Mississippi State already possesses one of the nation's largest recruiting classes for 2015 with 26 current commitments and signees. Despite that number, the Bulldogs continue to pursue a few prospects for the select final spots. One of those important targets was Yazoo City defensive end Gabriel Campbell: a 6'6", 250 lb 4-star prospect with an impressive offer sheet that includes State, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Alabama, and more. I say was because as of last night, it appears that the young man will be heading somewhere else to play college football.
Varsity Prep's Demetric Warren broke the news last night that the talented Campbell has committed to play for Bob Stoops and the Oklahoma Sooners:
Breaking: 2015 4 Star DL Gabriel Campbell (Yazoo City MS) commits to #Oklahoma @SouthRecruit1 @VarsityPreps #BoomerSooner— Coach Warren VPreps (@DemetricDWarren) January 7, 2015
Gabriel chose the out of state Sooners over MSU and Ole Miss. His commitment to Oklahoma surprised some -- he's currently a 50% prediction to sign with MSU on 247sports' crystal ball -- even though he has always kept his recruitment open.
I personally wasn't surprised to see that Campbell had committed -- Oklahoma is a national power program, after all --, but I was a bit surprised at the timing. Bob Stoops shook things up a bit on his staff in the last week, demoting his brother to co-DC and conducting some more reshuffling after a frustrating season in the Big XII. On the other side of things, Campbell's other (supposed) favorite, MSU, just brought in a new DC, Manny Diaz. Campbell was even quoted in 247sports' recruit reaction to the Diaz hire story ($) as saying he wanted to meet Diaz to understand if he'd be a good fit for his defense, so the commitment a month before signing day surprised me.
Our friends over at Crimson and Cream Machine, SBNation's Oklahoma blog, offered more insight into why Campbell committed:
In case you had to guess Gabriel Campbell was recruited primarily by Jerry Montgomery. Basically Jerry Montgomery has taken the lead on every defensive recruit left on OU's board.
By the way, @Gabecatcampbell, yep, another @OU_CoachJerryM recruit. #Sooners co-DC is BEAST on the trail— Bob Przybylo (@BPrzybylo) January 7, 2015
Gabriel is the 19th commitment for the class of 2015.
Montgomery, the defensive line coach at Oklahoma, was promoted to co-DC this week in Stoops' shakeup, so there's a chance that may have effected Campbell's decision.
Rest assured that Campbell's commitment won't mean the end of MSU's recruitment of him. Until I see otherwise, I assume he'll still visit with the other in-state prospects and commits on January 15th, which will likely be a full court press to flip him to State. Campbell has a teammate, 3-star Tim Washington, who is currently committed to State, so he will no doubt still be recruited up until he signs on the dotted line next month.
While I wouldn't completely count out Campbell for the class of 2015 at State, I would prepare for this class to not include him. Whoever he ends up signing with, Campbell will no doubt be a star on someone's defensive line very soon.