Jeff Lebby leans on transfer portal, junior colleges for 2024 Mississippi State football recruiting class

Thanks to the transfer portal and local junior colleges, Jeff Lebby was able to get a significant number of his 2024 Mississippi State football signing class with existing college football playing experience.
Kentucky v Mississippi State
Kentucky v Mississippi State / Michael Chang/GettyImages

He didn't exactly have a ton of time to go out and get a ton of recruiting done, but what Jeff Lebby did was build a recruiting class that might have some success in elevating the floor of what the Mississippi State football team might accomplish next season.

Lebby was able to go out and get 10 players through the transfer portal, giving the Bulldogs the No. 11 ranked group of transfer portal players in the country. Lebby also brought five junior college players to Starkville, meaning that 15 members of Mississippi State's recruiting class will show up with some form of college football playing experience.

That's a rather significant number.

With only weeks to salvage Mississippi State's recruiting class, new head coach Jeff Lebby wasted no time in assembling a group that might be able to make an impact sooner rather than later. Thanks to the transfer portal as well as the junior colleges in Mississippi, Lebby was able to address several positions of need.

"We need to do a great job in the junior colleges in our state. There's great players here. Always have been," Lebby explained in his press conference. "And so for us to be back involved on that side of it's going to be really important moving forward."

Jeff Lebby takes advantage of transfer portal, local junior colleges to build 2024 Mississippi State football recruiting class

When discussing Ashun Shepphard (a defensive lineman from East Mississippi Community College), Tyler Woodard (a defensive back from East Mississippi Community College), and Marcus Ross (a linebacker from East Mississippi Community College), Lebby had this to say:

"I think all three of those guys got opportunity to come in and have immediate impacts. Those three guys play the game the way we want it to be played and you watch them and you see that immediately."

It seems incredibly plausible that Lebby and the Bulldogs found instant help at all three levels with the additions of Shepphard, Woodard, and Ross. The Bulldogs will need active and experienced players on defense and being able to get some of the best available from Mississippi community colleges is a decent way to get that side of the ball contributors in a hurry.

I'm not necessarily sold on the notion that MSU absolutely has to dominate recruiting with the community colleges, but it is an important aspect of helping the Bulldogs succeed sooner rather than later.

And Lebby also made it clear that leaning on the transfer portal will allow for his Mississippi State football team to have a better chance at finding success.

"Those older guys, man, they're guys that have played and with today's day and age of college football, you got a chance to flip a roster in a hurry and address needs and go get guys that have played and are serious about being good," Lebby explained.

It's still not clear just yet as to how sustainable relying heavily upon the transfer portal can be. Recruiting high school players likely still remains critical for long-term success. But recruiting transfers makes it possible for new coaches like Lebby to execute their visions more rapidly.

It won't necessarily take extensive amounts of time for coaches to overhaul a roster and get playmakers in specific positions.

While the Bulldogs aren't exactly where Lebby likely wants them to be, the Bulldogs seem to be a good bit closer because the roster already more closely reflects his vision and blueprint for what the program should be.