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.

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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 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.

MSU and Ole Miss Target Elisha Shaw-Oops!!

One reason you have to love recruiting is the storyline and drama it brings. Unfortunately for Elisha Shaw, he brought this oops moment on himself. He is rated as the number 2 DT prospect in America and currently has 4 stars. He is right on the cusp of gaining a 5th star. It’s not uncommon for prospects to plead their case for another star or a bump in the rankings. That’s when things got weird for Shaw. He screen shot his rankings on 247 and tweeted out the picture. He didn’t close out his other tabs and 1 of them was porno.

For the record, I think he earns his 5th star and this doesn’t make any mark on his recruitment. The guy is a monster on the field. One thing you can bet on is Pastor/Coach/Recruiter Hugh Freeze now has an angle for his football career and eternal salvation.

Here is the screenshot picture he tweeted out

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MICHIGAN STATE 2013 COMMIT QUITS FOOTBALL TO FOCUS ON RAP CAREER

File this one under strange decisions. Jay Harris decided that college football and an education was not not him and he chose to pursue a rap career. I have to wonder how his mother feels about this. He is not the first to do this. Rapper The Game gave up a basketball scholarship to pursue music. The odds of going to the NFL are long but the odds to make it big in rap may be longer. We all know how much a college degree could have helped him long term. Harris was a 3 star rated recruit by 247 with other BCS offers.

According to a new post via Philly.com (the source of the original story) MSU is calling this a “mutal decision” by Harris and the coaching staff. So in real world terms this is what they mean: We pulled the kids scholarship after he posted a video of himself firing up a fatty behind the wheel of a car and smoking the ganj in some weird attic with all sorts of tagging on it.

Of course the best part is now that Harris is claiming he told the coaching staff that he wanted out two weeks ago, yet the release comes now…. Hmmm, call me skeptical of the story that he called it quits after all, but then again I may just be a jadded sports writer who’s seen one too many fishy stories to believe anything these days.

Mullen Steps Up Recruiting

Another unique piece of recruiting mail and another Internet buzz generated. For anyone keeping score, that’s the third time that has happened this cycle. The first was the infamous “you’re a baller” and the second was the “can of swag’ letter. The latest was a Mother’s Day card to Olive Branch offensive lineman Chase Johnson. All of these recruiting letters have gotten MSU a ton of publicity and gotten recruits talking about the Bulldogs. All good things in my mind.

While MSU fans are enjoying Dan Mullen leading this creative charge, the national media, radio host, and bloggers have taken every opportunity to scoff at MSU’ efforts. The latest of the snide articles was penned by Yahoo blogger Cameron Smith. The opening sentence in his piece is “This is getting ridiculous”. Smith is just another media member taking shots (a certain Mississippi sports radio personality took shots at “you’re a baller”) at Mullen doing everything he can to recruit in the SEC West with the smallest recruiting budget.

First I’ll say that I love what Mullen is doing. Recruits are opening MSU mail and talking about it on social media. Doesn’t mean they sign but its a good thing. With MSU’s small budget, Mullen has to find interesting ways to differentiate himself from the pack without spending a ton of cash. Mission accomplished.

What I don’t understand is some of the media pushback. In today’s college football landscape, prospects surface every cycle flashing hundred dollar bills but that gets overlooked and not a big deal. God forbid a cash strapped staff do some interesting recruiting letters and now these media guys have negative attitudes about it. If illegal benefits are “just part of recruiting” but different letters irritate you, please go get your head examined.

Even when you look at within the states borders we see the double standard in how it’s reported. Last recruiting cycle we saw Hugh Freeze recruit Kailo Moore in his underwear, he kissed Tunsil, and cried on the phone to a juco DT. All of these things, which I find weird and not the masculine football attitude I grew up around, were lauded as great recruiting and passionate. Chris Kiffin was given all kinds of awards for his performance last cycle and it was reported that he sent prospects hundreds of Facebook messages. That was lauded as genius and tenacious.

To be completely honest, I have no issue with any of it. If “you’re a baller” gets your foot in the door or if recruiting a guy in your underwear gets a commitment, that’s fine. The coaches and players involved in the recruiting process are the ones who have to deal with everything they’ve done, said, and the decision made. Recruiting is war and all is fair so don’t get upset over letters. It’s a long way until February and letters are just the tip of the iceberg.

Ranking the Top SEC Recruiters

247 sports has a really cool feature they recently unveiled where they rank not only the players and classes but also the assistant coaches doing the work. They have a point system where the coaches gets points for each commitment as the primary or secondary recruiter. The average numerical rating for the prospects is heavily weighted as well. There are currently 4 SEC assistants in the national top 10. There are 22 coaches in the top 50. I would theorize that by National Signing Day that the SEC will take a large chunk of the top 100. It’s good to keep in mind that its really early for 2014 recruiting but this is something pretty cool that I’ll pay close attention to as the summer camp circuit draws near. This feature really allows you to see who the “ace recruiter” is on your staff for that particular recruiting cycle. Keep in mind that I hand picked and ranked the SEC coaches out of the national rankings (this ranking does not reflect their national ranking).

1. David Beaty (Texas A&M)- Currently has 5 prospects committed. (3) 4 stars and (2) 3 stars for a total of 71.12 points.

2. Clarence McKinney (Texas A&M)- Currently has 4 prospects committed. (1) 5 star and (3) 4 stars for a total of 65.57 points.

3. Kirby Smart (Bama)- Currently has 5 prospects committed. (4) 4 stars and (1) 3 star for a total of 63.76 points.

4. Dameyune Craig (Auburn)- Currently has 4 prospects committed. (1) 4 star and (3) 3 stars for a total of 59.78 points.

5. Matt Luke (Ole Miss)- Currently has 4 prospects committed. (3) 4 stars and (1) 3 star for a total of 57.61 points.

6.Frank Wilson (LSU)- Currently has 4 prospects committed. (2) 4 stars and (2) 3 stars for a total of 57.36 points.

7. Corey Raymond (LSU)- Currently has 4 prospects committed. (1) 5 star, (2) 4 stars, and (1) 3 star for a total of 54.34 points.

8. Vince Morrow (Kentucky)- Currently has 4 prospects committed. (1) 4 star and (3) 3 stars for a total of 51.83 points.

9. Tommy Thigpen (Tennessee)- Currently has 5 prospects committed. (1) 5 star, (1) 4 star, and (3) 3 stars for a total of 51.14 points.

10. Derrick Nix (Ole Miss)- Currently has 4 prospects committed. (1) 4 star and (3) 3 stars for a total of 50.22 points.

11. Mark Elder (Tennessee)- Currently has 3 prospects committed. (1) 4 star and (2) 3 stars for a total of 47.53 points.

12. Brad Lawing (Florida)- Currently has 2 prospects committed. (2) 4 stars for a total of 45.71 points.

41. Tony Hughes (Mississippi State)- Currently has 1 prospect committed. (1) 4 star for a total of 21.91 points.