The Miss. State Bulldogs are getting ready to wrap up their recruiting class and start receiving Letters of Intent on Wednesday. The Bulldogs currently have 22 players committed with 13 of those players already enrolled. As of this writing, the Bulldogs are 27th in the 247 Sports Composite Recruiting Ranking. Since it is an average of all the recruiting sites, I’ll refer to it on this piece.
So what do the Bulldogs have left to do? They are awaiting word from at least three players and possibly more. The class should have anywhere from 24 to 27 players when all is said and done. It could be a little more, it could be a little less. These things constantly change when it comes to recruiting, but for now, that seems about right. But while we wait for tomorrow, let’s make some bold predictions, shall we?
Mississippi State signs Willie Gay, D.D. Bowie, and Aaron Odom.
The Bulldogs should sign at least one of the three, but I think they make a strong statement here at the end and sign all three. Aaron Odom (Callaway DE, 3 Star) is an interesting case. He had been committed to the Bulldogs for quite some time, and then he flipped his commitment to Louisville shortly after Sirmon left to go coach for the Cardinals. Ever since then, things have been swinging back toward Mississippi State, and the Bulldogs could flip him back.
D.D. Bowie (Morton WR, 4 Star) has been committed to Ole Miss for a long time now, but the looming NCAA cloud has softened his commitment to the Rebels. He didn’t seem all that enthusiastic about his most recent visit to Ole Miss. Bowie is having a signing day announcement on where he will attend school, so why do that if you’re sticking with the school you’re committed to? It’s possible Ole Miss is asking him to do this, and he’s playing along, but I don’t think so.
Willie Gay (Starkville OLB, 4 Star) is the player Mississippi State needs to land of the three more so than anyone else. Dan Mullen and his coaching staff let Ole Miss come in and get a highly talented player at Starkville last year, so the Bulldogs need to keep any other school (likely LSU or Michigan) from coming in and getting another one of the best from Starkville.
If they land all three, then that leads to my next bold prediction.
Mississippi State will finish with a Top 20 class
To get to the top 20, Mississippi State will have to sign all three players and get two or three other players we haven’t heard as much about. It won’t be easy, but it is possible (and it wouldn’t be a bold prediction if it were easy).
The Bulldogs are trying to secure commitments from a few offensive linemen here at the end. I think they will get at least one of them. To get all the way up to the top 20, they’ll likely need to be the beneficiaries of some good surprises, and not be on the receiving end of some bad surprises.
The 2017 Signing Class will lead to a Feast or Famine in 2017
This could be one of Dan Mullen’s best signing classes since he took over as head coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs. But the class comes with high risk and high reward for 2017.
The high school players already committed like Keytaon Thompson and Kylin Hill are the future for the Bulldogs. But the nine JUCO players the Bulldogs have on campus currently have to be the present.
The 2013 class signed by the coaching staff had some solid players, but most of those guys never contributed. If you look at the list, only six or seven of those players made significant contributions to the team. As a result, the coaching staff is having to fill a bunch of holes, especially on the defensive side of the ball, with JUCO players.
The JUCO players the Bulldogs just signed can’t go the way of Martinas Rankin. If more than two or three of the JUCO players can’t make significant contributions to the team in 2017, it could be a long season.
The good news is, if the opposite is true, the 2017 season could be a special one. If the Bulldogs get 7 or 8 players from the JUCO signees to make significant contributions in 2017, a regular season win total around nine isn’t out of the question.
That’s it for my bold predictions. We’ll find out about how I did on two of them tomorrow, and we’ll see about the last one come September.