By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Two of Mississippi State’s biggest position questions were partially answered Wednesday.
On the first day that junior college players can sign, the Bulldogs received national letters of intent from massive defensive tackle James Carmon and running back Vick Ballard, both of whom committed to the Bulldogs earlier this fall.
Carmon is a 6-foot-7, 370-pound beast from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. He made 32 tackles and three sacks this past season.
MSU coach Dan Mullen said that when he took this job a year ago, size on the defensive line was a big issue.
“You look at our inside guys with the development of (freshmen) Fletcher Cox and Josh Boyd, and now we have an All-American coming in, and a big one at that,” Mullen said. “He’s one of biggest human beings I’ve ever seen.”
Carmon, from Baltimore, actually was not an All-American, but Mullen thinks he can be a big difference-maker if he finds the right weight. Mullen thinks the 345-pound range would suit Carmon.
Ballard (6-0, 205), originally from Pascagoula, did earn NJCAA first-team All-American honors. He rushed for 1,728 yards and 22 touchdowns and will help fill the big hole left by MSU’s all-time rushing leader, Anthony Dixon, and fellow seniors Christian Ducré and Arnil Stallworth.
Mullen said he likes Ballard’s ball-catching ability, smarts and versatility.
“It’s good that we have someone coming in mid-semester right now to give us some immediate depth,” Mullen said.
Ballard and Carmon will both enroll at MSU in January and go through spring practices with the Bulldogs.
State was expected to also sign receiver Kevin Bolden, who also played for Gulf Coast, but he signed with Southern Miss instead.
Mullen said he hopes to add a couple more juco signees. Quarterback Cameron Newton, perhaps the Bulldogs’ biggest recruiting target this year, is strongly considering coming to Starkville. But he’s delayed his decision after visiting Oklahoma last weekend and scheduling a visit for Auburn this weekend.
Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571 or firstname.lastname@example.org.