Elijah Staley Commitment Thoughts

Elijah Staley Commitment Thoughts

“I want MSU fans to understand, in my opinion, Staley would be the most talented QB MSU has ever signed, period. Most upside. Program changer.”

That was my tweet I sent out when Elijah Staley committed to MSU via vine on Friday. I admit that I am very high on the ESPN 4 star football prospect. At 6’6 and 208 pounds, his stature alone sets him apart. His cannon for a left arm sets him farther apart. His 4 star rating as a basketball prospects is a true testament to his athletic ability. Am I conveying why I’m so high on this guy?

Since everyone loves comparisons so much, I think he throws like a left handed Vince Young and I think he runs like Matt Jones. I have read that his 40 time is a hair over 4.6 but when he runs he takes those long strides like Jones. His upside is through the roof even though he is a bit unpolished. As an MSU fan who watched what Mullen did with Chris Relf, that is one reason I’m so high on Staley and his potential in Mullen’s system.

A concern is that being a 2 sport guy, he’ll never get to fully develop as a QB. I read in an interview with one of the recruiting networks that Staley thinks his future is in football. His words folks. The reality is that there are a ton of 6-6 athletic swing men in basketball but not many of those same athletes behind center. My personal opinion is that he will initially play both but go with football after a year or two. Just a guess by me.

I also like to look at his commitment big picture as well. Many Bulldog fans have had questions about the way Mullen recruits the quarterback position. It is a majority opinion that Mullen does better with spread quarterbacks that have mobility. The signings of guys like Dylan Favre and Nick Schuessler led many fans to question his strategy of why he takes pro style guys. Tyler Russell is in his senior year and when he graduates, MSU’s QB roster will be Dak Presscot, Damien Williams, and Elijah Staley. That’s all true dual threat guys if you’re wondering. Also, the top 3-4 guys on the 2015 QB board are dual threats.

Football Highlights

Basketball Highlights

Mullen Gets 2 More Commitments

Mullen Gets 2 More Commitments

Yesterday was an eventful day for MSU’s 2014 recruiting class as the Dawgs picked up 2 more commitments to bring the total to 8. Lets take a look at the pickups with some commentary.

Logan Cooke from Columbia Academy (K/P) 6’5 200
Let me start off by saying this commitment took me by surprise. I did not see us taking a kicker in this class that is tight on spots. His addition signals that he is the kicker of the future after Devon Bell. I won’t underestimate how much an elite punter or kicker matters to a football team. Here are his stats from his scout profile:

KOs: 48 kos with 41 touchbacks (85.4%), 17 were 70 yards + (35.4%). Avg ko distance was 66.42 yards.

PATs: 36/39

FGs: 2/6 (made 36,39 and misses of 42,50,52,33)

PUNTS: 20 punts with a 37 yard avg. (all punts were directional punts intended to go out of bounds)

Set Columbia Academy School Records this year for Points in a season by a kicker (42) and points in a career by a kicker (83)

Norman Price from Hinds CC (OT) 6’5 300
Another strong juco OL pickup for this class. Definitely fills a need and helps bridge the gap for the upcoming experience losses due after this year. Price is said to be very athletic and versatile enough to play either OT position or even OG. His versatility makes him an asset. He is rated as a composite 87 and owns offers from Kentucky and Missouri among others. Don’t forget that MSU remains very much in he mix for 4 star juco OT Avery Gennessy.

MSU Gains 2 Basketball Commits

MSU Gains 2 Basketball Commits

Recruiting hit a nice 2 day stretch for Rick Ray as he gained a couple 2015 basketball commits. Both prospects rate as 3 star recruits on 247. With 2015’s class being some time away they have plenty of time to move up the ratings. These 2 commitments give MSU the 2nd ranked class in the nation for 2015 per 247 rankings.

Dante Scott- 6’4 200. Guard. Campbell HS (GA)
Currently rated 85 by 247 with assistant coach Wes Flannigan as his lead recruiter. He is rated as high as a 4 star by other services. Future 150 has him as the 5th best prospect in GA and the 18th best SG prospect in the country. He is strong driving to the basket and taking spot up jump shots. Highlights.

Joseph Struggs- 6’9 195. Power Forward. Carver HS (AL)
Currently rated 86 by 247. Very long prospect with a lot of upside. He is a big time shot blocker who plays above the rim. A lot of his scoring comes from offensive rebounds but if he can extends his shot range he could develop into an effective offensive player. Very good defensive rebounder.

**Very nice start to 2015 but the top prize of Malik Newman is still in play**

Darius Slay Impressing the Lions

Darius Slay Impressing the Lions

From the Detroit Free Press

Darius Slay, a second-round pick out of Mississippi State, turned in a couple of interceptions on the first day of the Detroit Lions’ three-day minicamp at Allen Park . Slay, a 6-foot tall prototype of the bigger cornerbacks the Lions want to have, has been working his way back from a knee injury.

“The thing that was also good is his ability to put his body in good position and leap and time that and find that football,” coach Jim Schwartz said. “Those are the things we saw from him at Mississippi State.

“He hasn’t been on the practice field very much for us. He’s just now sort of getting in to it where he’s going through team (drills) and all the other stuff that we do. But he’s picking it up quickly and athletically, he looks like he has some pretty good skills. You know, we need to see more of it.”

Ron Polk’s Legend vs Results

Ron Polk’s Legend vs Results

Heading into Sunday of the Starkville Regional, John Cohen’s 45 win squad is in a great position to advance. It’s amazing seeing the job rebuilding that Cohen has done. Despite the on field proof, there are still Ron Polk loyalist who aren’t yet sold on Cohen but they get quieter by the day.

For reference, at 29 years of age I only remember the tail end of Polk I. I remember more of Polk II and his war with the NCAA. I’m very appreciative of him but I don’t have that undying, unmatchable love for Polk that some of the older MSU fans do. I reference that to show why when I hear older fans takes jabs at Cohen, especially while succeeding, and bring up Polk it irritates me a bit.

Yesterday I ran across this post on EliteDawgs.com by Coach34 (@wool34) that really put what I’ve been laying out into perspective, particularly the fan quote at the end.

I’m always amazed at how much bigger the legend of Polk is than the results

So many people act like the only success State ever had in baseball was under Polk- and that he had some incredible career at State. While he had a very good career, I’ve always thought he underachieved immensely. He got to State a time when no other SEC programs really cared about baseball- yet couldnt dominate or even come anything close to something like Bertman did at LSU. .

State won 4 SEC titles in the 11 years before Polk was hired- Polk only won 4 SEC titles in 28 years. We have 16 overall titles

Polk did win 5 of our 7 SEC Tourney titles- but the Tourney didnt begin until 1977 when Polk was coach

Polk only won 6 out of 20 Regionals in 28 years….Tomorrow will be our 12th Regional win overall-33 total NCAA appearances

6 CWS appearances in 28 years at State with a 6-12 record (2 other CWS with Georgia and Georgia Southern- going 1-4….7-16 in CWS overall)

Just something I checked out after one of our fans said- “Ron Polk built MSU baseball, he had the right to tear it down”…maybe the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen or heard one of our fans say- and that is saying a lot.”

MSU Commit Tracker 5/30

MSU Commit Tracker 5/30

MSU’s 2014 commitments:

Jamoral Graham 5’10 190 from Newton County. WR/DB. 4.5 40. Composite 4 star. Could play DB or slot. He’s the kind if athlete that it will be hard to keep the ball out of his hands.

Nikia Cathey 5’8 177 from Westwood (Memphis). Slot WR. 4.4 40. Composite 3 star. Explosive playmaker who has great speed and shiftiness. His recruitment is picking up a lot of steam with more offers.

Dontavian Lee 6′ 200 from Forrest County AHS. RB. 4.6 40. Composite 3 star. Runs with a lot of power and vision. Built like a mack truck.

Lashard Durr 5’11 180 from Harrison Central. CB. Sub 4.5 40. Composite 3 star. Looks to be a prototypical lockdown corner. Great speed, agility, and coverage skills. Recruitment has been picking up with an Oklahoma offer and serious Bama interest.

Chris Rayford 6’1 200 from Byhalia. CB/S. 4.48 40. Composite 3 star. Bigger physical type DB. Could very well grow into safety but has great athleticism. Was offered and committed on the spot.

Jocquell Johnson 6-6 303 from Copiah-Lincoln CC by way of Callaway. OT. Composite 3 star. Long athletic tackle with really good feet. Recruitment really picked up since his high school career. A 4 star type talent that fills a need.

Quick Notes:

-MSU is really tight on spots so I’m somewhat surprised by the number of commitments before Big Dawg Camp. State fans have to like how Mullen continues to make MS a priority.

-Jamoral Graham has really imposed his will as the leader of this class. His excitement really shows as he works very hard on other guys. Great to have him on board early. Great follow on twitter @D1Prospect_3

-Many fans are nervous about Cathey. His has received many more offers and has said he’ll go to camps. He committed because of Brewster but Gonzales has been noted as really coming on with him. He has stated that it would “take a lot” to change his mind and that he is trying to be an early qualifier.

-By looking at offers we have out it appears we may take 3 RB’s IF they can play multiple positions. I have friends who coach high school football who love Dontavian Lee’s versatility and say he could have a future at LB. I’m not saying he’ll move, just noting a football guy’s opinion.

-Lashard Durr is a big get that we should see his rating go up after the camp circuit. He got intense interest from Saban, Oklahoma offered, and he didn’t flinch. We offered and he committed on the spot. We are seeing the Deshea Townsend effect. Also nice job by Kes Koenning on this one.

-Chris Rayford is an under the radar freak athlete. It was discovered at the Steve Robertson combine in Tupelo that he is only 16 years old. That’s amazing. Based on his age and build (I’m judging from his video) this kid may grow into a SS or even LB. I don’t care that he’s a composite 84, he is a commitment MSU fans should be excited about due to upside. I expect his rating go up after camp and more exposure.

-Jocquell Johnson fills a big need for MSU at OT. Really athletic kid that I never understood why he wasn’t signed and placed out of high school. In my opinion, he is a 4 star talent athletically. One thing to log in the back of your mind is that he went to Callaway and there are some other prospects from Callaway MSU is pursuing.

-As usual for State fans, expect a few commitments at Big Dawg Camp which is right around the corner.

Possible Commitments Next on Deck:

Aeries Williams 6’1 205 from West Point. RB. 4.5 40. 247 4 star. He has been on the brink for a while. MSU is his clear leader. Williams is a big time back that would be a huge addition. Look for MSU to push at Big Dawg Camp.

Gerri Green 6’5 210 from Greenville. LB/DE. 4.6 40. Composite 3 star (.005 from being a composite 4 star). The KJ Wright clone has had MSU as his leader and could be close. As with Williams, expect MSU to roll out the red carpet at Big Dawg Camp.

Jesse Jackson 6’2 195 from Petal. WR. 4.5 40. Composite 4 star. MSU has been the leader for some time but put me in the group that believe Mullen should push for and take his commitment. Mullen and Gonzales should try to pull out all the stops at Big Dawg Camp to get him in the boat. It is starting to look like he may take his time but a strong push could get him on board.

Regional Action Back at The Dude

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For the first time since 2003 and the 12th time in school history, MSU gets to host a regional at famed Dudy Noble Park. It’s been a long drought that has frustrated many Bulldog fans but Coach John Cohen’s team was able to battle through a brutal conference slate and earn the hosting nod. MSU owns all 10 of the top 10 attendances in college baseball so I’d expect record crowds in Starkville. Here’s the NCAA’s release which also details the pairings and remaining selections:

INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA Division I Baseball Committee announced the 16 regional sites for the 67th annual NCAA Division I Baseball Championship.

The 16 regional sites, with host institutions and records (through May 26) are as follows:

2013 DIVISION I BASEBALL REGIONAL HOSTS
CITY, STATE VENUE HOST (RECORD)
Baton Rouge, La. Alex Box Stadium LSU (52-9)
Blacksburg, Va. English Field Virginia Tech (38-20)
Bloomington, Ind. Bart Kaufman Field Indiana (43-14)
Chapel Hill, N.C. Boshamer Stadium North Carolina (52-8)
Charlottesville, Va. Davenport Field Virginia (47-10)
Columbia, S.C. Carolina Stadium South Carolina (39-18)
Corvallis, Ore. Goss Stadium Oregon State (45-10)
Eugene, Ore. PK Park Oregon (45-14)
Fullerton, Calif. Goodwin Field Cal State Fullerton (48-8)
Los Angeles, Calif. Jackie Robinson Stadium UCLA (39-17)
Louisville, Ky. Jim Patterson Stadium Louisville (46-10)
Manhattan, Kan. Tointon Family Stadium Kansas State (41-17)
Nashville, Tenn. Hawkins Field Vanderbilt (51-9)
Raleigh, N.C. Doak Field North Carolina State (44-14)
Starkville, Miss. Dudy Noble Field Mississippi State (43-17)
Tallahassee, Fla. Dick Howser Stadium Florida State (44-15)
*Record through May 25.
By virtue of being awarded a regional, all 16 host institutions have also been selected to the 64-team championship field.

Each regional field features four teams, playing in a double-elimination format. All 16 regionals are scheduled to be conducted May 31 through June 3.

Two institutions are hosting for the 20th time or more as Florida State leads the list of schools with 30 and LSU with 21. South Carolina is hosting for the 15th time. Mississippi State (12th) and Cal State Fullerton (11th) are the only other institutions to host 10 or more times since the NCAA went to the regional format in 1975.

North Carolina is hosting for the eighth time, while Virginia is hosting a regional for the seventh time and UCLA is hosting for the fifth time. North Carolina State and Oregon State are hosting for the fourth time, while Louisville and Vanderbilt for the third time. Oregon is hosting for the second time, while rounding out the list and hosting for the first time are Indiana, Kansas State, and Virginia Tech.

Eight institutions (Florida State, LSU, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Oregon, South Carolina, UCLA and Virginia) also hosted in 2012.

The ACC leads the way with five hosts, the SEC has four, and the Pac-12 has three. The Big East, Big 12, Big Ten and Big West each have one school hosting.

The remaining at-large teams, top-eight national seeds, first-round regional pairings and site assignments will be announced at noon ET Monday. The one-hour program will be shown live on ESPNU. The committee will set the entire 64-team bracket through both the super regionals and the first round of the College World Series, and will not reseed the field after play begins.

Selection of the eight super regional hosts will be announced June 3 at approximately 11 p.m. ET.

There are 30 Division I conferences which will receive an automatic berth in the field of 64, along with 34 at-large selections. The 67th College World Series begins play June 15 at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in Omaha, Neb.

MSU’s Leaders at WR Are…

Heading into the 2013 season, MSU is searching for who is going to step up as leaders at WR with the graduation of 5 seniors. The Bulldogs also lost their top 4 pass catchers from 2012. One sure thing is that there is a lot of catches up for grabs this year (no pun intended). With all these reps and catches available for whoever can step up, it was apparent in the spring which 2 guys were making the biggest splash: Jameon Lewis and Robert Johnson.

Fast forward to yesterday. Both guys were going through workouts that weren’t team required. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess these 2 guys mind sets. They know the opportunity in front of them and they aren’t taking it lightly. It looks as if they are taking leadership roles on and off the field. It appears that the spring was an indication of what’s to come and that’s big years from Rojo and Jameon.

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Dillon Day Named to Rimington Watch List

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Great news for Day and Mississippi State as he is named to the Rimington watch list. After watching so many spring practices, this announcement is justification by national media of what MSU fans already knew. Day really asserted himself as a leader and was showing more development after a good sophomore season in 2012. I’ve ran into/met Dillion a few times over my years in Starkville and you will not meet a more humble, nicer guy who is a better representative of MSU. Congrats to Dillion Day getting recognized for his hard work. Here is the release from the rimingtontrophy.com:

May 20, 2013 – The Rimington Trophy committee has released its 2013 Spring Watch List. The list includes 17 returning players from the 2012 Watch List. In all, there are 44 players on the Watch List. The SEC leads the way with nine players, while the PAC-12 and Mountain West Conference check in with five candidates each.

The following is a list of those named to the 2013 Rimington Trophy Spring Watch List.

David Andrews Georgia 6’2″ 295 Junior
Russell Bodine North Carolina 6’4″ 310 Junior
Evan Boehm Missouri 6’3″; 315 Sophomore
Jake Brendel UCLA 6’5″ 276 RS Sophomore
Betim Bujari Rutgers 6’4″ 290 Junior
Ben Clarke Hawaii 6’3″ 275 Sophomore
Sean Conway Western Kentucky 6’3″ 305 Senior
Dillon Day Mississippi State 6’4″ 295 RS Junior
Reese Dismukes Auburn 6’3″; 290 Junior
Dominic Espinosa Texas 6’4″ 300 Junior
Dillon Farrell New Mexico 6’5″ 292 Senior
Jay Finch Georgia Tech 6’3″ 285 Senior
B.J. Finney Kansas State 6’4″ 303 Junior
Matt Galas Nevada 6’1″ 280 Junior
Bryce Giddens Arkansas State 6’0″ 225 Sophomore
Hroniss Grasu Oregon 6’3″ 297 Junior
Gus Handler Colorado 6’3″ 290 Senior
Jonotthan Harrison Florida 6’4″ 299 RS Junior
Andre Huval Louisiana-Lafayette 6’1″ 290 Senior
Gabe Ikard Oklahoma 6’3″ 298 RS Senior
Travis Jackson Michigan State 6’3″ 280 Junior
David Kekuewa Bowling Green 6’2″ 308 Junior
Ryan Kelly Alabama 6’5″ 290 RS Sophomore
Zac Kerin Toledo 6’5″ 300 Senior
Kody Koebensky Arizona State 6’3″ 290 Senior
Tyler Larsen Utah State 6’4″ 312 Senior
Taylor Lasecki SMU 6’3″ 288 Sophomore
Corey Linsley Ohio State 6’3″ 297 Junior
Macky MacPherson Syracuse 6’2″ 280 Senior
Mike Marboe Idaho 6’2″ 301 Junior
Shane McDermott Miami 6’4″ 296 Junior
Cole Pensick Nebraska 6’2″ 275 Senior
Ryan Powis Army 6’0″ 248 Junior
Bryce Redman Houston 6’1″ 285 Junior
Austin Reiter USF 6’3″ 273 RS Junior
Weston Richburg Colorado State 6’4″ 297 RS Senior
Isaac Seumalo Oregon State 6’3″ 302 RS Senior
James Stone Tennessee 6’3″ 300 Senior
Bryan Stork Florida State 6’4″ 312 RS Senior
Travis Swanson Arkansas 6’5″ 305 Senior
Evan Swindall Mississippi 6’4″ 295 Senior
Valerian Ume-Ezeoke New Mexico State 6’2″ 285 Junior
Brandon Vitabile Northwestern 6’3″ 300 RS Junior
Robert Waterman UNLV 6’2″ 290 Junior

While more than a dozen All-America football teams are selected annually, the Rimington Trophy committee uses these four prestigious teams to determine a winner:

* American Football Coaches Association

* Walter Camp Foundation

* Sporting News

* Football Writers Association of America
Because the selectors of these four All-America teams can place Centers in a “mix” of offensive linemen that includes guards and tackles, their 11-man first teams can often have two Centers. Our policy is to count all players that play primarily the Center position for their respective teams as Centers, even though they maybe listed as guards or tackles on the four All American teams.

The Center with the most first team votes will be determined the winner. If there is a tie with first team votes, then the Center with most second team votes will win. If there is still a tie, the winner will be determined by the Rimington Trophy committee.

The winner will be honored at Rimington Trophy Presentation banquet at the Rococo Theater in Lincoln, Nebraska on January 11, 2014.

MSU Recruiting Update

As everyone knows by now, MSU picked up its 2nd commitment of the 2014 class yesterday. Composite 4 star athlete Jamoral Graham of Newton County chose the bulldogs over offers from USM, Ole Miss, and high interest from LSU and Alabama. Graham plays both sides of the ball now and it’s to be determined if he will will WR or DB at MSU. My opinion is that the electric playmaker will play either CB or S. Graham is also a standout on the basketball team.

The commitment allowed a large portion of the ever pessimistic MSU fan-base to exhale a bit. Many have been very nervous about only 1 commitment but when you look at MSU’s recruiting history, its par for the course. It also doesn’t hurt that he is a high profile guy that gives the star gazers something to fawn over. Another thing that caught many folks eye was his interaction on twitter with Alabama DE Cory Thomas (@bigcory34). They appear to be close and Graham is pushing him to join him at MSU.

MSU’s two 2014 commitments:

Jamoral Graham 5’10 190 from Newton County. WR/DB. 4.5 40. Composite 4 star
@D1Prospect_3

Nikia Cathey 5’8 177 from Westwood (Memphis). Slot WR. 4.4 40. Composite 3 star
@Nikia_Cathey2

Guys who could be next to commit:

Dontavian Lee 6′ 200 from Forrest County AHS. RB. 4.6 40. Composite 3 star

Jesse Jackson 6’2 195 from Petal HS. WR. 4.55 40. Composite 3 star

Aeris Williams 6’1 205 from West Point HS. RB. 4.5 40. 247 4 star