First off, I'd like to say wow. The beginning of the December signing period provided enough excitement to last us until signing day 2013 without a doubt. While the December signing period is far from over, it has come to an end for MSU. All the players they were in on for the early signing period have signed with them or elsewhere. The wait to February 6th has officially begun. First, however, let's take a look back at how they did.
Perhaps the most important signing of the early signing period was EMCC DB Justin Cox. Alabama came on strong and tried to poach him right at then end, but he stuck with his commitment and signed with MSU. His story has been well documented on here and he is extremely important to the 2013 MSU defense. There will be open spots in the secondary for 2013 and Cox could fill a cornerback spot or a safety spot. Look for him to have an immediate impact.
Then there is the only other signing, Jeremy Chappelle. Chappelle will help MSU before he even steps on the field. It was important that Dan Mullen and staff add a receiver to come in and compete in spring practices. At 6-2 212, Chappelle has the body to come in and compete right away.
While both signings were very big, there were some close misses as well. The Bulldogs seemingly lead for EMCC DE Za'Darius Smith. This came as a surprise to many. However, former EMCC Defensive line coach, Jim Brumbaugh, recently took a job at Kentucky under new coach Mark Stoops. This got the Wildcats in the door and they finished. Another close miss for the Dawgs was Northeast Mississippi CC DT Lavon Hooks. Hooks signed with Ole Miss after trying to sign with Auburn, only to have one of the courses he had taken not get accepted. So it appears MSU finished third. However, you have to commend Dan Mullen and company for getting in so late. They really made a nice late run at the big time DT prospect.
While it is discouraging to lose out on talent like Smith and Hooks when coming so close, it is not something you need to get upset over. You recruit kids hard and sometimes they choose other places. Junior college recruiting can be all over the place. There will be other junior college prospects that can be signed in May if MSU chooses to continue to recruit that avenue.
Now, lets take a look forward to the remaining players that MSU will go after hardest from now until February 6th to finish out the 2013 recruiting class.
Dan Mullen has around six spots left to fill for the 2013 class. That doesn't count potential greyshirts, sign and place recruits, or recruits that may not make it. I will simply talk about some prospects that might fill those remaining six spots.
In a perfect world MSU would take another QB, another WR, another DB (corner or safety, depends on where they project Cox), a RB (if it's Ashton Shumpert), an athlete, and the best prospect available.
For the QB spot, I would say it starts and ends with current Arizona State commitment and Atlanta native, Josh Dobbs. If he makes his visit in January, this could become very possible. His family would like him to stay close. Also keep an eye on former South Florida commit, Asiantii Woulard.
For the final WR slot, the leader in the clubhouse looks like De'Runnya Wilson of Alabama. He recently received an offer from Auburn and Tennessee. He still maintains that MSU leads. Auburn could challenge because they are an in-state school. If they miss on Wilson, they may turn to Eupora native and Ole Miss commit, Derrick Jones. Don't forget about JUCO WR Javess Blue for this spot either. As you can see, they have options on the last receiver spot.
For the last DB spot, they would love to get Tony Conner and be done with things. While Kailo Moore insists they he and Conner will play together on the next level, the reality of the situation insists that MSU has fallen behind Ole Miss and Alabama for his services. They are in hot pursuit of top-rated corners, Jalen Ramsey of Nashville and Mackensie Alexander of Immokalee, FL. Both are long shots, but Alexander said recently that MSU is recruiting him harder than anyone. More names should surface here, maybe MSU will even become a player for another JUCO DB.
For the running back possibility, it seems that it's Ashton Shumpert or bust. They are also recruiting Alabama native and Vandy commit, Johnathon Ford. He, however, does not possess the same skillset as Shumpert. Ford is more of a versatile back. If they miss on Shumpert, they would likely go on Ford, if neither work out, it appears they are content with taking only Kailo Moore in this running back class.
As for a possible athlete they may look to take, look no further than Memphis, TN native Donald Gray. He is a two-way standout at White Station high school.
As for best available, they could go with some lineman that are available. They have recruited Hargrave OL Sunny Odugwu for a while. If everything checks out with him and they still have this best available spot, they may take him. Another line prospect that might be up for this spot is JUCO DT David Washington. There will be other options surface here as well, I'm sure.
This is not a definite projection of how they will finish up the 2013 class. It is, however, a projection that would make sense. Prospects at each position will surface and they may take more at one spot than the other and that could throw a wrench in those numbers above. Also, like I mentioned, they could sign and place some guys. Some guys could come short academically or decommit. They could take some greyshirt guys. There are some names listed above that will be possibilities, though. Keep an eye on all of the names listed above.
Lastly, to my readers I thank you for reading my work on FWtCT this year and I wish a Happy Holliday season to you and yours. Love a lot, laugh often, GRIND HARD and be happy. Merry Christmas to all of you.