By Paul Jones/Special to the Journal
On Thursday afternoon, 2014 two-sport prospect Elijah Staley felt the timing was right. A day later, the Wheeler (Ga.) High School quarterback went public with that feeling and announced he was a 2014 Mississippi State commitment.
The 247Sports three-star prospect in both football and basketball became MSU’s ninth commitment for the Class of 2014 and MSU’s first quarterback verbal in the class.
Staley (6-foot-6, 205-pounds) committed to Vanderbilt a couple of months ago but decommitted from the Commodores last month. As a junior, Staley passed for 1,804 yards with 16 TDs and also rushed for 360 yards and five more scores.
He chose MSU over additional offers from Virginia, Boston College and Marshall among others.
“I just felt like it was the right time,” said Staley. “A lot of quarterbacks are starting to fall off the board so I wanted to get my spot with my favorite school and not waste anymore time. I knew I would not find a better home or place than Mississippi State.
“I was their No. 1 guy for both staffs (football and basketball) and I felt wanted by both staffs. I love the campus there, the fanbase is great and I knew it was the place for me and I wanted to be in the SEC. So there was no need to wait.”
Staley made the call to MSU head coach Dan Mullen on Thursday to deliver the news.
“Coach Mullen was extremely excited,” said Staley. “We talked about (MSU) getting two quarterbacks in this class and that I was their top guy. I told him I had no problem with two quarterbacks in this class and I am never scared of competition. …
“When I look at Coach Mullen’s quarterbacks in the past, they always have good numbers and they always got better each year with him. However he wants to use me in their system will be the best for me.”
call to the court
Not long after that conversation, Staley made the call to MSU’s basketball coach Rick Ray.
“He said he was ready for me to get there, too, and wanted me to make sure I stayed on top of my academics,” said Staley. “There are a lot of guys who would like to be in my shoes and playing two sports in college.”