Big official visit weekends coming up
With the recruiting dead period now over, teams all across the country are preparing for the final few weekends of January when they're set to host the top college football recruits on their campuses. These weekends are huge for teams: committed prospects mingle and bond with uncommitted prospects, and sometimes we see big commitments and flips happen based simply off of a weekend at a school's campus and hometown.
For Mississippi State -- a team who already has a large committed recruiting class -- the focus these final few weekends will be on filling a few remaining spots that are left after some class attrition. The first weekend up is this weekend, January 16th-18th, when MSU is set to host a large contingency of in-state recruits. Outside of those coming who already are committed, MSU fans will be keeping an eye on two prospects to see if they decide to visit or not: Ole Miss commit Leo Lewis and Oklahoma commit Gabriel Campbell.
Of State's targets for its limited remaining spots, these two are probably the biggest, at least in name, targets remaining on the board. And as both are committed to other schools currently, they present quite a conundrum for MSU fans who will follow recruiting these final few weeks. Lewis has been committed to Ole Miss since last fall, yet rumblings from not only message board sleuths but recruiting writers as well seem to indicate that MSU is far from out of the running for his signature. As I mentioned, though, Lewis remains committed at least in title to Ole Miss, and he will remain a wish for State fans likely until signing day when he puts pen to paper for one of the two teams.
Campbell presents the same situation as well, although he is probably further from being a possible MSU flip than Lewis is. He just recently made a commitment to Oklahoma, and I saw a report this morning on the local news with him talking about how relieved he was that his decision was over. Many thought Campbell would be headed to State before last week's commitment, but a pledge to Oklahoma this late before signing day could prove that task difficult for State.
The first step in possibly landing either of these two talented prospects is to get them on campus for a visit in the final few weekends. With this upcoming weekend being a big one for in-state prospects, this would obviously be the weekend of choice to get both guys on campus, Lewis' current visit schedule according to 247sports has him at Texas A&M this weekend. Getting him to Starkville instead could be a telling sign that he does have serious interest in signing with MSU, so that will be development to watch when the weekend begins. As for Campbell, his visit schedule still shows a planned trip to Starkville starting on the 16th, so we'll have to see if he still makes that trip. We'll try to pass along the official visit list later in the week, but it's important to note that until these prospects actually physically arrive on campus, there's no telling whether they'll actually make all of their visits as planned or not.
Will a late kicker be needed?
There has been quite a bit of speculation in recent days that MSU place kicker Evan Sobiesk may be done with the MSU football team. While I haven't seen that being reported officially, it will be something to watch with regards to whether State will look to add a late kicking prospect to this class. With Devon Bell and Logan Cooke both returning, it could be that State opts to work Cooke in as a place kicker instead of bringing in a new face at the position. At this time I would expect State to move someone over in house if Sobiesk leaves, but it's something to watch as a possible late development with this class.
2016 four-star names MSU leader
I would always caution people to not put much stock in really early commitments and "named leaders" for recruits, but even then, it's nice to see where MSU stands with Hollandale four-star athlete Nero Nelson. Nelson told 247sports ($) that Mississippi State is currently his leader among offers so far from State, Ole Miss, Louisville, and Florida State. Clearly there will be a battle for Nero's signature that plays out all the way until February 2016, but for now, the Dogs lead the way.
What targets remain for Mississippi State?
As I mentioned above, MSU already has a big and mostly full class of 2015 assembled. That won't keep them from targeting a few final big names left on the board, even if those spots remaining this year are slim. I'll attempt to do an analysis of the remaining targets at some point soon, but for now I would suggest this very good and comprehensive list ($) from Paul Jones at 247sports.
That's it for today. I'm cutting things a bit short because we'll be coming to you again later this week with a visitor's list for the weekend as well as any updates that may occur while the prospects are in town.