Friday night was big for Dan Mullen and his staff as it pertains to the 2014 class. Most of their top targets were in attendance and it was their last chance of the summer to either garner a commitment or take hold with their top targets. It was about gaining the momentum with their top targets down the stretch as the season approaches.
Ill start by talking about the commitment of Keith Holcombe. It was assumed that this visit would seal the deal for the Bulldogs and it did. I will say this, getting this kid to commit in the summer is huge for MSU. He will blow up this Fall. Holcombe is a big, tall, rangy outside linebacker. Its easy to look at him and see that he looks like a linebacker and has a frame to become a monster, but when you see him in action, you have to double take. He is very fast, very quick and extremely instinctive. A linebacking unit that includes Bernardrick Mckinney, Dez Harris(been impressive in his short time on campus), Holcombe and potentially Gerri Green, would easily be the rangiest unit in the country.
Speaking of Gerri Green, he was probably the most impressive player at the camp for me. You don't have to watch him long to know he's a freak of nature. I feel that Green is a potential superstar at the next level. I think he is a guy that you can get to campus and use him to dominate an offense. He will line up and play outside linebacker and eat space on the edge. He will make plays at the line of scrimmage and also in coverage. Then on third downs, he's a guy that you can rush the quarterback with. I feel that the sky is the limit for Gerri Green.
Another player that impressed me was a guy that I had no idea of before the camp. His name is Jarvis Loftin and he is a defensive tackle from Mendenhall, MS. He is 6-1 330. While at first glance he appears to be a bit short, when you watch him you can only be impressed. His hands great at the point of attack and his feet are explosive. He showed a variety of moves en route to dominating most offensive linemen at the camp. He once got stopped on a rep and when you thought he had lost his first rep, he spun off the offensive lineman and got to the quarterback. It was jaw-dropping. Loftin is definitely a guy that will move into my next Mississippi rankings. Where his recruitment goes from here is still to be seen, but whoever gets him will end up with a good player.
Dan Mullen and his staff know what Aeris Williams is all about at running back. They love his skillset there and covet him to be a running back in their future, but on Friday night they wanted him to get some work in at defensive back and I have to say, I might have been more impressed with him on defense that I am with what Ive seen of him at running back on film. His feet were quick and his hips were very flexible. He showed good instincts on the defensive side as well. While all roads in his recruitment point the same direction, his future position at MSU could be in doubt (in a good way).
Marcus Green impressed me again on Friday night. I had seen him previously this summer and he ran in the 4.3s when I saw him. Friday night he again ran in the 4.3s(ran a 4.31) and he again showed great athleticism. However, when he went to one-on-ones I was disappointed that he did not line up at defensive back, but he showed great improvement at receiver. He looked much improved from when I saw him earlier this summer. He will be a prospect to watch down the stretch for MSU.
Young players along the trenches really impressed me on Friday night. Specifically guys like 2015 OL Javon Patterson from Petal, MS, 2016 OL Eli Johnson of Lafayette County(Oxford, MS), and 2015 DT Fletcher Adams of Brandon, MS. Each of these guys will be players to keep an eye on in the future.
The best position group present at the camp was linebacker. From Gerri Green and Keith Holcombe to Genard Avery and Shareef White to Curtis Akins and John Ferguson. Three underclassmen showed signs of being very good, as well and they were: D. Edward Proctor in the 2015 class out of Jackson, MS(Murrah), Timothy Washington of Yazoo City, MS in the 2015 class and Johnathon Pollock of Orlando, FL in the 2016 class(MSU commit). One linebacker that didn't really impress me was MSU commit Deshon Cooper of Decatur, GA. While I think he will be a good player at the next level, he just did not have his best performance Friday night.
Top 11 performers at the camp
- Jarvis Loftin - 2014 - DT - Mendenhall, MS
I have spoken about Loftin in this and you know how I feel about him. I think it will be interesting to see where his recruitment goes after this performance.
- Breeland Speaks - 2014 - DT - Jackson, MS
Speaks was impressive as he has been all spring and summer on the camp circuit. He ran well and won every rep during the drill session of camp. He is still learning the defensive tackle position and so the improvement is still coming. I think he will be a guy that really takes off on the next level.
- Gerri Green - 2014 - OLB - Greenville, MS
I am debating if I should move Green up to number two in my Mississippi rankings and that is something I will have to think about. I think he has all the tools you want in an outside linebacker and I think he is a star waiting to happen in the SEC.
- Elijah Staley - 2014 - QB - Wheeler, GA - MSU commit
Staley is a guy that I wasn't very impressed with on film, but seeing him in person changed my mind. Wow, obviously he's a big kid, but he has an even bigger arm. For a bigger guy he has a relatively quick release and when it comes out it has a tight spiral to it and is on the mark. He throws with good velocity and on the deep balls puts just the right touch on it. His arm is extremely strong and surprisingly accurate. I think Dan Mullen could create a monster here.
- Cory Thomas - 2014 - DE/DT - McCalla, AL
Thomas was impressive as I expected him to be. He also appeared to be very tight with the MSU players and MSU commit Jamoral Graham. He looked like a kid that will end up at defensive end at the next level and made easy work of most of the linemen at the camp. I wasn't sure MSU lead before the event, but seeing him around the MSU players, I think they just might. If MSU gets him, it would be a huge coup for Dan Mullen and staff.
- Keith Holcombe - 2014 - OLB - Hillcrest, AL - MSU commit
Holcombe is exactly how I described him previously. He is just a guy that is disciplined and shows great instincts and paired with great physical attributes and unreal athleticism makes him a great player. He is a big time get.
- D. Edward Proctor - 2015 - LB - Jackson, MS
Proctor has been hidden away in the shadow of Malik Dear at Murrah for a few years, but he will have his time when the 2015 cycle comes around. He showed tons of quickness and great feet in drills. He needs to add weight, but I think Proctor is a name you will hear a lot in the future.
- Jamoral Graham - 2014 - WR/DB - Decatur, MS - MSU commit
Graham was impressive as always. He showed good speed and quickness. His route running has improved and I think he has worked his way into being a good offensive player. I still like him at DB, but I'm starting to think he can be an offensive weapon, as well. That speaks to his work ethic and improvement. On top of that, he definitely is one of the more personable players in the 2014 class. Kid has a bright future.
- Trey Brown - 2014 - DT - Ackerman, MS
Brown was showed a shade of Issac Gross on Friday night. He is a bit undersized, but very quick twitched. I think he is a guy that will become a beast after he gets his feet wet in a college weight room. He's one of the best MS prospects that no one talks about. While Grant Harris is very talented, I think Brown is the next best DT in the state behind Breeland Speaks.
- Jesse Jackson - 2014 - WR - Petal, MS
Jackson is never going to wow anyone with his speed, but no one is catching him from behind either. He showed tremendous route running ability and an ability to go up and get the ball. The thing that stands out about him when you see him is how smooth and easy he makes everything he does look.
- Curt Akins - 2014 - LB - Byhalia, MS
Akins is a guy that gets overlooked in MS because of a deep linebacker class, but I think if MSU and Ole Miss let Akins slip away to Southern Miss, then they just might regret it. He needs weight, but he's not small. He's quick and shows good instincts. He could be an inside or outside guy in the right defensive scheme.
I think Gerri Green, Aeris Williams and Grant Harris are all close. I also believe this visit regained the momentum for Jesse Jackson, as well.