Mike Herndon owes Dan Mullen a Sincere Apology


It’s no secret that since Dan Mullen’s arrival in Starkville back in 2009, fans and media sources alike have criticized, laughed and mocked Mullen’s football recruiting, his commitment to football development and “the process”.

Since day one, Mullen has said there is a process and State will win and win at a high level, all the while getting mocked and asked time and again “who” when he signs players to the program.  Many folks stopped laughing and were left with a blank stare in 2014 as the Bulldogs reeled off 10-wins, punched their ticket to the Orange Bowl and sat at the top of college football for five straight weeks as the number-one team in the country.

One of the pundits towards Mullen’s approach is Mike Herndon who writes for al.com covering the SEC and South Alabama for the Alabama Media Group; you can give Mike a follow on twitter as well @TheMikeHerndon .  I am sure Mike is a great guy and even calls himself a “grilmaster”.  I like to grill so maybe he can cook me a fat slab one day and we can kick back, but back in 2011 Mike wrote a piece titled Dan Mullen, Mississippi State good for a laugh on signing day  and in this piece Herndon literally goes on a 457-word tirade absolutely blasting Mullen and his 2011 signing class in a “comedic fashion”.

Herndon writes –

"If you don’t get Comedy Central and can’t make it to Biloxi for the Kathleen Madigan show next week, may I suggest visiting Mississippi State’s website and viewing Dan Mullen’s signing day press conference if you need a good laugh."

Before we go any further in my man Mike’s fantastic breakdown of the 2011 Bulldog signing class, let’s refresh your memory on that class, because at face value it was kind of meh, but this is a key example why not to be a star gazer in recruiting.

The 2011 Bulldog signing class had 24-players attached to it and ranked 35th by 247sports.com and 45th by Scout.com, right there with teams like Georgia Tech, Missouri, Texas A&M and Michigan State.

The Bulldogs class had a few players that you might remember like 3-star Darius Slay,  3-star Benardrick McKinney, 3-star Taveze Calhoun, 4-star P.J. Jones, little ole 3-star running back Josh Robinson, 2-star Preston Smith, 3-star Justin Cox and some fullback playing quarterback in 3-star Dakota Prescott;  You can see the entire list of 2011 Bulldogs by clicking here.

That class was just celebrated, with others, as a record 12-Bulldogs found their way onto an NFL team and will get the chance to prove their worth in the near future – 5 via the draft and 7 via free agency.  Darius Slay has been an NFL starter for two years now and there is a Heisman Trophy contender on this list.

Back to Mike and his fantastic analysis of the 2011 class and let’s dig deeper into his thoughts way back then.

Mike says –

"Watching Mullen try to put a smiley face on Bulldogs’ 2011 recruiting class is rolling-on-the-floor funny. MSU lost several big de-commitments within the last month of the recruiting process after the departures of defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and receivers coach Mark Hudspeth. Included were the top two players in the state, linebacker C.J. Johnson and receiver Nickolas Brassell, both of whom ended up signing with Ole Miss.     Did losing those prospects hurt, coach?"

I’ll answer for coach Mullen here Mike, no losing those prospects didn’t hurt at all.  Preston Smith ended up being a better defensive lineman than C.J. Johnson and Benardrick McKinney would run circles around Johnson at linebacker.  Oh and Nickolas Brassell, I know it’s not proper blogging or writing nomenclature but I will give you a big ole LULZ on that one.

Herndon continues on with this masterpiece saying,

"Please, stop. I can’t take any more. We may find players such as Josh Robinson and James Maiden have been severely underrated. I’m sure Mullen sincerely likes every player he signed last Wednesday. But if you think he’s not missing the ones who got away, the joke’s on you."

Yes we did in fact find out that players like Josh Robinson were severely underrated and we also found that the joke is on Herndon, not any of us or Dan Mullen.  If Herndon were a comedian he would be literally on stage at this moment, laughing at his own jokes, while everyone else just stared.

Again this is why you do not get caught star gazing in recruiting – while stars are important, there is a reason Mullen get’s four-million plus a year to evaluate talent and you and I do not.  Mike Herndon owes Dan Mullen a sincere apology for the grade-A mock job he gave the ball coach in Starkville back in 2011 and Mike if you can grill better than you can project recruiting classes, I’d love a steak and I do put ketchup on mine.

Don’t judge me.