Mississippi State’s 2013 signing class is 20 members strong, and coach Dan Mullen chatted with the media about it today. I’ve got video below, but first let’s look at this class by position.
• QB(2): Cord Sandberg, Damian Williams
• RB(1): Ashton Shumpert
• WR(6): Jeremey Chappelle, Shelby Christy, Donald Gray, B.J. Hammond, De’Runnya Wilson, Fred Ross
• TE(1): Artimas Samuel
• OL(3): Jamaal Clayborn, Kent Flowers, Jake Thomas
• DL(1): Chris Jones
• DB(4): Tolando Cleveland, Kivon Coman, Justin Cox, Gabe Myles
• ATH(2): Dezmond Harris, Brandon Wells
No linebackers signed, although it looks like Harris could wind up at that spot. MSU might not be done, because a couple of targets remain: athlete Jahmere Irvin-Sills and defensive tackle Toby Johnson.
Here are some excerpts from his lengthy media session.
You said this morning that (five-star DE) Chris Jones told you all along he was committed, when did you last talk to him?
“I talked to him about 12:30 last night. We were driving in, actually we were fogged-in in Starkville so we had to land in Tupelo coming back from the Thorpe Award last night. And on the drive back he called me and said, ‘Coach, I’m ready to go tomorrow morning, all fired up.'” Jones told us this morning that he spoke with Mullen around 6 a.m. Mullen said he didn’t.
You never had concerns with Jones’ secret visits to Ole Miss?
“Well. he told me a lot of stuff he was doing. I mean, people called me on twitter like he was at the Super Bowl, right? I think he was spotted at the Thorpe Award briefly last night and spotted all over the place! But you know what, he’d always been pretty open with me with everything going on.”
Talk about signing six wide receivers:
“Yeah, adding some size when you look at the guys coming in. Shelby Christy is a smooth, tall, great athlete, I mean really good before and after the catch coming in. B.J. Hammond with just incredible size, just the thickness, the big body; plus being a tall receiver. Fred Ross, I mean one of the top receivers in the country as a Parade All-American. And De’Runnya Wilson who is a big giant, tall receiver, I think he was nominated to play in the McDonald’s All-American basketball game as well. So when you look at the athleticism at that position and the size at that position it helps. Because with all the receivers we have leaving those guys are going to have to step in and play right away.”
On QB Cord Sandberg on playing baseball, too:
“Absolutely. I’ve had guys do it before. I know one of Cord’s concerns being a quarterback and having to do it. I think the relationship that John (Cohen) and I have certainly would really lead to making that easy.”
On signing a second QB, Damian Williams:
“The toughest part about getting a quarterback is finding all the things you don’t see on film that are critical. You think we’ve got it with Damian. All-state player, led his team to the state championship and point guard on the basketball team. You go walk around at Rummel (High School) and you can’t find anybody that is going to say anything but ‘wow, this kid is special. He has got the it you are looking for.'”
Recruiting Fred Ross (former Oklahoma State commit):
“Because of the family relationships he had, and we had offered him early on, and he’d always had interest in us. He took an unofficial visit out here in the summer, got to see campus, and we’ve just been in constant communication with him the whole way through. When he took the official visit out here and his family came here, he felt how much he fit in with the guys here, I think he knew this was the place for him. There was a lot of celebrating for us when he told us he was coming.”
RB Ashton Shumpert, good size and speed:
“He has the ability to play both ways probably for us. There are a bunch of different positions he could play. We’re going to look at him playing tailback for us. We’re really excited about that, him being the tailback of the future for us. Since Day 1 he’s been the No. 1 tailback on our board when you look at what he brings to the table. His size and his physical ability, but he has the foot quickness to make people miss.”
Lot of non-Mississippi guys this year, is going outside the state the next step:
“Yeah. You know what, not the next step. I think all the other schools in the state are making a much more concerted effort to recruit the state as well. I think that’s fantastic. It shows, we’ve had success doing it, and so I guess imitation’s a great form of flattery to come and say, hey, let’s try to get more kids from the state of Mississippi. But I also think the success that we’ve had over the last couple of years has certainly helped give us a lot better name recognition throughout really the Southeast.”
Is this class finished?
“There could be one or two more things that come up here in the future but I don’t know if we’ll expect much more today or in the next couple of weeks you could have a little more going on. With the twenty guys in, there’s some room and you have to look. You’re always checking with our trainers. There’s always potential of medical redshirts and guys end up transferring. You hope not. There tends to be an attrition guy here and there every once in a while and those are things we’ll keep an eye on as we move forward.”
Will De’Runnya Wilson play hoops?
“At the receiver position it helps, you know what I’m saying? A quarterback, again. It’s position by position, dual-athletes change. When you’re a receiver, we want them to be athletic. Rick, if he goes and plays basketball, he’d want him to be athletic and that’s what those guys are.”