That's about right.
There are a lot of good players in the group, but there could have been more. Nickolas Brassell and C.J. Johnson dumped the Bulldogs in favor of Ole Miss. In all, six prospects backed off verbal commitments they'd made to MSU.
The Ole Miss defections sting the most, of course. Mullen reminded us that he got more in-state recruits than did Houston Nutt - 16 of MSU's signees come from Mississippi's high school and junior college ranks, compared to 12 for Ole Miss - but that's misleading.
Because Nutt brought in four of the top five Mississippi prospects, according to Scout.com, and five of the top 10. MSU got two of the top 10. Ole Miss got more All-Americans.
Now, why am I casting MSU's recruiting class against the one Ole Miss brought in? Easy. Because Mullen is constantly doing the same with his program.
He did so on signing day. When told of the in-state recruiting success of Ole Miss, he said, "I thought we did pretty well, too. I guess we'll find out next Thanksgiving, just like the last two Thanksgivings."
Mullen was referring, of course, to the Egg Bowl, in which he's 2-0. It's not played on Thanksgiving any more, but you get the point.
It's not a very good point he makes, but spin doesn't usually hold up to scrutiny. Most of these signees won't be on the field for Egg Bowl 2011 - 18 of last year's signees were redshirted, so actually, we won't find out about this class that soon.
In a more honest moment earlier, Mullen said he wouldn't know how good this class is for "a couple of years."
If you want to look at MSU's class outside of the context of the rivalry, fine. It's still not great. It's ranked 44th in the country by Scout.com, 42nd by Rivals.com, and dismiss recruiting rankings if you wish, but it's no coincidence that the best teams in the nation regularly bring in top-10 or top-20 classes.
And if you're wondering, MSU's class ranks 11th in the SEC, per Scout, ahead only of Vanderbilt.
Mullen's a fine coach and can do a lot with a little, and he harped on developing players. But a lack of talent will eventually catch up with you, especially in the SEC. Only one linebacker, Benardrick McKinney (Rosa Fort), was signed, and that's the position of greatest need right now with all three 2010 starters being seniors.
It's not all bad, though. MSU beefed up both sides of the line, an objective that most people don't appreciate. That group includes Tupelo defensive lineman P.J. Jones.
Ocean Springs receiver Joe Morrow is a big guy and big talent who could see the field immediately.
Quarterback Dak Prescott (Haughton, La.) should be a contender for playing time by 2012, and maybe sooner given his tools and the fact he enrolled in January.
The strongest position group in this class might be the defensive backs, which includes Parade All-American safety Darion Arrington of Stone County.
Maybe I was reading too much into his body language and demeanor, but Mullen wasn't as bubbly Wednesday as he usually is when the spotlight is on. I think he's a bit stunned at how this class wound up. All the surprises were bad ones.
All he can do is make the best of it. He's got time to bump that grade up.
Brad Locke (email@example.com) covers Mississippi State for the Daily Journal and blogs daily at NEMS360.com.