Bulldogs tackle needs in 2014 recruiting

Mississippi State LogoBy Logan Lowery

Daily Journal

STARKVILLE – It may not be making national headlines, but Mississippi State and coach Dan Mullen are quietly putting together another solid recruiting class.

The Bulldogs currently have 16 commitments in the 2014 class and are ranked 39th nationally in the team rankings according to Rivals.com. However, that’s last among Southeastern Conference programs.

“It’s a good class and they’ve done a good job finding guys local who maybe weren’t on the national scene or as highly rated as some others that they really felt fit their needs,” said Rivals.com recruiting analyst Jason Howell.

MSU’s 2014 class consists of 10 instate prospects, which is something Mullen has vowed to do each year. Of the 125 players Mullen has signed while in Starkville, 80 have been from programs within the Magnolia State.

Three of the headliners of its current class all hail from Mississippi and caught Howell’s eye during the Big Dawg invitation only camp held at Davis Wade Stadium in late July.

“I love Gerri Green from Greenville,” Howell said. “He’s a guy that had several options among SEC schools and it seemed like everyone wanted him. He grew up a Mississippi State fan and decided to stay home and contribute to what the Bulldogs are doing and really believes in the direction of the program.

“I also love Jamoral Graham (Newton County), who brings a lot of versatility whether it’s at receiver or on defense. He’s an athletic kid who can do a lot of things and is just a really dynamic playmaker. There’s a lot of quickness and speed there. Aeris Williams (West Point) is also another guy I like. He’s not a guy that’ll blow you away with a lot of things but he’s that one-cut runner that sees the hole and hits the hole and is always going forward.”

Mullen has a pair of Georgia quarterbacks committed in the class in Marietta’s Elijah Staley and Richmond Hill’s Nick Fitzgerald. Staley is a 6-foot-7, 213-pound southpaw who is also committed to play basketball for the Bulldogs.

Injuries have cut the careers short for several of State’s offensive linemen over the past two seasons causing the Bulldogs to dip into Mississippi’s deep junior college ranks this year. Tackle Jocquell Johnson (6-5, 305) of Copiah-Lincoln and guard Norman Price (6-5, 320) of Hinds are expected to arrive in December.

Other instate commitments include Columbia Academy kicker Logan Cooke, Harrison Central cornerback Lashard Durr, Forrest County AHS running back Dontavian Lee, Oxford defensive end Darius Liggins and Byhalia cornerback Chris Rayford.

logan.lowery@journalinc.com