Mississippi State signees, A.J. Jefferson (left), Nick James (middle) and Quay Evans (right) enjoyed their time visiting one another during a summer photo shoot.Â (Photo by Michael Wardlaw, SDN)
National signing day has come and gone for the Mississippi State Bulldogs and if youâ€™re a fan of the maroon and white, you have to be pleased with the result with 28 quality signees that have addressed the teamâ€™s needs.
State brings in 14 offensive recruits, 13 defensive recruits and a specialist in kicker/punter Devon Bell.Â
â€śThis is a very balanced class, and as they come in there, is obviously a lot of flexibility in that,â€ť said MSU head coach Dan Mullen. â€śAs we go through guys, as we see them develop, as they continue to grow, when we get them here on campus and we get to work with them within our program, we see how the development will lead them and what positions it ends up leading them to. I guess thereâ€™s a lot of excitement still ahead for us when we get there.â€ť
While the class does have balance, the defensive front certainly bulked up with the additions of Denico Autry, Quay Evans, Nelson Adams, Torrey Bell, Nick James, A.J. Jefferson, and Jordan Washington.Â
â€śItâ€™s something that is really important to us," Mullen said. "When you have players that are leaving early and going to the NFL, thatâ€™s a good problem to have and some really good football players and weâ€™re doing a great job developing them.
"With Fletcher (Cox) leaving early, thatâ€™s going to give more guys the opportunity to step in right away on our defensive line. Weâ€™re excited about that group as a whole and think it may be the strength of this class.â€ť
Each of the signees along the defensive line brings a different strength to the table but a couple of guys really stand out as being able to help the Bulldogs early on.Â
â€śObviously, there are two guys on the defensive line that enrolled early, one being a junior college player in Autry and Evans being here early, they get the opportunity to get here early so they will be ahead of the other guys when they get here,â€ť Mullen mentioned. â€śThat can make a lot of difference.â€ť
As for the other defensive linemen, there has been speculation they could move them around and possibly even have a couple of the guys work out at linebacker.Â
â€śYou know we will see. One of the things we do is when everybody gets on campus our first practice, we will have the freshmen come out to their first practice and I do maybe a country fair is the best way to describe it,â€ť Mullen said with a laugh. â€śWe kind of put them through multiple position drills where everybody goes through a running back drill, everybody goes through a receiver drill, everybody goes through a defensive back drill. I think what you see is that a lot of guys have this special ability in one place that you thought maybe in something else. When we do that with all those guys, we will see when they get on campus and see what they can do physically. Right now, we expect those guys to play defensive lineman for us.â€ť
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