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Early Signing Day Blog, December 2018




Keep this page bookmarked and refreshed every so often, because as soon as Mississippi State gets a signee, information on that player will be posted right here. There will be much more coverage tomorrow on the meaning of it all and what was accomplished, but this is where you need to be for updates through the day and the raw list of guys officially in the class. 




Notes: Gulfport DE/LB Derick Hall chose Auburn. Mississippi State made a run at him and had a respectable chance, but clearly the defensive front in this class is supposed to be pretty good even without him....Former MSU wide receiver Reggie Todd signed with Troy. He was dismissed from the team over the summer after an assault arrest; he landed at Hinds Community College and is now back in the FBS. 


*CB Gregory Brooks Jr. flipped from MSU to Arkansas. 


*Here's the list of players currently committed to MSU that have not signed: DL Nathan Pickering, DL Charles Moore, OL Brandon Cunningham, OL Darius Washington, WR JaVonta Payton, CB DJ James, CB Martin Emerson Jr., OL Montravious Richardson, RB Kareem Walker. 




WR Quinton Torbor 


- 6'2", 182 pounds, Destrehan High School in Destrehan, Louisiana 


- He had other offers, but this hasn't been a stressful recruitment. He did MSU Junior Day, committed a few months later and there hasn't been much news outside of that 


- The 247 Composite ranks him as the 23rd-best prospect in Louisiana regardless of position and one of the top 90 wide receivers in the nation 


Destrehan has a history of producing ballers: Kirk Merritt, Oregon-to-EMCC-to-Arkansas State and Glen Logan at LSU being two of the most recent. Naturally, MSU would like that tradition to continue in Starkville. 




S Javeious Purvis 


- 6'2", 195 pounds, Pelahatchie Attendance Center in Pelahatchie, Mississippi 


- More or less came down to the two in-state schools 


- Just outside of the top 50 safeties on the 247 Composite, top 25 in the state regardless of position 


This is kind of out of the Marcus Murphy school of thought, where a college staff takes an all-around athlete from high school and likely tries it at safety. 




ATH Jarrion Jones 


- 6'1", 185 pounds, Northwest Rankin High School in Flowood, Mississippi 


- Decommitted from Oklahoma to commit to MSU, visited Illinois in the regular season 


- The 247 Composite rates him as the 14th-best prospect in the state regardless of position; ESPN has him 13th 


I got to see him in person once, but I noticed his contributions far more as a wide receiver than as a defensive back. 247 went ahead and listed him as a safety but his high school usage showed he has the athleticism to be used elsewhere. Given the heavy senior presence at safety this year, I imagine his first position will be safety at MSU, but he strikes me as the Marcus Murphy type that could be used elsewhere in an emergency situation. 




DL Jack Harris 


- 6'2", 227 pounds, Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, Mississippi 


- Naturally others were interested, but there was little to follow here. He was always enamored with MSU and kept it that way throughout 


- Just outside of the top 25 prospects in the state in the 247 Composite, but a top 75 guy at his position 


The question here is the position, as one would imagine at that weight. Does MSU refine that current body and make him a linebacker, or do they take a year or two to pack on weight and make him a true four-down defensive end? 




QB Garrett Shrader 


- 6'4.5", 208 pounds, Charlotte Christian in Charlotte, North Carolina 


- Also considered South Carolina, Penn State and West Virginia, among others 


- The 247 Composite rates him as the 10th-best dual threat QB in the nation and North Carolina's 12th-best prospect regardless of position; ESPN rates him as the 6th-best at his position nationally and 4th-best in his state regardless of position. 4-star on both sites 


The dual-threat label is an apt one with him, given how Charlotte Christian used him. He much more of the Nick Fitzgerald/Cam Newton running type than he is the Kyler Murray/Johnny Manziel type, in that his physicality and length as a runner is his primary tool more than breakaway speed. Charlotte Christian turned to him to win its final regular season game of the year on the final play with an inside QB run. He ran for 179 yards and three touchdowns and threw for 213 and two more touchdowns in the state championship game win this year. 




OL Nick Pendley 


- 6'5", 290 pounds, Creekview High School in Canton, Georgia 


- Got late offers from Miami, Florida State, Indiana and Missouri, all after MSU's offer in mid-October 


- Rated as a top 50 guard in the nation in the 247 Composite and a top 75 prospect in Georgia regardless of position 


I've heard some belly-aching from fans in the past about guys MSU recruits where MSU is their only Power 5 offer, the obvious idea being there's a good chance that player might not be good enough to play at that level. This one's different: but a bunch of Power 5 schools came onto him midway through his senior season, to the point that he actually became a bit of a commodity. Kudos to MSU's staff for being in the know, ready to pounce and in good enough position to seal the deal. Now it's on the Bulldogs to develop him into a SEC starter. 




DL Ani Izuchukwu  


- 6'4", 230 pounds, Davidson Academy in Nashville, Tennessee 


- Also looked at Alabama, Tennessee, Florida and Ohio State, among others 


- The 247 Composite rates him as the 22nd-best prospect at his position in the nation and the 13th-best in Tennessee regardless of position; ESPN ranks him as the 5th-best in the state and 31st among defensive ends nationally 


Naturally, any time Mississippi State can pluck a defensive line prospect away from the likes of Alabama is an exciting day. MSU won't have to wait long to see him: Paul Jones of 247 reported in November that Izuchukwu planned to graduate early and enroll in time for upcoming spring practice. 




RB Lee Witherspoon 


- 5'11", 180 pounds, North Jackson High School in Stevenson, Alabama 


- Louisville extended him an offer, but a good bit of his interest came from the Group of 5 


- The 247 Sports Composite and ESPN both have him as a top 25 prospect in the state of Alabama 


Because there were two senior running backs on this team and MSU did not get its 2018 running back into school, frankly, any signing here is a good one. Just get a warm body into the position group and see if running backs coach Charles Huff can develop him into a useful player. The fact that the guy they get to fit that description was setting records in Alabama is quite the cherry on top, huh? 




OL LaQuinston Sharp 


- 6'3", 305 pounds, East Mississippi Community College 


- Columbus High School before EMCC, high school teammate of Kylin Hill 


- The 247 Composite rates him as the second-best guard in junior college, the third-best prospect in in-state JUCOs and 25th among all JUCO prospects nationally 


MSU did something to secure Sharp's commitment right after the Kentucky game, when MSU's pass protection was terrible. It can't be a coincidence that MSU went and got a junior college offensive lineman after that game, so I imagine Sharp will be expected to come in and be an immediate competitor for playing time. 




S Fred Peters 


- 5'10.5", 200 pounds, Jones County Junior College 


- Also held an offer from Florida, but visited Ole Miss and MSU 


- The 247 Composite has him as the 17th-best JUCO prospect in the nation, the 3rd-best safety and the 2nd-best in the state of Mississippi at any position 


This was a crucial pickup. This was a senior-heavy secondary this year and will have a noticeable senior presence next year, so getting another experienced body in that room was a good move while it develops Marcus Murphy and the other DBs in this class into upperclassmen. 




OL Charles Cross 


- 6'5", 270 pounds, Laurel High School in Laurel, Mississippi 


- MSU was battling Florida State, USC and Ole Miss; he was previously committed to Florida State 


- A top 100 prospect (95th in the nation) is 5th in the state and 11th among offensive tackles nationwide, all according to the 247 Composite 


As that list of suitors suggests, this was a big get for MSU. Offensive linemen that rate this highly are generally expected to come in and at least be a legitimate player in competing for playing time immediately, and Cross could be that guy. 




OL Brevyn Jones 


- 6'4", 261 pounds, Huffman High School in Birmingham, Alabama 


- Was committed to Tulane before switching to MSU 


- ESPN is far higher on Jones than 247. ESPN has him as the 32nd-best prospect in the state of Alabama regardless of position, where as the 247 Composite doesn't have Jones in the top 60 in Alabama 


This is a classic Mississippi State developmental project. Most of Jones's offers came from the Group of 5 -- Tulane, Appalachian State, Florida Atlantic, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana-Lafayette, etc. -- but MSU plucks him up at the end in hopes of finding this diamond in the rough. 




WR Kyziah Pruitt 


- 5'11", 185 pounds, Noxubee County High School in Macon, Mississippi 


- Didn't really entertain much after he committed to MSU 


- A top 100 wide receiver in the nation and a top 25 Mississippi prospect according to 247 Sports, and ESPN has him similarly ranked 


It's good for everyone involved for MSU to get the best player on Noxubee County's roster with consistency, considering that guy has a NFL future with somewhat regularity. Good on the new staff for keeping this commitment together in the change. 




DL De'Monte Russell 


- 6'4", 216 pounds, Provine High School in Jackson, Mississippi 


- MSU and Ole Miss were the two biggest players 


- 12th-best in the state regardless of position and 13th-best defensive end in the nation according to the 247 Composite 


As you can see, being on the lighter side as he is makes him an interesting prospect. His career will obviously start by adding weight, but impact potential is there if he does that well. 


Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson



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