NCAA FB

Mississippi State's Mullen pleased with class

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Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said Wednesday that his 23-member class will go a long way toward filling the program's short-and long-term needs.

The Bulldogs signed a class that includes several highly rated in-state prospects, including running back Aeris Williams and linebacker Gerri Green. Green was a four-star recruit according to Rivals.

Williams rushed for nearly 4,000 yards during his high school career and could help fill the void of departed senior LaDarius Perkins. Mississippi State is trying to improve on a 7-6 record last season, which included a Liberty Bowl win.

Mullen said he ''couldn't be happier with what happened and who we got.''

The Bulldogs did miss on at least one prospect. Four-star cornerback Tee Shepard chose to sign with rival Mississippi over the Bulldogs.

But there was also some good news. The Bulldogs landed three-star defensive lineman Cory Thomas, who was also considering Tennessee.

''The class we have coming in will obviously fill some needs for us (immediately), and help us in the future,'' Mullen said. ''That is so important to me.''

The class ranks about 40th nationally according to both Rivals and Scout, but just 13th out of 14 Southeastern Conference teams.

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MISSISSIPPI STATE

National rankings: (Rivals 41, Scout 39)

Best in class: Aeris Williams, RB, West Point, Miss. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Williams rushed for nearly 4,000 yards during his prep career and could help the Bulldogs' backfield immediately.

Best of the rest: Gerri Green, LB, Greenville, Miss., Jamoral Graham, WR, Decatur, Miss. Mississippi State hopes Green is the latest in a long line of quality linebackers in Starkville.

Late addition: Cory Thomas, DL, Bessemer, Ala. The Bulldogs were able to add some depth along the defensive line with Thomas. The 6-foot-5, 273-pounder was also considering Tennessee.

One that got away: Tee Shepard, DB, Fresno, Calif. Mississippi State thought they had a great shot at Shepard, who was one of the nation's top junior college defensive backs. He ended up signing with rival Mississippi.

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Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP

Tagged: Mississippi State, Mississippi

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