When it was first announced that Dan Mullen would depart to take the head coaching job for the Florida Gators many of the bulldog faithful worried that the recruits would soon follow. The early signing day was fast approaching, and Florida and rival Ole Miss, who had just won the Egg Bowl, were beginning to look like more favorable landing spots for State’s top recruits. The result was anything but, and in Joe Moorhead AD John Cohen found a fierce personality that not only kept State’s class intact, he also added more talent by the end of signing day.
Moorhead was thrown into action immediately upon arrival in Starkville. Early signing day was a little less than 3 weeks away and Mullen had begun contacting many of the recruits he had gotten to commit to the bulldogs only weeks prior. 4-stars Stephen Guidry and Malik Heath were both approached, but reaffirmed their commitment to the program despite the coaching change. In fact, Mullen was more effective stealing recruits from Nick Saban and Urban Meyer than he was against Joe Moorhead.
Moorhead was then able to secure the commitment of Devonta Jason, a 4-star wide receiver recently decommitted from Kansas who also attracted the attention of Alabama, Notre Dame, and Miami. Moorhead was also able to add 2 more 4-stars defensive lineman Fabien Lovett and linebacker/defensive back Aaron Brule by the end of national signing day earlier this month. Both Lovett and Brule are Mississippi recruits.
The impressive in-state haul certainly adds to the “This Is Our State” mentality. Of the 23 players in State’s 2018 class 16 are in-state recruits (13 high school and 3 CC). Only 6 of Ole Miss’ 21 recruits are from Mississippi. Moorhead has made it clear that getting the Golden Egg back to Starkville is a priority, and winning on the recruiting trail could be a major boost in fulfilling that goal.
Attention now turns to spring training and gearing up for the 2018 season in the fall. Expectations and excitement are high in Starkville, but don’t expect that to weigh down the team. They’ve become familiar with expectations, and can’t wait for the opportunity to show that this program is much more than just one man.