Happy Friday, y’all. As promised, I have answers for your questions in the ol’ Blog Bag. Good questions, too, from recruiting to marketing to hoops to baseball. Let’s hop to it.
Q: When compared to the other schools in the SEC, do we share a similar marketing approach with any?
A: It seems like MSU has been ahead of the game a bit when it comes to marketing. The billboards have been a huge part of it; but of course, lots of schools use billboards. But State is the only SEC school I’ve seen so adept at marketing through social media, what with administrators and coaches being very active on Twitter, hashtags in the end zone, etc.
So I would say MSU has developed a pretty distinctive marketing strategy, and it’s gotten the school noticed on several occasions. The brand has been promoted well.
Q: Do we know what freshman from the football team will receive a redshirt?
A: MSU played five true freshmen this year: kicker Devon Bell, defensive end Ryan Brown, defensive tackle Quay Evans, defensive tackle Nick James and cornerback Cedric Jiles. So 15 scholarship freshmen will take a redshirt (it would be 16, but Xavier Grindle transferred to Pearl River CC).
Q: What is the word on Johnthan Banks and the Senior Bowl? Did the injury from the Gator Bowl preclude him from playing?
A: A Senior Bowl spokesman told me that Banks suffered a minor injury during training, so he never made it to Mobile. Not sure what type of injury, but again, it’s minor. He did have that gash on his leg from the Gator Bowl, but that just needed some stitches.
Q: Will you be interviewing coach John Cohen and doing any work on getting us some info on how preseason prep is going? Are there any newcomers we should especially look out for? Who do you think will be the long ball guy this year, Hunter Renfroe, or will Wes Rea get some offense going?
As for newcomers, Cohen is very high on freshman outfielder Jacob Robson and freshman infielder Kyle Hann, both of whom hail from Canada. He also mentioned juco transfer outfielder Derrick Armstrong and juco transfer infielder Brett Pirtle. You’ll probably see all four of those guys in action this season.
And as for the long ball guy, Rea and Renfroe both should provide some pop. That’s not what’s going to define this offense, but a little more power would certainly augment what MSU does and make for a more well-rounded attack.
Q: Will recent commitment De’Runnya Wilson‘s scholarship affect both the basketball and football rosters, or just one?
A: If Wilson, a wide receiver from Birmingham, does suit up for the basketball team, it would be as a walk-on. Would have just the football scholarship.
Q: Seems we have all our eggs in one basket with the two QBs we are going after. With Dan Mullen‘s history coaching high profile QBs, why don’t we have them lining up to play for the Dogs?
A: MSU has one quarterback commitment in this class, Cord Sandberg, but he might go pro in baseball this summer. Thus, the need for a second QB in this class.
You might’ve seen that John O’Korn decided to stick with his commitment to Houston, which means MSU is now hoping it can get Joshua Dobbs (Arizona State) to flip. Outside of those two, I don’t know what State plans to do regarding a second quarterback, although Fresno State commit Zach Greenlee is planning a visit this weekend, per Bulldawgs247.com.
Your question about Mullen and QBs is a good one. I believe he’s got two pretty darn good ones on the roster in Tyler Russell and Dak Prescott. Both could leave MSU with All-SEC honors under their belts, and Russell is already rewriting the MSU record books.
But I guess you’re asking about elite QBs not flocking to MSU this year. I don’t know the answer to that question. This might be something to consider, though: None of the QBs Mullen has coached have excelled at the next level. Sure, Alex Smith and Tim Tebow were first-round draft picks, but Smith lost his job to a second-year player this year, and Tebow will probably never be a good NFL quarterback.
Mullen has a strong history of coaching good college QBs, but he does not have a strong history of developing players into NFL-level talent. I can’t say if that’s a deterrent to prospects, but who knows. Maybe this is just a tough-luck year for MSU and quarterback prospects.