It's interesting to see how Jeff Lebby has focused on building the Mississippi State football signing class. According to Lebby during a friendly press conference in the midst of signing day shenanigans, he's interested in bringing guys who can be assets and leaders in the locker room into Starkville.
According to Lebby, getting new Mississippi State football players who are focused on being good people as well as good athletes is a pretty important thing to do.
"I think just understanding that man, It's still about people, you know. Putting the right people inside the locker room. There's nothing more important to me and then us to get that part of it right," Lebby explained during his press conference.
That's encouraging to hear about, to be completely honest. It's something that a coach obviously should say from a PR and coach speak standpoint, but it's also something that absolutely has to be present when a team is being built.
With where the Mississippi State football program is right now, it's pretty evident that the Bulldogs really need some stability. Being able to build a program with players who are going to hold themselves to a consistent standard ethically (as well as performing well on the field) can help ensure that sort of stability shows up in Starkville.
Mississippi State football: Jeff Lebby focuses on recruiting players who 'are serious about being good people'
"As we look at them, you’ve got to be good enough, first and foremost you’ve flat got to be good enough. But then we’ve got to have great people in the building because when you do that you’ve got a chance to create connection and team and culture. And that’s something that is important to me as anything," Lebby explained.
If you're a Mississippi State football fan, that's exactly the sort of message that you want to hear. You want your head coach focused on getting athletes who will refuse to represent the institution in a poor manner.
And if you're a coach who is trying to craft careful messaging to help build faith-holders in your program while simultaneously insulating it, then you're doing a great job by making this sort of statement. Just a masterclass in understanding stakeholder and institutional relationships from Jeff Lebby right there.
It's also a pretty good way to build a football team.
As Lebby discussed a transfer like Ethan Miner to help build the Bulldogs' offensive line, MSU's head coach had this to say:
"So I think when you’re getting the older guy you want to be able to get the older guy that’s still about the right stuff. Even though it’s a guy that’s going to be here one year, you know it’s our first year. And so that was important. We got that with some of these older guys that are serious about being good people and players," Lebby said.
Again, that's exactly the sort of messaging that Mississippi State fans will want to hear. Especially if you're someone who had questions about the Bulldogs' decision to hire Lebby. You want MSU to get guys who will hold themselves to a high standard, both on the field and off of it.
For Lebby to apparently make that a priority is an encouraging thing.