MSU is in one of the greatest stretches of winning in program history, yet turned out one of its most bizarre recruiting classes that was more bad than good.
There were a lot of things working against Mississippi State during the 2015-16 recruiting cycle, but there’s no excuse Dan Mullen could offer for way it transpired.
From the start we knew the Bulldogs would be behind the eight ball due to the lack of in-roads the staff had with some of the top talent in the state of Mississippi. The 2015 and 2017 classes were and are expected to be the standouts with 2016 lagging behind, but there’s no reason to lag this far behind.
MSU only pulled in four of the top 20 players in the state. Four – there’s zero excuse for that. You have to create some type of relationships with these players and bring in more than four of 20. That’s bad for a down program, but one that has won 19 games in two years and held the #1 ranking for five weeks just 16 months ago?
What’s more, three of the top 10 players in the state were in the Golden Triangle, two in Starkville, and MSU only got one of them (Kobe Jones). How does that happen? Rumors around West Point’s Scott Lashley indicate Alabama simply wanted him more – what?! Then there’s this from Starkville’s A.J. Brown…
Horrible. You simply can’t recruit 4-5 stars the way you do 3-stars. You can’t get them to sell you on getting an offer, you have to sell them on why they should choose MSU. They have a ton of options and aren’t hoping you’ll offer. When they don’t feel you really want them they are going to go somewhere else, especially when that somewhere else is winning national championships or going to New Year’s Six bowl games.
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There were more de-commitments in this class than signees. I don’t know how this happens, but it did. It seemed like every time you turned around a player was de-committing. The class completely turned over.
It was a perfect storm of sorts. Poor relationships to start off with, then losing the Egg Bowl for the second straight year, then losing your recruiting coordinator, then defensive coordinator, then a position coach with a Superbowl ring on his finger. There was a number of things working against Mullen, but things shouldn’t have been a crazy as they were.
While this class has been essentially a disaster in a vacuum, it doesn’t mean the program is about to fall off a cliff. State will end up in the 30s when the dust settles, but that’s happened before – three previous times (2010, 2011, 2014) under Mullen. It’s extremely disappointing to not capitalize on the the success of the last two years, but Mullen has shown he can win with these types of players. If we’re going to take the next step as a program, however, a lot of these players need to be diamonds in the rough and Mullen has to have a great class in 2017.