The highly anticipated first news of the 2012 recruiting season is finally official.
Mississippi State University announced Friday morning that defensive end Denico Autry, defensive tackle Quay Evans, center Dylan Holley, offensive lineman Charles Siddoway and offensive lineman Justin Senior officially were enrolled into school this month allowing them to sign financial aid papers and making them eligible for spring practices beginning on March 22.
Evans, a four-star prospect from Morton High School, and Autry, who local fans are familiar with as a Junior College All-American defensive lineman from at East Mississippi Community College are the highlighted members of the five early enrollees as MSU tries to add to the defensive line depth for the 2012 season.
“It’s great to welcome these five young men to our Mississippi State family,” Mullen said in a university release. “We’re happy they’re here for the spring semester and will be able to develop in our offseason program and participate in spring practices.”
A few weeks removed from winning a National Junior College National Championship at EMCC, defensive end Denico Autry gave his verbal commitment to the Bulldogs program on Dec. 13.
“I have a pretty good relationship with the coaches,” Autry said after committing to MSU. “I watched a lot of film and man I can see myself making a lot of tackles in (MSU defensive coordinator Chris)Wilson’s defense.”
Official signing day for the rest of the football prospects for this class is Feb. 2 when commitments will first have the opportunity to sign a National Letter-of-Intent. The junior college transfers that enrolled today officially complete the 2011 signing class and will not be included as part of the spring signing period.Under NCAA rules, MSU coaches are unable to comment on a prospect until they either enroll early or signing day arrives.
Evans, a 305-pound defensive tackle prospect, was rated the top prospect in the state of Mississippi among all positions by various recruiting services. Scout.com has listed him among their top three prep defensive linemen for two years after he was credited with 72 tackles with 4.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and two fumbles recovered in his senior season at Morton. Evans, who is likely to see some playing time early chose Mississippi State over Auburn, USC, Florida State, LSU, Alabama, Ole Miss and a host of other programs. Autry, who will try to give MSU an instant pass rushing threat, led all Lion defensive linemen with 81 total tackles (54 solos and 27 assists), including a team-high 11 sacks and 13 other tackles for loss at EMCC. The Albemarle, N.C., native was also credited with 41 quarterback hurries, four pass breakups and a pair of forced fumbles on the season.
“He’s like DeMarcus Ware in the National Football League that’s practically unblockable with one person and a defensive player you have to account for on every play,” EMCC associate head coach/defensive coordinator William Jones said. “Denico might be the best player I’ve ever had the privilege of coaching because he’s such a unique pass rusher.”
Holley, who was a highly touted offensive line prospect from the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, helped lead the nation in rushing and will instantly provide depth to a MSU offensive front looking for quality personnel after injuries forced constant shifting around players in the 2011 campaign. Siddoway was named first-team All-American following his sophomore season by the National Junior College Athletic Association and earned first team all-region honors for his standout performance at Butte College that has produced NFL Pro Bowl caliber quarterback Aaron Rodgers. In 2009 Siddoway transferred from the University of California to Butte College a year after Rivals.com dubbed him the top prospect in Oregon and No. 43 at his position nationally.
The 280-pound senior is from Montreal but came to the Starkville campus in January from Hargrave Military Academy that also produced MSU starting basketball senior point guard Dee Bost.
The Bulldogs began offseason workouts last week and will begin spring practice on March 22. The Maroon-White spring game is scheduled for April 17.