Bulldogs flip three on national signing day

Defensive tackle Cory Thomas signed with Mississippi State on Wednesday after being committed to Tennessee since November. (247Sports/AP)

Defensive tackle Cory Thomas signed with Mississippi State on Wednesday after being committed to Tennessee since November. (247Sports/AP)

By Logan Lowery

Daily Journal

STARKVILLE – Mississippi State added three names to its 2014 class on national signing day as prospects around the country faxed in their signed letters of intent on Wednesday.

The Bulldogs picked up a commitment from Clinton defensive tackle Grant Harris and were able to sway Olive Branch offensive lineman Ronald Cochran and Bessemer, Ala., defensive tackle Cory Thomas away from previous pledges.

Thomas’ flip might have been the biggest news of the day for State. The Bulldogs had been a long time suitor for the 6-foot-5, 273-pounder, who had been committed to Tennessee since Nov. 11.

Thomas had narrowed his choices to the Vols and Clemson on Monday but had a change of heart and opted to take his talents to Starkville. He had 14 total offers including Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Miami and Ole Miss, among others.

As a senior at McAdory High School, Thomas made 75 tackles and three sacks. He was a high school teammate of MSU redshirt freshman linebacker Dezmond Harris.

Grant Harris is a three-star prospect who chose MSU over nine other offers including Louisville, Miami, Nebraska and West Virginia. The 6-foot-3, 270-pounder has an 80-inch wingspan that gobbled up 92 tackles (10 for loss), four sacks and forced two fumbles this past season.

Cochran signed with the Bulldogs although having been committed to Southern Miss since Nov. 18. The 6-foot-4, 255-pound two-star prospect participated in the Bernard Blackwell All-Star Classic and was the No. 8 offensive lineman in Mississippi according to Rivals.com

Some that got away

Although the Bulldogs added three names to their class on Wednesday, one name that was missing was four-star cornerback Tee Shepard.

The Holmes Community College standout and former Notre Dame signee switched his commitment to Ole Miss on Wednesday after pledging to Mississippi State on Sunday.

“Usually about 90 percent of your guys are locked in and solid,” said MSU coach Dan Mullen. “But the 10 percent makes up for it because there’s usually a lot of drama involved. But with us, I only saw two real drama’s. One went good for us and one went bad down at the end. Nothing else really wavered for us.”

Shepard was one of seven former Bulldog commitments to sign elsewhere during the 2014 class – OL Tyler Jones (N.C. State), OL Norman Price (Southern Miss), OL Sean Rawlings (Ole Miss), LB Keith Holcombe (Alabama), DE Darrius Liggins (Middle Tennessee) and ATH Nikia Cathey (Appalachian State).

logan.lowery@journalinc.com