Sean Rawlings, a Mississippi State commit since October 3rd, is now committed to play for Ole Miss. Good for him because that is where he’s always wanted to go, and when he got the scholarship offer to be a Rebel he took it. I don’t fault him there, and I certainly don’t fault him for committing to MSU even though he knew he would flip to OM if he got an offer there. Ole Miss knew this too – and they kept him warm waiting to see if any bigger fish came along. It was a two-fold benefit for OM:
- Rawlings is a safety
- He’ll flip from rival MSU
Sean Rawings is a pretty good offensive line prospect. Not great, but good. He’s listed as a 3-star across the board and versatile too – 247 projects him as a tackle, Scout a center and Rivals a gaurd. But he wasn’t highly sought after. He had a number of Sun Belt offers, and MSU was his only SEC offer so he took it in October. Now Ole Miss has jumped in and he’s headed to Oxford.
Much can be said about the differences between Hugh Freeze and Dan Mullen on the recruiting trail, but one thing cannot be denied, and that’s Mullen’s eye for talent. He is often the first guy on prospects and then others (programs and recruiting services) join the party. Sometimes guys like Benardrick McKinney or Taveze Calhoun never get the attention until after they come to MSU and show out. Mullen may not win as many (or any) recruiting battles, but I do think he makes up for it in player evaluations and development. Say what you will Ole Miss fans – next year’s MSU defense are all Mullen recruits, and it’s one salty D. Throw in Dak Prescott’s name being mentioned for the Heisman and a handful of other elite talent that wasn’t so elite coming out of high school and I think made point is made.
So for these under-the-radar type of guys who aren’t getting any major offers, should Mullen and Co. just play the waiting game until we get close to signing day to offer?
Think about Sean Rawlings. He went to summer camps at MSU and Ole Miss. Both coaching staffs evaluated him. Mullen offered Rawlings in September while Freeze passed. Since that time he’s elevated his stock to a 3-star across the board. Freeze jumps in at the last moment to steal him away. This is no indictment of Freeze – he wins in this scenario. But can we find a way to keep these evaluations close to the vest and ensure the player comes to State?
Mullen and staff aren’t winning many recruiting battles. It’s just the way it is. Unless we get another Tim Brewster type as an assistant this is just something we have to live with if Mullen is the coach we’re hitching our wagon to. So you have to go with your strengths: evaluation and development, and play off your weaknesses: winning recruiting battles.
If Mullen doesn’t offer Rawlings in September, but waits until his visit on January 18th, is he a Bulldog? He might have committed to one of those Sun Belt schools early and then we would have flipped him – but does he ever get that offer from Ole Miss? He wasn’t even planning to visit this past weekend until that week. I doubt he would have been in Oxford, and Freeze wouldn’t have been interested. Rawlings might still be a two-star without any SEC offers, until late in the period when took the plunge.
For some of these prospects that are on the fringe of getting a SEC offer it might be best to wait it out, and not be the first. Once Mullen has given a player his seal of approval, it seems like every one else piles on to see what’s there. Maybe it’s time to put a little strategy into our scholarship offers.