The Mississippi St. Bulldogs have a new coach in former Penn State Nittany Lions Offensive Coordinator Joe Moorhead. While most fans have gotten completely on board with the hire, there are still some who question if a man who has spent most of his time in the Northeast can come to the South and recruit among the SEC heavyweights.
My initial reaction was the Bulldogs had a coach in Dan Mullen who was from the Northeast and didn’t recruit that well and things were fine. But in these first few days since Dan Mullen left Mississippi State for Florida, it has become very clear Joe Moorhead only has one thing to learn from Dan Mullen when it comes to recruiting, and it’s a simple lesson.
Don’t be lazy.
Dan Mullen often preached that Mississippi State was a developmental school. To his credit, Dan Mullen had a track record of taking players who were recruited at a lighter level and turning them into productive SEC players.
Most of us accepted what we often heard that Mississippi State simply won’t recruit at a high level due to some inherent disadvantages. Starkville is in the middle of nowhere. The school has the smallest budget in the SEC. The list could go on.
The one thing I truly believed was Dan Mullen was putting his best foot forward when it came to recruiting, but due to circumstances beyond his control, he couldn’t land all the best players we wanted him to. It wasn’t ideal, but it just was what it was.
But since Mullen took the Florida job, he’s been on a recruiting rampage. He’s offered some of the most talented players currently committed to Mississippi State, and has gone on record as saying recruiting is his top priority. Known recruiting despiser and soon-to-be offensive line coach for the Florida Gators John Hevesy was in Greenwood, MS in an attempt to check on Kwatrivous Johnson and possibly flip him to Florida.
And then there is the really shady stuff that is lighting up message boards. I’m not going to go into too much detail since it is almost impossible to verify, but if you’d like to know, you can click this Six Pack Speak link to see what I’m talking about.
The renewed emphasis on recruiting by Dan Mullen shows he bought in to the idea that Mississippi State can’t attract recruits, so he focused on ones he felt like he could get. He was content to let players like Scott Lashley, D.D. Bowie, C.J. Johnson and a host of others get away because it wasn’t worth the effort. Now that he’s at Florida, it looks like he actually might try to recruit.
Then there is the one guy that never should have gotten away, A.J. Brown. He’s now one of the most hated players by Mississippi State fans, but losing a highly talented player in Starkville at a position where Mississippi State was desperate for talent was inexcusable. Most of us scoffed when Brown said Mullen didn’t show much of an effort to recruit him, but I’m starting to think there might have been more truth to that statement. Mullen has shown more effort and intensity in the past three days recruiting than we ever saw in his 9 years as the Mississippi State head coach.
So my advice to Joe Moorhead is simple. I’m sure he knows how important recruiting is to a football program, so all I will ask of you is to simply try. Put forth some effort to land some talented players in Starkville. If you do, you might just get a few to wear maroon and white.