to this class, as well. It will likely be a JUCO wideout. Names to keep in mind here are Jonathon Rumph and Corey Smith. Smith is a guy who has impressed this season so far at East Mississippi Community College as he plays opposite of Nick Brassell and has clearly been the go-to guy on that team. This has really helped his recruitment attract some new suitors.
Now for the eye candy of this post: the big names left on the board for the 2013 class. Many of the names have already been mentioned, but here is a quick rundown of them one more time.
- Their top prospect left, 5-star safety, Tony Conner.
- 4-star athlete (it is clear that MSU likes him at running back at this point) Ashton Shumpert.
- 4-star DT Andrew Billings. He could be a hard pull from Texas.
- 4-star JUCO WR Jonathon Rumph, looks like Tennessee might lead at this point with UGA and MSU just behind. Anything could happen with him down the stretch.
- 4-star JUCO WR Corey Smith. MSU's new interest in him could lead to nice developments with him, but Bama is in on this one, too.
- 4-star JUCO DB Justin Cox. He clearly favors MSU. Will visit it Arkansas and maybe Ole Miss then make his selection.
- 4-star QB Josh Dobbs. May have to wait till later in the process to see if anything comes of this situation, but it is something to keep an eye on.
Overall, the 2013 class is pretty impressive. It is centered around the talent the Dawgs have been able to attract from inside the state of Mississippi. The Dawgs have gotten a nice in-state haul, and will have to hold onto it down the stretch. So far Dan Mullen has done what he does: get in state players to form the base of his class. MSU has addressed its needs in this class and has put itself in position to add some big name guys down the stretch. This class, to this point, has been an improvement from last year. That is what Dan Mullen does, he gets better each year at this recruiting game. Look for the Dawgs to finish strong in 2013 and look for this class to create excitement as National Signing Day (February 6th this far; and my personal favorite holiday) approaches.