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

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MSU & Ole Miss Could Make Up to $70M a Year with New Deal

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Another hectic travel day for me but that doesn’t mean no reading material. I’ve held off from commenting so far on the SEC Network deal because there is so much detail and I didn’t feel like anyone was explaining it fully. Clay Travis wrote an excellent piece on the subject that’s easy to read and makes it crystal clear. MSU and OM are both benefitting greatly from the last deal to the tune of approximately $25 million a year. It’s easy to see the push that money has given the athletic departments. The new deal goes until 2034 and all we can do is guess about the money it will generate at maturity but Travis predicts it could almost triple. Seeing the changes with $25 million a year makes it staggering to think about what we’ll see at $70 million. I suggest reading the whole story by clicking on the highlighted text.

As part of this new deal, I think ESPN has guaranteed the SEC a substantial payment as a floor before the revenue share kicks in on the network. What would that guarantee be? I’m certain it’s more than what any other conference is presently receiving for its television rights. My guess is that the guarantee is around $350 million. So bottom line, I believe that each SEC team is now guaranteed around $25 million a year from ESPN. I believe that the 50/50 split would kick in once we get above that guarantee on the SEC Network in the years to come. If you hit $3 a month on the subscriber fee in the SEC footprint over the next decade, then we’re talking about a billion dollars plus another $333 million in ad sales. That’s $1.333 billion a year in revenue. Take off the $350 million guarantee and the SEC and ESPN would be splitting right at 1 billion. That’s $500 million for each. So we’re talking about $850 million being split among 14 teams in the SEC, that’s nearly $61 million a year per team just from ESPN. As I said earlier, the CBS package will hit the market in 2023/24 and be worth another $250 million a year at least. That would be another ten million for each team. That’s $70 million or more in television money per team in a decade or so. Bottom line? The SEC is poised to make it rain in college athletics.

MSU QB Position: Where it Stands Right Now

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There is no position MSU fans are watching more than QB. It is currently causing widespread heartburn and praying. As of right now in year 5 of the Mullen era, MSU has 2 scholarship QB’s in Tyler Russell and Dak Prescott. Mullen has seemed to be snakebit in QB recruiting with signees like Dylan Favre and Nick Shuessler leaving the program. Also add in 3 star walk on Jamil Golden who didn’t make his grades and has moved on. Lets take a look where MSU QB currently stands.

Tyler Russell- 5th year senior and incumbent starter. Tyler brings a wealth of experience which includes 4,566 passing yards and 37 TD’s in his career. We know what Tyler brings to the table: big arm, accurate, smart, and leadership. It’s hard to ask for anything more than how Tyler plays and how he represents MSU.

Dak Prescott- 3rd year sophomore who got his first taste of action last year. The 6’2 235 lb battering ram threw for 4 TD’s and ran for another 4 as a freshman. Dak has a big arm and his passing paired with his running ability makes him dangerous. He is currently rehabbing a turf toe surgery but will be 100% by fall. Many MSU fans are very excited about the “Dak Attack” which is right on the horizon.

signee Cord Sandberg- The 4 star prospect stands 6’2 200lbs and look like a Tebow clone who can actually throw the ball. Big arm and athletic. ESPN had him rated as the 246th prospect in America. The latest scuttlebutt on some MSU premium boards is that he is headed to the MLB. I’m approaching it as if he isn’t coming but I’m holding out a sliver of hope.

signee Damian Williams- 6’1 215 lb prospect out of Metairie, La that was a composite 3 star. Passed for 1900 yards and 18 TD’s while adding 874 yards and 10 TD’s on the ground. Looks to be a steal and a very good get from late in the process last year. A true dual threat QB that is set to be on campus in June.

**Wild Card** possible transfer Steven Bench- Currently at Penn State but has announced his leaving. He is a 6’3 206 lb composite 3 star coming out of high school. He’s classified as a pro style QB but dropped a sub 4.6 at MSU camp last summer. He is originally from Cairo, Ga so a move to the south seems likely. He will know where he’s going in early June so he can start school first semester of summer. Bench really liked MSU in the recruiting process last year and appears to like MSU again. As of right now it appears to be an MSU and USF battle. Gotta like MSU’s chances with the depth chart.

MSU Schedule: Game by Game Confidence Rankings

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vs Oklahoma State 40% – It’s a big game on a neutral field in Houston. A lot of MSU fans say we have no shot. I disagree. I think they will be favored and I give them a slight edge due to offensive firepower.

vs Alcorn 100%- I know you are never supposed to say 100% but I don’t care. You destroy Alcorn at home, no questions asked.

at Auburn 66.6 %- I think MSU will be favored and depending on the OSU game, this can almost be a must win. I think they’ll be ready. Catching Auburn early will be beneficial. I think they will be much improved by midpoint of the season.

vs Troy 99%- Last years scare at Troy should force MSU to take them more seriously this year. At home this game should be no issue.

vs LSU 15%- I love the renewed chorus every year that “this is the year we beat LSU”. The fact is that in my lifetime that I remember football, MSU has beaten them once. I always count LSU as a loss. I gave a %15 chance since its in Starkville.

vs Bowling Green 85%- An interesting OOC matchup for MSU. They play good football in the MAC. Why not some MACtion in Starkville? Should be a pretty easy win.

vs Kentucky 80%- I think the Wildcats will be much improved under Stoops. They will give a tougher game than lately. I really like our chances at home and give us a big edge.

at South Carolina 19%- I’ve got the Gamecocks winning the east and being a BCS bowl type team. I just can’t give the Bulldogs much chance on the road. They are very talented and MSU has traditionally given Spurrier fits so I do t think he’ll take this one lightly.

at Texas A&M 40%- Another game many don’t think MSU has a chance but I think there is a shot. Last years effort against the Aggies was pathetic and I look to give them a run. They’ll be favored and it will be in their house so I give them the edge.

vs Alabama 10%- Bama is Bama and Saban is on a roll. Not much a chance here but if Mullen gets them to play the best game of the year and they play their worst, it’s possible. It’s in Starkville so I gave MSU a 1 in 10 chance.

at Arkansas 75 %- This is my most brash pick to me because MSU doesn’t win at War Memorial Stadium. I think Bielema will have the Hogs much improved but they lack the offensive firepower to compete next year.

vs Ole Miss 70%- After last years shellacking in Oxford, I expect renewed vigor. The facts are that MSU has won 9 of the last 10 in Starkville with the one exception being Eli’s farewell. I’m pretty confident MSU returns the Egg.

Quick Analysis- By the %’s I feel good about 7 wins. Just going off of the numbers though it is a decent possibility to only get 6 of the 7 I feel good about. Now to the games I’m not confident in. I’m basically throwing Bama, LSU, & USC out the window to start. There is a slight possibility but it would be a huge upset. I only gave a slight edge to OSU and A&M. There is a pretty good chance MSU can get one of those. All in all I think MSU’s most probable range is 6-8. I feel really good about 7. I would be surprised with 5 or 9.

MSU Spring Wrap-Up

Now that the spring sessions are over and SBW 2013 is done its time for a summary. I’ll start with general thoughts about the offense and defense and move on to position by positions details. Lastly, I’ll take a stab at our depth chart for the fall. It’s just my best guesses so don’t hold me to it.

Offense- I’m cautiously optimistic here. A 5th year senior quarterback and returning the entire starting offensive line is usually a good recipe. A lot of inexperience at WR but the talent ceiling is higher than last year. TE is a big strength and should be exploited to our advantage next year. RB is loaded with able bodies and we should see a more balanced workload that benefits us. The biggest key is QB play. MSU’s offense will go as far as Tyler Russell takes it.

Defense- New defensive coordinator Geoff Collins has instilled a new sense of excitement with players and fans. He promises to bring the mayhem and we saw LB and S’s practice blitzing more than in the past. New CB coach Deshae Townsend has been feverishly teaching a slew of inexperienced CB the ropes. New DL coach David Turner has a bunch of talent and is working hard to get it game ready. We saw much more team focused drills and less compartmentalization. Collins appears to want the whole defense to know everyone’s assignments. Hopefully this team teaching approach will translate to less miss assignments and better overall play.

Special Teams- I didn’t see a lot of consistency in the kicking game and that worried me. Devon Bell has all the leg he needs but misses perhaps a few too many. He’s only a rising sophomore and I still have plenty of faith in him gaining confidence and excelling.

QB- Tyler Russell was the only scholarship QB and protecting him was a must. He did work some under center and we saw a few new wrinkles. I didn’t expect Russell to be unseated but I did really want to watch the competition between TR and Dak Prescott. I really hoped to see Dak push him to the limit and we still may see that this fall.

RB- Ladarius Perkins established himself as the most complete back, no question. His starting job was never in jeopardy and he practiced very well before being held out for minor injuries. The competition between Derrick Milton and Josh Robinson was spirited. Both guys showed a lot of promise and provide MSU with plenty of options for the fall. Nick Griffin was held out because of an ACL injury and when fully recovered will add to this good problem.

WR- Robert Johnson and Jameon Lewis were consistently productive and I expect them to be our leaders next year. Jeremy Chappelle looked better by the day and Fred Brown was perhaps the biggest surprise of the spring. Michael Carr returned after a 1 year break and was brought along slowly but showed why he was such a highly regarded talent in high school. Joe Morrow has all the tools. Sometimes he makes unbelievable plays and other time he drops one that leaves you scratching your head. Brandon Holloway made plays all spring long and seems to have made it impossible for the coaches not to get him the ball, may it be at slot or RB.

TE- Malcolm Johnson showed all spring that he is a major weapon to use. Great hands, size, and use of his body make him an asset across he middle and in the redzone. Brandon Hill looks like another good receiving option. Rufus Warren is huge. He blocks better than the rest but runs surprisingly well and has decent hands. Gus Walley was a pleasant surprise as well after coming of a redshirt year were he rehabbed an ACL injury. Christian Holmes has really good hands and always seemed to make plays around the goal line. Artimas Samuel is huge and has great hands but expect a redshirt. Make no mistake, this is the deepest position on the team.

OL- We return our starting 5 and they looked more comfortable together. Gabe Jackson looks like the All-American candidate that he is. Dillion Day assumed a leadership role and really seems to have improved. Justin Malone has a really high ceiling and looked more comfortable than he did in the fall. Blaine Clausell has further developed at LT and Charles Siddoway looked better due in part to being healthy after being injured all season long. Damien Robinson showed he is our best tackle off the bench but not a starter. Justin Senior looks to be the tackle of the future. Dylan Holley cemented himself as the backup center. Ben Beckwith is the next option at guard after the starters. Archie Muniz looked decent at guard as did Devon Desper.

DE- Can’t say enough about how improved the pass rush should be with Denico Autry and Preston Smith. Both looked very good this spring. Right on their heels and receiving some 1rst team reps was Ryan Brown. At 6-6 260 he provides another legitimate SEC pass rushing option. Redshirt freshmen AJ Jefferson and Torrey Dale showed a lot of promise as well. Even without the arrival of Chris Jones, the may be the best shape MSU has been in at DE in a very long time.

DT- PJ Jones really turned it on and asserted himself as the leader. I’ve been really tough on Kaleb Eulls production at DE but it appears he is much better suited at DT. He looked much more effective in there and is reason for excitement. Curtis Virges had a solid spring as well. Nick James showed why he was a top recruit and really started playing to his talent. If that continues, he will get a ton of snaps. Quay Evans battled an ankle injury and was limited all spring but his physical conditioning made it easy to see the work he has put in. Redshirt Freshmen Nelson Adams and Jordan Washington showed that they will be solid contributors in the future. They just need a bit more development. 1 thing to keep in mind is that our 2 starters at DT were 5.1+ 40 guys last year. No matter the DT combination, we will see much more athleticism on the DL next year.

LB- Benardrick McKinney looks to have taken it up a notch coming off freshman All-American honors. Deonte Skinner has his spot nailed down as well. Matt Wells looked to gain the most from Collins change of scheme. He may have been the most underutilized guy on defense last year. He is a blitzing machine and I expect a big spike in his production. Chris Hughes probably won’t start but has made it impossible on the coaches to not play him. He plays angry and always meets the ball violently. The future is in great hands as well with Richie Brown and Beni Brown. They have speed, athleticism, and football IQ that can’t be taught and its indicative of their 4 star ratings they received in high school. Zach Jackson is somewhat forgotten but shouldn’t be because he had his moments as well. This position is in great shape for the future.

CB- There is a 4 way battle for 2 spots that is about as close as it can be. Justin Cox, Will Redmond, Cedric Jiles, and Jamerson Love are all battling intensely. Cox has the most high end talent possessing the looks of an NFL CB. I trust that whoever gets these spots have earned it and I really don’t mind who. It’s also easy to forget that Taveze Calhoun was out this spring due to injury and played well as a backup last year. In somewhat of a surprise, Kivon Coman got CB reps this spring. Ultimately I think he ends up at safety but he’s a good looking athlete in he secondary. A lot of experience was lost but a lot of talent returns.

S- Nickoe Whitley looks like he has returned to 2011 form. Very excited that MSU gets its ruthless enforcer back. Jay Hughes had a really good spring probably grabbing the other spot. He’s always around the ball making plays. Dee Arrington got some 1rst team reps and certainly looks the part. I expect him to play plenty of snaps. Deonte Evans was the next guy that really jumped out at you. Kendrick Market has noticeably developed as well and had a good spring. Quadry Antoine showed some promise as well but safety game reps are crowded this year. This is a very deep spot that at the least should supply plenty of guys to coverage units because they can all run and hit.

QB- Tyler Russell
2nd- Dak Prescott

RB- Ladarius Perkins
2nd-Derrick Milton/Josh Robinson

WR- Robert Johnson
2nd-Fred Brown

WR- Jeremy Chappelle
2nd- Michael Carr/Joe Morrow

Slot- Jameon Lewis
2nd- Brandon Holloway

TE- Malcolm Johnson
2nd- Brandon Hill

LT- Blaine Clausell
2nd- Damien Robinson

G- Gabe Jackson
2nd- Ben Beckwith

C- Dillion Day
2nd- Dylan Holley

G- Justin Malone
2nd- Ben Beckwith

RT- Charles Siddoway
2nd- Damien Robinson

DE- Denico Autry
2nd- Ryan Brown

DT- PJ Jones
2nd- Curtis Virges

DT- Kaleb Eulls
2nd- Nick James/Quay Evans

DE- Preston Smith
2nd- Ryan Brown

LB- Deonte Skinner
2nd- Chris Hughes

LB- Benardrick McKinney
2nd- Ferlando Bohanna

LB- Matt Wells
2nd- Beni Brown

CB- Justin Cox
2nd- Jamerson Love

CB- Will Redmond
2nd- Cedric Jiles

FS- Nickoe Whitley
2nd- Deonte Evans

SS- Jay Hughes
2nd- Dee Arrington

Follow me on twitter @BeastManSteve

MSU Spring Game Notes and MVP’s

First my game notes, followed by spring game mvp’s.

-Jameon Lewis w/a 10 yard grab

-long run by Josh Robinson for about 40 yards

-10 yard td for Brandon Hill

-12 yard completion to Chappelle

– -1 TFL by Jay Hughes

-30 yrd rec by Malcolm Johnson

-another good short gain tackle by Jay Hughes

-Nice TFL by Matt Wells

-nice 20 reception by Gus Walley

-nice pbu by Kendrick Market on big hit

-big hit by Deonte Evans on a Jameon Lewis reception

-sack by Smith/Autry pressure

-11 rec for Derrick Milton on screen pass

-12 yard run by Derrick Milton

-6 yard run for Josh Robinson

-20 yard catch for Joe Morrow

-nice tackle by Cox. Came up quick on a Josh Robinson reception

-7 yard catch by Jeremy Chappelle on screen

-nice pick by Jay Hughes but he fumbled. Recovered by Quadry Antione

-20 yard swing pass to Josh Robinson

-nick james just made a tackle on a running play 2 yards from the sideline

-Jameon Lewis for a 7 yard reception

-nice contested TD catch by Rojo but 1 step out of bounds

-11 yard slant reception by Rojo

-nice TD grab in the corner of the end zone Brandon Hill. Contested ball

-another nice tackle in space by Jay Hughes on a Malcolm Johnson reception

-really nice grab over the middle by Holmes for 15 yards

-really nice hard cut back by Milton for a 6 yard TD run

-11 yard run by Multon

-long TD rec by Chappelle. Broke a few tackles and great block by Malcolm Johnson to spring him

-Houdini TD catch by Lewis where he lost his helmet on a contested catch.

-Milton running for 7 yards has been the norm

-Big hit by Jay Hughes in Milton

-15 yard scamper by Brandon Holloway

-nice 11 yard grab by Fred Brown. Had been quiet before that.

– 2 straight really nice runs by Brandon Holloway

-short td run for Derrick Milton

– A long gainer for Brandon Holloway. About 50 yards. I’m shocked he was caught.

-Nice TD run by Holloway after eluding a tackler

-Holloway gets another TD. He’s finishing strong

All in all a good scrimmage for MSU. The main thing you want to see is good competition. Neither side of the ball dominated the other and we saw good competition out of the 2nd teamers as well. The fact of only 1 healthy scholarship QB did hurt but I thought the walk-ons did a good enough job for the guys to compete. Beautiful weather led to a great crowd on the East Side of DWS and 1 of everyone’s main thoughts was the progress of the stadiums expansion. It will be awesome when it gets done.

Offensive MVP- Brandon Holloway /Derrick Milton – The Maroon team running back duo ran for a combined 227 yards and 4 TD’s while running behind the 2nd team O Line. Milton ran hard the whole scrimmage long and Holloway showed his home run threat ability.

Defensive MVP- Jay Hughes- I couldn’t find total tackle numbers for Hughes but I don’t need him. He was the best player on D the whole scrimmage. He stayed around the ball and made 1 play after another. He showed big hits, open field tackles, pbu’s, and had an interception. Great way to wrap up the spring for Hughes.

Final Spring wrap up, depth chart guess, and thoughts coming tomorrow.

SBW Schedule and Football Roster

Super Bulldog Weekend 2013 is finally upon us. I’ll be at the scrimmage Saturday and at the Dude afterwards. As usual, expect notes and a post spring write up starting Monday. Here is a schedule for the rest of SBW and don’t forget we have extra baseball tonight. Also, I have the football spring roster link beneath that. Have a great weekend and HailState!

Friday, April 19
All Day (quarterfinal matches at 8, 11, 2 and 5): Women’s Tennis, SEC Championship (A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre)
8:00 a.m.: Pig Cooking Begins (behind McArthur Hall)
4:00 p.m.: Pig Cooking – Farm Bureau Sampling of the Grill (McArthur Hall – at corner of Barr & Collegeview)
6:30 p.m.: Baseball vs. Auburn (Dudy Noble Field/Polk-DeMent Stadium)

– Saturday, April 20
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Cotton District Arts Festival (featuring Old Cotton Mill 5K Run at 8 a.m. and 1-Mile Family Fun Run at 10 a.m.)
9:00 a.m. – Noon: Pig Cooking Judging (behind McArthur Hall)
10:00 a.m.: Women’s Tennis, SEC Championship, Semifinal #1 (A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre)
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Mississippi State Fan Fair (The Junction)
11:00 a.m.: Volleyball Alumni Match (Newell Grissom Building)
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Open House (Leo Seal Jr. Football Complex)
11:30 a.m.: Soccer vs. Southern Miss (Exh.) (Mississippi State Soccer Field)
1:00 p.m.: Maroon/White Spring Football Game (Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field)
2:00 p.m.: Women’s Tennis, SEC Championship, Semifinal #2 (A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre)
4:00 p.m.: Baseball vs. Auburn (Dudy Noble Field/Polk-DeMent Stadium)

– Sunday, April 21
1:00 p.m.: Women’s Tennis, SEC Championship, Final (A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre)

Here’s a link to the roster. i was having trouble getting it copied and it being readable.

http://m.hailstate.com/mobile/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=16800&ATCLID=207321561