By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – One of the first things Dan Mullen promised when Mississippi State hired him was that the Bulldogs would dominate in-state recruiting.
So far, so good.
Of the 20 commitments Mullen has received for the 2010 recruiting class, 15 come from Mississippi’s high schools and junior colleges. One of the recent additions came Tuesday when four-star running back and defensive back Matthew Wells, of Lawrence County High School, gave a verbal commitment to MSU.
Two more players committed Saturday: running back and safety Nick Griffin of Perry Central and defensive back Chris Hughes of W.P. Davidson in Mobile, Ala.
Of the 16 commitments Ole Miss has received thus far, only six are from Mississippi.
So, is Mullen satisfied with how well he’s recruiting the state?
“No. Twenty-one and zero would be accomplishing my goal completely,” he said.
Well, Ole Miss is always going to grab some in-state recruits, but Mullen’s blueprint for success involves getting significantly more of the homegrown talent than what he calls “the school up north.”
He pointed to the success of Alabama and Texas, who played each other in this year’s BCS title game and excel in securing in-state players.
“If we get all the top players in the state of Mississippi to come play for us, there’s not a whole lot of difference in talent level between us and those players” from Alabama and Texas, Mullen said. “We just need them all to come to the same school, bond together, represent the state of Mississippi and go win a championship for us.”
Wells was one of several prospects who visited MSU this weekend, and judging by what he said upon committing, Mullen’s doing his job. Wells also held scholarship offers from Ole Miss, Southern Miss, Tennessee, Stanford and Arkansas State.
“I’ve been to a lot of schools,” Wells told Scout.com, “but I just feel at home at Mississippi State.”