LOGAN LOWERY: Bulldogs’ aggressive recruiting paying off




There has been a lot of football recruiting news out of Bulldogs Country in the past week.

Let’s cut to the chase:

Mississippi State is enjoying one of its most successful recruiting classes ever.

The Bulldogs added six commitments to the fold last week bringing their 2015 total to 16, which ranks sixth nationally according to 247Sports.com.

By comparison, Dan Mullen’s 2014 signing class ranked 35th in the country and 12th in the Southeastern Conference.

Four-star athlete Malik Dear (Murrah) along with three-stars Maurice Smitherman (cornerback, Adamsville, Ala.), Harrison Moon (tackle, Signal Mountain, Tenn.), Nick Tiano (quarterback, Chattanooga, Tenn.) and Kendall Jones (defensive end, Pinson, Ala.) all committed to the Bulldogs in a span less than 72 hours while 2016 defensive tackle Briston Guidry committed last Wednesday.

It is no surprise to see MSU loading up during the summer camp season. Mullen and Co. have had a pattern of gaining numerous commitments during its June camps over the years and have also found success during their invitation-only Big Dawg Camp in late July.

Having covered State’s recruiting closely for five years with Rivals.com, I have seen the coaching staff come close to landing several four- and five-star prospects and even getting several to take official visits to Starkville only to finish as a finalist on national signing day.

This year it appears the Bulldogs are taking a more aggressive approach on the recruiting trail. Mississippi State’s class currently consists of six four-star prospects – five of which are from in-state schools.

Several times over the years, I have seen the Bulldogs lose a few of their high-profile prospects late in the recruiting process. Three former 2015 commitments have already been lost from the class with Bruce’s Jay Johnson and Walnut’s Armani Linton flipping to Ole Miss last week and four-star defensive tackle T.D. Moton reopening his recruitment.

Mullen has been a proponent for an early signing period in college football, which would have likely prevented a few of those commitments over the years from playing elsewhere.

In 2012, I got a peek behind the curtain at how MSU’s process works. At that time, they were already collecting data and recruiting prospects several years ahead, which correlates with early commitments.

State already has two 2016 pledges and one 2017 commitment.

While it remains to be seen if MSU can hold onto its class until signing day, it is almost a certainty that Mullen will ink his highest-rated class to date in Starkville. His best signing class was his initial one, in 2009, which finished 21st nationally.

That class included NFL players Chad Bumphis, Fletcher Cox, Pernell McPhee, Josh Boyd, Chris White, Cameron Lawrence, Johnthan Banks, LaDarius Perkins, Nickoe Whitley, Gabe Jackson, Deontae Skinner, Darius Slay and Cincinnati Reds centerfielder Billy Hamilton.

Time will tell if the 2015 class has that same type of star power.

Logan Lowery (logan.lowery@ journalinc.com) covers Mississippi State for the Daily Journal. He blogs daily at InsideMSUSports.com.

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  • Mike Davis

    Happy for my team to gettem signed early!