STARKVILLE — Members of the Mississippi State football team’s 2015 recruiting class already refer to their group as a family, ending each twitter message to Bulldog fans with the hashtag “#DawgFam15.”
For MSU’s latest commitment, that family connection goes even deeper.
On Monday morning, Brandon High School defensive tackle Fletcher Adams, a consensus four-star prospect according all three major recruiting services, called MSU coach Dan Mullen and gave the sixth-year coach a verbal commitment. In the process, Adams became the 28th commitment of MSU’s 2015 class and he will join his older brother, current Bulldogs’ defensive end Nelson Adams, in Starkville.
The younger Adams leads Brandon High with 54 tackles four games into this season.
The commitment was first reported by The Jackson-Clarion Ledger early Monday morning.
“It just came down to the wire and I needed to do what’s best for me,” Adams said. “I grew up a State Fan. Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss are the dream schools, but you just have to do what’s best for you. That was the main thing.”
Adams said he chose MSU over scholarship offers from Alabama and Florida after removing Ole Miss from the process several days ago.
With the commitment of Fletcher Adams, MSU’s 2015 class is ranked No. 9 in the country by recruiting service Scout.com, No. 12 by 247sports.com, and No. 11 on Rivals.com. In his six years as coach in Starkville, Mullen’s best class finished at No 18 in the country.
In Adams, the Bulldogs add an athletically gifted lineman with a frame that could lead to a future at any position on the defensive front. That position is MSU’s strongest group this season. The Bulldogs lead the Southeastern Conference in tackles for loss (35), are second in sacks (14), and are allowing 2.37 yards per carry, the lowest total in the SEC.
But three of MSU’s top five defensive tackles (Kaleb Eulls, Curtis Virges, and P.J. Jones) are seniors, while defensive end Preston Smith also will graduate following this season. That could mean Adams, who finished his junior season with a team-high 111 tackles and eight sacks, could see early playing time in Starkville, where he will line up alongside his big brother, a sophomore with two sacks and three tackles for loss, for at least two years.
“That’s the biggest factor,” Adams said about the chance to play with his brother. “You don’t get many opportunities to play with your big brother, so that was one of the main reasons.”
At 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, Adams could grow into a defensive tackle or could join his brother at defensive end. According to his high school coach, one of Adams’ greatest strengths is his versatility.
“Fletcher is a great young man,” Brandon High coach Brad Peterson said Monday. “For us, he can play any position on the defensive line. It just sort of depends on what we need at the time. He can play wherever we need him.”
The younger Adams is MSU’s 13th in-state commitment. He joins Murrah High’s Malik Dear, Bassfield High safety Jamal Peters, Louisville High wide receiver Dontae Jones, and Yazoo City High linebacker Timothy Washington as in-state four-star prospects who have given verbal commitments to MSU.
All 28 of MSU’s commitments can sign National Letters of Intent on National Signing Day, Feb. 4, 2015.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brandon Walker on Twitter @BWonStateBeat