TUPELO – Dan Mullen has some fresh blood on campus, and their long summer has begun.
Twenty members of Mississippi State’s 2012 signing class have enrolled and began classes this week. In less than two months, these players will be going through their first preseason training camp under Mullen, who’s entering his fourth year as coach.
“If they didn’t get in now, they’re not getting in until July 6. You’re talking less than a month until they start training camp,” Mullen said Tuesday during the Our State Tour’s Tupelo stop. “They’re barely acclimating before they have to start practice.
“I think it was important that they get here, as many as we could get here now, so hopefully they kind of get accustomed to our workouts, our program, our expectations.”
Mullen prefers to redshirt as many freshmen as possible, but a handful will always find their way onto the field. Last year, defensive linemen P.J. Jones and Preston Smith and safety Dee Arrington all logged snaps as freshmen.
Who might those players be this year?
“It’s so hard to say because sometimes the guys that’ll shock you when they jump on the field early,” Mullen said. “That’s something that you really don’t know until you start playing the game.”
Ray still recruiting
New men’s basketball coach Rick Ray was also there. He’s got seven signees for 2012 but is still on the recruiting trail.
He has one scholarship spot available for 2012-13 and would like to fill it with a post player. He’s also getting a start on future recruiting cycles.
“I’m looking at kids for 2016, 2015,” Ray said. “I really want to be far in advance in the recruiting. It’s really important that we get to guys early and start to build a relationship.”