Signing day is just a few days away, and that means we're again close to welcoming in a new batch of Bulldogs to the Mississippi State football program. Signing day always brings drama, changed minds, and mixed emotions from fans and coaches alike, but things look to be pretty low key for State this year. Dan Mullen and his coaching staff have garnered a reputation for doing a lot of early scouting, identifying under-the-radar-type recruits, and offering them before other schools jump into the mix. That process can sometimes lead to heartburn for fans and coaches as we all watch bigger schools try to pry recruits away at the end, but this year it looks like MSU will be mostly drama-free when signatures start coming in early Wednesday morning.
While most of the class is all wrapped up and set to sign with State, there are a few remaining prospects that could make the call for MSU on Wednesday. We'll first take a look at who is all set to sign, then we can talk the final remaining targets. Then we'll wrap things up with an overall look at this class as it looks to shape up in just a day or so.
All set to sign
- Fletcher Adams | Brandon HS | DL | 6'3", 260 lbs | 4*
- Nick Gibson | Pinson Valley HS | RB | 5'11", 197 lbs | 4*
- Traver Jung | Holmes CC | LB | 6'4", 215 lbs | 4*
- Mark McLaurin | Collins HS | S | 6'3", 200 lbs | 4*
- Jamal Peters | Bassfield HS | S | 6'1", 206 lbs | 4*
- Chris Stamps | Warren Central HS | CB | 6'1", 170 lbs | 4*
- Farrod Green | Wesson Attendance Center | WR | 6'4", 223 lbs | 3*
- Justin Johnson | Hoover HS | WR | 6'4", 205 lbs | 3*
- Dontea Jones | Louisville HS | WR | 6'4", 230 lbs | 3*
- Kendell Jones | Clay-Chalkville HS | DL | 6'4", 255 lbs | 3*
- Keith Joseph Jr. | Pascagoula HS | DL | 6'3", 240 lbs | 3*
- Keith Mixon | Shades Valley HS | ATH | 5'8", 176 lbs | 3*
- Harrison Moon | Signal Mountain | OL | 6'6", 270 lbs | 3*
- T.D. Moton | Woodlawn HS | DL | 6'3", 310 lbs | 3*
- Anfernee Mullins | Aliceville, AL | DL | 6'4", 245 lbs | 3*
- Alec Murphy | Nixa HS | RB | 6'1", 222 lbs | 3*
- Maurice Smitherman | Minor HS | CB | 5'9", 178 lbs | 3*
- Jonnas Spivey | Bay Springs | ATH | 6'1", 180 lbs | 3*
- Nick Tiano | Baylor School | QB | 6'5", 230 lbs | 3*
- Timothy Washington | Yazoo City HS | LB | 6'3", 200 lbs | 3*
- Darryl Williams | Bessemer HS | OL | 6'4", 304 lbs | 3*
As far as late-in-the-process recruiting goes, this is a boring class. Most of these guys have been committed since at least last summer, with a few mixed in since then. Talent-wise, this class is the opposite, as MSU looks to bring in guys who fill a need at lots of key positions like along the offensive and defensive lines.
The highlights of this class will obviously be guys like Jamal Peters and Fletcher Adams on paper, but don't overlook the hidden gems in this class, either. Anfernee Mullins is a prototypical Mullen recruit that you could definitely see as the next Preston Smith before it's all over. Darryl Williams, Justin Johnson, and others from Alabama are guys who were overlooked by the in-state schools and that could easily become the next De'Runnya Wilson and Gabe Jackson. We'll talk more about the specific positions once these guys officially sign on Wednesday, but there's a lot to be excited about here.
As a part of putting this post together, I looked back at what was done last year. It's funny NOW to see that post and see that my "100% will sign" group didn't quite pan out (looking at you, Tee Shepard), so I can't fully guarantee that one or two of these guys won't somehow turn up elsewhere on Wednesday. BUT, these are the guys expected to sign with MSU. Take that as you will.
- Lamar Jackson | Boynton Beach HS | QB | 6'3", 185 lbs | 4*
- Leo Lewis | Broohaven HS | LB | 6'3", 225 lbs | 4*
- Darrien McNair | Trinity Catholic | LB | 6'3", 223 lbs | 3*
- Courtney Miggins | Pearl River C.C. | DL | 6'5", 285 lbs | 3*
This time two years ago, State was able to hold on to 5-star Chris Jones and flip 4-star Fred Ross from Oklahoma State. Last year, the Bulldogs had some late excitement again but ended up missing on Trey Carter and O.J. Smith to OSU and Alabama, respectively.
While this year does feature a few names of interest for MSU on signing day, this class will mostly be NSD drama-free, which can be disappointing or exciting, depending on how you see things. The Bulldogs certainly have a shot will all four prospects listed above, but I would put the odds at low for the first two in Jackson and Lewis. There has been thought/hope for several weeks now that Lewis would sign with State, but I'll believe that when I see it. As for the second two listed, Darrien McNair and Courtney Miggins, the odds of them joining MSU are certainly more favorable. Even if they do, this year's National Signing Day and the down the stretch finish by Dan Mullen will likely be labeled by some as disappointing.
So, that's what I get for doing some pre-writing, I guess. Essentially, you can throw everything I said above out the window. Let's get you all caught up on everything that happened over the weekend. For starters, Leo Lewis de-committed from Ole Miss on Friday night, then followed that with a tweet this afternoon essentially naming MSU and LSU as his finalists going into Wednesday. State is very much in it for him, which would be a huge addition to the class this late. We likely won't know anything until Wednesday, but things look promising for Mississippi State with Lewis.
McNair, on the other hand, appears to be headed elsewhere as he is no longer listed by recruiting services as a member of the MSU commitment class. He will likely be headed to either Kentucky or Louisville. As for Miggins, the odds of him becoming a part of this class are still very good. We could actually know something about him sooner than Wednesday.
Overall class observations
To somewhat continue discussing the topic in the paragraph above this one, I like to think of a recruiting cycle as a marathon. The issue with that is that most fans only watch the final few "miles"; most don't pay attention during the first 20 or so miles, aka the summer before a prospect's senior year. If you're a fan that has only tuned in to Mullen's efforts in recent weeks then you're likely to be disappointed in how things have wrapped up. Dan certainly hasn't hauled in any big names at the finish line. But if you had been watching the whole race, you might have seen him land a big haul of commitments last summer, then hold onto them for over seven months as other schools swooped in. That's probably more typical of a Mullen recruiting job than a flashy, big finish on the first Wednesday in February.
With all that being said, if State somehow landed Leo Lewis on Wednesday then feelings on the finish could certainly become more favorable. That's how recruiting goes. Even without Lewis, I think it's important to note the depth this class will provide. Assuming things go as planned, State will add some really good players at some needed positions. The class has star power (Peters, Gibson, Adams); it has depth (Moon, Moton, Smitherman); and it has NSD possibilities (Lewis). That's really all State fans can ask for. I don't know if we'll ever be a school watching hat ceremonies for four or five 5-stars on NSD. But if Dan can continue replicating 2014's success with these types of classes, then I'm good with where we stand as a program in the recruiting pecking order.