National Signing Day 2017: Breaking Down Mississippi State’s Class

Mississippi Sate National Signing Day

Mississippi Sate National Signing Day

National Signing Day 2017 is wrapped up for Mississippi State, so let’s look at how the Bulldogs’ class shakes out.

The first Wednesday in February is similar to Christmas Morning around the SEC. Coaches all over the country wait beside a fax machine for coveted high school seniors to send in their letter of intent.

Typically, National Signing Day is a very long day for most coaches as most players paperwork usually comes with some sort of local ceremony and celebration. This was the case for the Mississippi State coaching staff, who received their first letter of intent before 7am central time Wednesday morning.

The Bulldogs signed a total of twenty four players in the 2017 class which is a pretty normal number. According to 247sports.com, Mississippi State’s class rankings twenty second nationally, which is tremendous, and ninth in the SEC, which is a true testament to how tough this league is.

First I want to breakdown each member of the 2017 class, then I’ll give my thoughts on the class as a hole. Also for the sake of the post I am going to use rankings from 247sports.com.

One thing that was unique about the 2017 class for Mississippi State was the number of early enrollees the Bulldogs signed. Thirteen of the twenty four signees are already enrolled at MSU and nine of those thirteen came from a junior college.

Sep 10, 2016; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs live mascot Bully XXI is seen on the sidelines during the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Davis Wade Stadium. Mississippi State won 27-14. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 10, 2016; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs live mascot Bully XXI is seen on the sidelines during the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Davis Wade Stadium. Mississippi State won 27-14. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

JUCO Signees

Jaquarius Landrews– 3-star safety from Copiah-Lincoln. At 6-2 210 pounds Landrews should be expected to be at least a rotational player in the defensive back field from day one.

Lee Autry– 3-star Defensive Linemen from Itawamba Community College. The younger brother of former Bulldog Denico Autry, Lee should see the field often. With his size, 6-3 310, Autry could be a key force in the middle of the Bulldogs defensive line.

Deion Pope– 3-star D-Linemen from Co-Lin. Like Autry, Pope is a big strong player who will battle for playing time this season. As another middle of the line type body, Pope will look to replace the play of a guy like Nick James in 2017.

Tyre Phillips– 3-star Offensive Linemen from East Mississippi Community College. Any offensive line help is greatly needed for the Bulldogs. The possibility of a player like Phillips coming in a dominating the interior of the line is exciting for sure.

Tommy Champion– 3-star O-Linemen from Co-Lin. Champion falls in the same category as Phillips. He’s a big bodied exterior offensive linemen who could demand some playing time on a weak unit.

Montez Sweat– 3-star Defensive End from Co-Lin. The former Michigan State player could definitely earn some playing time as a situational edge rusher.

Johnathan Abrams– Number one rated Safety. The Mississippi State defensive backfield is a case of quantity over quality. While the unit seems crowded the door is open for a guy like Abrams to come in and assert his dominance.

Brain Cole– Safety from East Mississippi Community College. He was the number one player in Michigan out of high school, enrolled at University of Michigan and was dismissed after his freshman year. Cole falls in the same boat as Abrams, the talent is there for him to make this secondary special.

Chauncey Rivers– number 2 Defensive End from East Mississippi Community College. It’s simple with a guy like Rivers. If you can rush the quarterback you will get playing time. Rivers will have a opportunity to get on the field in 2017.

Nov 28, 2015; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs mascot Bully runs onto the field before the game against the Mississippi Rebels at Davis Wade Stadium. Mississippi won 38-27. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 28, 2015; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs mascot Bully runs onto the field before the game against the Mississippi Rebels at Davis Wade Stadium. Mississippi won 38-27. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Early Enrollees

Keytaon Thompson- One of the prize high schoolers of the 2017 class, Thompson is a 4 star dual threat quarterback. Although the extra practice time will be good for him, I believe it’ll be best for Thompson and Mississippi State if he takes a red shirt in 2017.

Austin Williams– The three start wide receiver from Pascagoula is a good mix of height and speed. While a red shirt is possible for him, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Williams get some action on an offense that needs a down field play maker.

Tyler Williams– No relation to Austin, the 6-3 defensive back from Layfaytte will most like red shirt to avoid being lost in the DB shuffle in 2017.

James Jackson– Another big body in the middle of the defensive line is never a bad thing. That’s exactly what Jackson is at 6-3 345. With the depth already on the roster and the JUCO guys coming in Jackson may not see much time.

Nov 28, 2015; Starkville, MS, USA; The sun sets behind Davis Wade Stadium before the game against the Mississippi Rebels and Mississippi State Bulldogs. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 28, 2015; Starkville, MS, USA; The sun sets behind Davis Wade Stadium before the game against the Mississippi Rebels and Mississippi State Bulldogs. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

High School Signees

Willie Gay– One of the top players in the state of Mississippi, Willie had offers from LSU, Michigan, and Ole Miss. The 6-1, 4 star linebacker will almost definitely see the field this year and could play a big role for the defense.

Kylin Hill– A 4 star running back from Columbus, Hill is almost certain to redshirt given the amount of players currently on the roster. If Kylin does see action it’ll be mostly special teams.

Noah Elliss– Another big strong defensive linemen. The 3 star player from Colorado will have to fight for playing time and may potentially red shirt.

Tyler Dunning– The first commit to actually sign is letter of intent was Dunning. The linebacker has been committed to the Bulldogs for a while now and should join the list of undersized linebackers who overachieve at MSU.

Aaron Odom– The 3 start defensive end created some signing day drama when he decommitted from MSU last week. With a  strong push by the coaching staff and other recruits, Odom signed with State over Louisville.

Landon Guidry– At 6-1 185, Guidry will most likely red shirt to put on some weight and strength. But given the poor play of the 2016 secondary anything is possible.

Cordavien Suggs– Any offensive linemen can help at this point. At 6-6 285, Suggs probably won’t play as a freshman but the future is certainly bright.

Josh Copper– Another huge offensive linemen for the Bulldogs. The opportunity to prove himself should be there for Copper given his size, 6-7 355, and the poor play of the  previous unit.

Montravious Richardson– He finds himself in the same category as Cooper and Suggs. Great size and a position of need could get him on the  field sooner rather than later.

Tucker Day– The nation’s ninth ranked punter will most likely sit a year behind Logan Cooke. Unless of course he can kick field goals.

Jaquavious Collins– When you’re 6-4 288 you could always find yourself on the field but there maybe a log jam on the defensive line causing Collins to sit out a year.

Nov 26, 2016; Oxford, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen carries the Egg Bowl trophy after the game against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mississippi State won 55-20 Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 26, 2016; Oxford, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen carries the Egg Bowl trophy after the game against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mississippi State won 55-20 Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Conclusions

I do not see how Mississippi State fans could be unhappy with the 2017 class. I thought the coaching staff accomplished several necessary things. For starters, they signed guys at need positions.

The two weakest position groups on 2016 were offensive line and defensive secondary. The Bulldogs signed five players for each group including two per group from the JUCO ranks. Signing a high number of players at week position groups allows for you to miss or for a player to not work out so I am glad to see an effaces there.

Another positive for the 2017 class is the amount of potential rotation players. Mississippi State signed seven interior or exterior defensive linemen. In the  SEC it is vital to be able to sub those big guys in and out depending on situation. Having fresh quality backups in the  front seven can make a world of difference down the stretch.

I do want to address the State fans that are  upset about not signing DD Bowie. There is no question Bowie would’ve been great for the  Bulldogs but realistically he wasn’t a serious contender for the Bulldogs. DD loves Ole Miss and I don’t think he was ever going anywhere else. Simply, for MSU Bowie was icing on the cake.

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With this class Dan Mullen also found his quarterback and running back of the future but I wouldnt’ expect to see Key Thompson or Kylin Hill in 2017. And most importantly for the class of 2017, DAN MULLEN SIGNED A SCHOLARSHIP KICKER! (yes I know he’s a punter but still)

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