FOOTBALL RECRUITING: Bulldogs focus on in-state wins

By Paul Jones/Special to the Journal

STARKVILLE – This time a year ago, Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen held no secrets about the strategy for his first recruiting class.
“We always want to recruit this state, first and foremost,” said Mullen last February. “We want to sign the top kids in Mississippi every year and that is our top priority.”
Mullen and the Bulldogs did just that in 2009 with 19 of their 27 signees hailing from the Magnolia State.
Today, as the Bulldogs unveil their Class of 2010, that trend is expected to continue.
Of MSU’s current group of 24 commitments, a total of 16 are in-state products. Among that group include all-state standouts in West Point’s Michael Carr and Curtis Virges. The Bulldogs are also expected to sign all-state standouts in Kaleb Eulls, Nick Griffin, Matthew Wells and Jay Hughes.
“It is an honor to represent your school and your state at the same time,” said Griffin, a Perry Central running back. “That is why I wanted to sign with the Bulldogs. They want the best talent in Mississippi and I wanted to be part of that group. If all the Mississippi boys stick together, we can take the football program to another level. I feel it can be like Alabama or Florida and how they get all their top in-state guys at one school.”
Mississippi State’s in-state crop for 2010 could also grow even larger today. This morning, Olive Branch offensive linemen duo Damien Robinson and Eric Lawson (Texas Tech commit) were expected to make their collegiate decisions known. Robinson and Lawson both recently officially visited Mississippi State and could add to the Bulldogs’ in-state recruiting haul.
Mullen and company have a trio of Class of 2010 members already on campus. Former Gulf Coast Community College standouts James Carmon and Vick Ballard enrolled in school in January and will be on hand for spring practice.
Mobile, Ala., native Blaine Clausell is also on campus after graduating high school a semester early.

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