After signing four Parade All-American players last recruiting season, DB Darren Williams, RB Jerious Norwood, RB Nick Turner and LB Marvin Byrdsong, MSU is expected to add two more Parade All-Americans in this class, OL Donovan Davis (6-7, 325, 5.3) and DB Quinton Culberson (6-1, 205, 4.5).
Also included in this group are four-star athletes QB Omarr Conner (6-1, 205, 4.5), DB Adrian Griffin (5-11, 160, 4.45), DL Devrick Hampton (6-3, 275,4.8), DB Jeramie Johnson (5-11, 185, 4.45), DE J.J. Grant (6-4, 250, 4.6), DT Deljuan Robinson (6-4, 290, 4.9) and possibly DB Eric Fuller (6-1, 190, 4.45).
Mississippi State didn't have to look far to find one of the top quarterbacks in the nation, Conner from Noxubee County High School in Macon, Mississippi. Conner has Michael Vick type talent and has a chance to be a tremendous offensive force in the SEC for the next four years.
With two Parade All-American running backs already on campus, MSU was not in dire need of another running back but is expected to sign the big back they were looking for in Athens, Alabama Jason Jude (6-1, 225, 4.53). Jason had knee surgery after being injured in the 4th game of last season. He is expected to be 100% by next football season.
Wide receiver was not a major need in this recruiting season, but MSU is expected to sign, arguably, the two best in the state in Joey Sanders (6-2, 200, 4.5) and Jason Husband (6-3, 200, 4.6). MSU may also move expected signee Akeem Lofton (5-11, 17, 4.5) to the wide receiver spot.
With starting TE Donald Lee using up his eligibility this past season, MSU looked high and low for a tight end. They are expected to sign the three best in the state, Dezmond Sherrod (6-3, 225, 4.8), Linzy Patterson (6-3, 230, 4.8) and Eric Butler (6-2, 215, 4.6).
Needing to add more quality offensive linemen, MSU is expected to not only sign Davis, but Royce Blackledge (6-4, 270, 4.9), an offensive lineman I consider one of the three best in the state, David Price (6-5, 335), Lance Fremin (6-1, 260), Brian Anderson (6-5, 280, 5.3), and John Davis (6-1, 285, 5.1, 5.1).
After having received early commitments from Grant, Robinson, Andrew Powell (6-1, 295, 5.0), and Corey Clark (6-3, 285, 4.9), MSU came on strong at the end and added several other outstanding defensive linemen, including Hampton, Sandy Quinn (6-3, 240, 4.7) and Phernando Rex-Hill (6-3, 295) to their list of commitments.
Mississippi State is expected to add several outstanding players to their linebacker corps with the addition of Mike Heard (6-3, 215, 4.45), Brad Horton (6-1, 230, 4.6) and possibly Avery Hannibal (6-1, 235, 4.7). There is a possibility that Hannibal could end up at DE. Heard and Horton, two outstanding talents who were underrated by most recruiting analysts, are both very fast and very athletic.
Mississippi State, with the expected signatures of Culberson, Griffin, Johnson (all four-star players) and Rickey Wright (6-1, 185, 4.5), may very well have signed, potentially, the best high school DB class that they have ever signed.
Mississippi State also has commitments from super athletes Cory Jones (5-10.5, 167, 4.35) and Tyler Threadgill (5-11, 180, 4.35). Two of the fastest high school players in the state of Mississippi this past season, both players can play numerous positions.
Overall, MSU has added quality depth at every position.
What is unusual about the players, is the fact that MSU, unlike years past when they signed a large number of junior college players, will sign almost 100% high schoolers.
Also remember that some of these players may not sign on the dotted line Wednesday because they will be gray shirts. This means they will come in as part-time students in the fall and sign with MSU in December and come in on scholarship in January, 2004.
Now, on to signing day....
Gene Swindoll is the publisher and owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial site for Mississippi State sports since October, 1996. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org