I have to admit that national signing day was a little less chaotic for me this year. That’s mostly because the previous five were spent with Rivals.com, a community of websites that specializes in football and basketball recruiting year round.
My time covering recruiting also coincides with Dan Mullen’s tenure at Mississippi State. I even got to peek behind the curtain to see how the machine works a couple of years ago when Mullen brought me in to interview for a recruiting coordinator position on his staff.
The Bulldogs class this year barely made a ripple on the national scene and went overlooked by most of the big three recruiting services. Having covered the 2014 class on a daily basis until mid-July, I was able to see many of these prospects perform in person on the field and at camps and combines.
I thought Mullen and his staff did a great job addressing needs and landed another solid class. I think the top player MSU signed was Greenville linebacker Gerri Green. At 6-foot-4, 221-pounds, Green reminds me of K.J. Wright early in his career. I expect Green to have the same type of career for the Bulldogs or possibly even better.
State signed Mississippi’s Mr. Football in West Point running back Aeris Williams but I think the top offensive addition might be Marietta, Ga., quarterback Elijah Staley. The 6-foot-6 southpaw was the top signal caller on the board for Mullen and will also play basketball for Rick Ray. Staley has a smooth delivery and a nice touch on his passes. He’s not a deliberate runner but when he does scramble his long strides glide down the field.
Outside of Green, another strong defensive signee is defensive tackle Cory Thomas. The Bulldogs flipped the 6-foot-5, 273-pounder from Tennessee on Wednesday and will be a force in the trenches. The Mississippi State coaches identified him early in the process before any of the big schools came calling and it paid off in his signing.
Atlanta linebacker Deshon Cooper could be the biggest sleeper of the class. Cooper is a headhunter recording 16 sacks and forcing five fumbles as a senior. I’m surprised Georgia didn’t make a run at him but once again the MSU staff found him early and got him on board before his breakout year.
The recruit who could have the most immediate impact is already on campus in offensive tackle Jocquell Johnson. The 6-foot-4, 308-pounder has been a two-year starter at Copiah-Lincoln Community College the past two years and will compete for the vacant right tackle spot right away.
I think Geoff Collins did a strong job on the recruiting scene in this class and Tony Hughes is always going to do a solid job in-state.
All in all, this looks to be another good class but the full results won’t be in until four or five years from now.
Logan Lowery (firstname.lastname@example.org) covers Mississippi State for the Daily Journal. He blogs daily at InsideMSUSports.com