Mississippi State head football coach Dan Mullen received 22 National Letters of Intent from promising student-athletes who comprise the Bulldogs’ 2015 recruiting class that is ranked among the top 20 in America.
Both ESPN.com and Rivals.com ranked MSU’s elite class 16th nationally, representing its highest recruiting ranking since the 2003 squad was No. 9. Scout.com and 247Sports each had the Bulldogs’ class No. 18 nationally.
“We want to see how these guys develop before we judge this as our greatest recruiting class ever,” said Mullen. “But I will say this, I know that I’m very happy with the guys coming in. Our coaches are very happy with the class that we put together. These young men aren’t just great football players, but they’re great young men, too.”
More importantly, MSU hauled in five of Mississippi’s top six players, including Nos. 1 (safety Jamal Peters of Bassfield) and 2 (linebacker Leo Lewis of Brookhaven) according to ESPN.com. Fifteen of the signees hail from the state of Mississippi, including four who were early enrollees in January.
“A lot of young people now, especially the top players in Mississippi decided to come here and play for us,” said Mullen. “They can come here and play for their in-state school, get a great education, be developed and maximized to become the best that they can be on and off the field, and that they will have the opportunity to compete for championships makes us such a great place for them. You saw that today.”
Peters and Lewis were both high school All-Americans this season and rank as the No. 40 and 43 overall players in the nation by ESPN.com.
The balanced class features 10 players on the offensive side of the ball and 12 defensive players. Ten of the 22 are considered ‘four stars’, while the remaining 12 received ‘three stars.’ Six of the Clarion-Ledger’s Dandy Dozen will wear Maroon and White this fall.
After a senior class left its legacy on the program in the fall of 2014, Mullen and his staff were forced to sign a large in-coming class. They addressed their needs by bringing in four linebackers, four defensive backs and four defensive lineman. The six early enrollees, who count toward the 2014 class, make up the largest number of early enrollees in MSU history.
Quotes from Mullen’s press conference and a closer look at the class is below:
“Today has been a great day for us. Every signing day has been a great day for us. We get to welcome a bunch of new guys into our family. I think that our coaches did a fabulous job out there on the road. Some of these guys have been recruiting for a couple of years now, and it’s good to finally have that official closure of getting the recruits here. The only sad part is that we have to wait until June until a lot of these guys enroll in school. Our coaches and players did a great job telling these guys what our program is all about. The program has been established. A lot of people, most of the top players in the state realize how we develop young men, not just on the field but off the field, too. A lot of these young men and their families see what we do and that’s the proof. You’re happy to show them. Before, we used to talk about it a lot, but they look at the development of these young guys, how guys are graduating within our program, how guys are developing on the field and the fact that most of this season we were in contention for a spot in the national playoffs.”
“A lot of young people now, especially the top players in Mississippi decided to come here and play for us. They can come here and play for their in-state school, get a great education, be developed and maximized to become the best that they can be on and off the field, and that they will have the opportunity to compete for championships makes us such a great place for them. You saw that today.”
“When you look at this class, it’s a great, balanced class. A lot of guys graduate this year. We had a lot of seniors this year and had a lot of guys who are getting the chance to move on and go play in the National Football League. Getting some guys in mid-semester really helped us. That’s such a huge advantage, especially getting three high school guys enrolled mid-semester, two from Mississippi. That’s been something through the years that’s been harder to do. I know a lot school districts were against that, but hopefully they see the advantage it is for their young men and how it can help their schools out. Having those guys here early is such a huge advantage. They’re here. They’re getting a jumpstart on their college degree. Hopefully, they’ll have the opportunity to get Master’s degrees. It helps with training, too. Some morning they’re in the weight room, they’re thinking ‘Man, I could still be in homeroom right now instead of on a leg press with Coach (Rick) Court.’ That’s huge for us.”
“One of the things that’s always important to us is recruiting the state of Mississippi. When you look at this year’s recruiting class and see 15 guys from the state of Mississippi, it’s so huge. According to some of the rankings, eight of the top 10 players from Mississippi are coming here to play for us. That is so, so important for us. Those guys have so much pride in playing for Mississippi State and also playing for the state of Mississippi. When you have that pride that you’re representing everyone in the state, it is special.
“We wanted to mix offensive and defensive guys. We’ve got a little bit of everything in this recruiting class. I think all of the rankings have us as one of the top classes in the country. I think that’s fantastic. We’ll wait a couple of years to judge if that’s true or not. Again, I think you might look at Jon Banks, Benardrick McKinney, Taveze Calhoun, or Dak Prescott and you might rerate some of those guys now. We want to see how these guys develop before we judge this as the greatest recruiting class ever. But I will say this, I know that I’m very happy with the guys coming in. Our coaches are very happy with the class that we put together. These young men aren’t just great football players, but they’re great young men, too. Character, to me, is such an important part of our recruiting. And to have these young men come join our family, they understand that they’re coming to a program that is going to help develop them. We will demand very high expectations of them on the field, in the classroom and in the community. These young men embrace that. They embrace the hard work, the sacrifice, and the commitment that it’s going to take to become successful. Families out there look at our family-atmosphere here and they want their sons to be a part of that. We’re fired up and excited. Can’t wait for June 6 when they get to enroll in school.”
On Leo Lewis:
“I’ve always had great conversations with Leo. The one great thing, even through all of this, was that he was always really humble. I would always ask, but it was hard for me to find anyone who had a bad thing to say about him. He came out to our camps and worked his tail off while he was out there. Coaches would say, ‘He’s hyped up, but I’ll tell you what: he gives great effort all the time’ and that’s the stuff that I look for. Obviously he’s got great size, great athleticism, and excellent instincts. He’s an explosive football player, but the thing that’s the most exciting about him is that he has a tremendous work ethic. Everything he’s told me, he’s followed through with, even through the whole recruiting process. When he said something was going to happen, it’s happened. To me, the most exciting aspect of that is that he’s going to improve a lot. He’s going to get a lot better. He’s already got great size, great athleticism, great instincts and explosiveness, but because of his work ethic and the attitude that he has, you know that he’s a guy whose ceiling is much higher than where he is right now today. I expect him to have a tremendous career here with us.”
On Jamal Peters:
“Obviously, he’s a special talent back there in the secondary, but also a huge need for us at that position with guys graduating and Kendrick Market coming off a severe injury. If he showed up on campus today, without stepping on the field, he might be on the two-deep rotation right now. He has a chance to make an immediate impact. He has an opportunity to touch the ball on the other side of the ball for us, too, because when I watched him play in high school, he was pretty electric. We might have to create some things to let him play on the other side of the ball as well.”
On the diversity of his defensive linemen signees:
“You’re always looking at what’s going to be out there. You also have to look at the development of where those guys are going to be. You take Fletcher Adams. He’s a really explosive player and multi-sport athlete in high school. How big is he going to get? I don’t know. His brother’s pretty big and athletic for us. He could start at end or play inside. He has that flexibility. Kendell Jones is the same way. He’s a big, long athletic guy. Anfernee Mullins is a long, athletic guys which is something that I really like. It’s hard to judge sometimes. These guys are 17 or 18 years old right now. Chris Jones on signing day was 250 pounds. His goal weight now is to be under 310. You don’t know how they’re going to grow and develop, but we’re really excited. To me, I love the athleticism that a lot of these guys are bringing to the table to us. T.D. (Moton) has a lot of size. Kendell and Anfernee have length. Fletcher is really explosive. Keith Joseph is an explosive guy off the edge. So we have a mix of guys. I think that’s pretty good for us.”
On Dontea Jones:
“He brings size. I every time I see him, he’s bigger. He was 6-foot-4 and a half, 260 pounds on his visit. He’s a couple of biscuits away from playing left tackle, probably. We love creating mismatches. Dontea is a guy with great ball skills, but with his size, he’s tough to match up on. Look at how we utilize a guy like De’Runnya Wilson who has the ball skills and the length. He’s hard to guard. So one of those things when you’re looking at wide receivers is where are they creating mismatches. Is it the quickness and the speed or is the size? Where are we going to create mismatch problems for defenses? He’s a guy that does bring a tremendous mismatch. He’s just a big man. He gets on the scale and he’s big. It’s not fat. It’s not anything. He’s just a big guy. So he’ll create some mismatches for people.
On Nick Tiano:
“He’s a big athletic guy. We list him at 6’5″, 230 pounds. You watch him and think ‘He’s a good athlete, maybe not a special, dynamic player, but all of a sudden, you start watching him make these runs, like Dak Prescott did. Dak was a guy where you would say, ‘Okay, well he makes some okay runs’ but the more you study them, they end up being good runs, and then really, really good runs. He came down and we spent time with him in camp to see him throw the ball. He has a very naturally strong arm. The ball jumps out of his hand. He’s very intelligent with great leadership skill. These are all things we’re looking for at the quarterback position. He comes in with a lot of the things that we look for. He can come in and contribute. If you lined up all of my quarterbacks, they would be different shapes and sizes, but the most important intangible that they have is that they’re winners. That’s the biggest thing that Nick probably brings to the table. He’s a winner.”
2015 Mississippi State Football Signing Class (22)
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (School)
Fletcher Adams DL 6-2 260 Brandon, Miss. (Brandon HS)
Nick Gibson RB 5-11 197 Birmingham, Ala. (Pinson Valley HS)
Farrod Green TE 6-3 215 Wesson, Miss. (Wesson Attendance Center)
Justin Johnson WR 6-4 224 Birmingham, Ala. (Hoover HS)
Dontea Jones ATH 6-4 260 Louisville, Miss. (Louisville HS)
Kendell Jones DL 6-4 255 Pinson, Ala. (Clay-Chalkville HS)
Keith Joseph Jr. LB 6-4 226 Pascagoula, Miss. (Pascagoula HS)
Traver Jung LB 6-4 215 Greenville, Miss. (Holmes CC)
Leo Lewis LB 6-2 231 Brookhaven, Miss. (Brookhaven HS)
Mark McLaurin DB 6-2 210 Collins, Miss. (Collins HS)
Keith Mixon WR 5-8 175 Birmingham, Ala. (Shades Valley School)
Harrison Moon OL 6-4 276 Chattanooga, Tenn. (Signal Mountain HS)
T.D. Moton DL 6-3 310 Shreveport, La. (Woodlawn HS)
Anfernee Mullins DL 6-4 245 Aliceville, Ala. (Aliceville HS)
Alec Murphy RB 6-1 225 Nixa, Mo. (Nixa HS)
Jamal Peters DB 6-2 216 Bassfield, Miss. (Bassfield HS)
Maurice Smitherman DB 5-9 178 Adamsville, Ala. (Minor HS)
Jonnas Spivey WR 6-1 181 Bay Springs, Miss. (Bay Springs HS)
Chris Stamps DB 6-1 170 Vicksburg, Miss. (Warren Central HS)
Nick Tiano QB 6-5 230 Chattanooga, Tenn. (Baylor School)
Tim Washington LB 6-3 183 Yazoo City, Miss. (Yazoo City HS)
Darryl Williams OL 6-3 304 Bessemer, Ala. (Bessemer City HS)
2015 Mississippi State Football Early Enrollees (6) (Count toward 2014 Signing Class)
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (School)
Johnathan Calvin DL 6-4 250 Jackson, Miss. (Copiah-Lincoln CC)
Malik Dear WR 5-9 226 Jackson, Miss. (Murrah HS)
Donald Gray WR 5-9 185 Memphis, Tenn. (Copiah-Lincoln CC)
Martinas Rankin OL 6-5 300 Mendenhall, Miss. (Miss. Gulf Coast CC)
Michael Story OL 6-4 290 Ripley, Miss. (Ripley HS)
Deddrick Thomas WR 5-9 170 Memphis, Tenn. (Memphis Central HS)
247Sports: 18 (highest since No. 13 in 2003)
Rivals.com: 16 (highest since No. 9 in 2003)
Breakdown by Position (does not include early enrollees)
Breakdown by State (includes early enrollees)
Mississippi: 15 (16 including in-state junior colleges)
Breakdown by School (does not include early enrollees)
High School: 21
Junior College: 1
Breakdown by Stars (does not include early enrollees)
Breakdown by: (includes early enrollees)
ESPN300: 7 (Peters, Lewis, Dear, Adams, Moton, Williams, Washington)
Rivals250: 4 (Peters, Lewis, Gibson, Adams)
Scout300: 4 (Adams, Lewis, Peters, Dear)
Scout JUCO100: 4 (Ranking, Jung, Calvin, Gray)
Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen: 6 (Peters, Lewis, Washington, Adams, Dear, Jones)
JUCO All-Americans: 2 (Gray, Rankin)
Under Armour All-Americans: 1 (Lewis)
U.S. Army All-Americans: 1 (Peters)
2015 Mississippi State Football Signee Bios
Fletcher Adams, DL, 6-2, 260, Brandon, Miss. (Brandon HS)
A consensus blue-chip four-star defensive lineman ranked one of the top 200 overall players in the nation … Rated one of the top 30 defensive linemen in the country and the No. 5 prospect in the state by 247Sports and ESPN.com … The top pass rusher in Mississippi … Tabbed the No. 4 player in the state by Rivals.com and Scout.com … Brother of current MSU standout defensive lineman Nelson Adams … Member of the Clarion-Ledger’s Dandy Dozen … Helped lead the Brandon Bulldogs to a Region 3-6A title and an appearance in the South Mississippi state championship in 2014 … Was part of a squad that went 12-2 overall and 7-0 in district as a senior … Racked up 136 total tackles with 23 tackles for loss and eight sacks as a senior in 2014 … Made 111 total tackles, 17 tackles for loss and eight sacks with one interception as a junior in 2013 … Coached by Brad Peterson … Committed to Mississippi State in September 2014.
Nick Gibson, RB, 5-11, 197, Birmingham, Ala. (Pinson Valley HS)
Pegged a four-star back by 247Sports, ESPN.com and Rivals.com and a three-star prospect by Scout.com … Ranked the No. 3 running back in Alabama by Scout.com and the No. 12 prospect in the state of Alabama by 247Sports … Rivals.com has him as the No. 13 back in the country, the No. 7 prospect in Alabama and the No. 139 player in the country … Ability to break numerous tackles and extend drives wears down defenses … Was coached by Matt Glover at Pinson Valley … Received a scout grade of 90 from 247Sports and 80 from ESPN.com … Clocked a 40-yard dash time of 4.66 … Named to AL.com’s A-List of the state’s top football prospects in the class of 2015 … Amassed 165 yards rushing on 38 attempts and scored three touchdowns in a come-from-behind win in Oct. 2014 … As a junior rushed for 2,205 yards and 27 touchdowns with a chunk of those yards having come during one incredible 447-yard, six touchdown performance against Mortimer Jordan in September 2013 … Was the Class 5A running back of the year, as selected by the Alabama Sportswriters Association … Committed to Mississippi State in July 2014.
Farrod Green, TE, 6-3, 215, Wesson, Miss. (Wesson Attendance Center)
A tall, athletic receiving target converting to tight end for his college career … A three-star tight end according to ESPN, Scout, Rivals and 247Sports … Named to the 2014 247Sports All-State All-Prospect First-Team Offense … The fourth-ranked player at his position in the country according to Scout.com … As a senior, caught 25 passes for 409 yards and eight touchdowns for head coach Ronald Greer … Also averaged 29.6 yards on 11 kickoff returns and rushed for 51 yards on 16 carries … Added 22 tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery as a defender … Named to the American Family Insurance All-USA Mississippi Football Team after his senior season … A four-year standout on the basketball team, averaging more than eight points and seven rebounds per game over the past two seasons … Committed to Mississippi State in June 2014.
Justin Johnson, WR, 6-4, 224, Birmingham, Ala. (Hoover HS)
A three-star wideout by ESPN, Scout, Rivals and 247Sports … Rated the 50th-best receiver according to Rivals.com … Ranked the No. 1 receiver in the state of Alabama by Rivals.com, Scout.com and 247Sports … An AlabamaVarsity.com Preseason First-Team All-State selection … Member of the 2014 Hoover squad that won the 7A state championship game under head coach Josh Niblett … Caught 22 passes for 297 yards and two touchdowns as a senior despite battling through knee tendonitis … Racked up 617 receiving yards and six touchdowns as a junior … Caught three passes for 49 yards, including the game-winning touchdown, in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic at the end of his senior season … Committed to Mississippi State in July 2014.
Dontea Jones, WR, 6-4, 235, Louisville, Miss. (Louisville HS)
A three-star pass catcher by ESPN, Scout, Rivals and 247Sports … Rated the eight-best player and the 69th-best wide receiver in the state by Rivals.com … Ranked the 13th overall best player in the state according to Scout, as well as the 15th-best tight end nationally … A 2014 Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen honoree, the seventh from Louisville High School … Named to the 2014 247Sports All-State All-Prospect First-Team Offense … Was on the receiving end of 34 passes for 537 yards and three touchdowns before a separated shoulder ended his promising senior season … Tallied 43 catches for 774 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior in leading Louisville to an undefeated season and a 2013 Class 3A state championship under head coach M.C. Miller … Recorded 45 receptions for 714 yards and 14 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2012 … Committed to Mississippi State in February 2014.
Kendell Jones, DE, 6-4, 255, Pinson, Ala. (Clay-Chalkville HS)
A three-star pass rusher by ESPN, Scout, Rivals and 247Sports … An AlabamaVarsity.com Second-Team All-State selection … Rated the No. 13 player in the state of Alabama by Scout and a top-40 player at his position nationally … Finished senior season with 77 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and one fumble recovery in 2014 … Helped lead his team to an undefeated 2014 season and a Class 6A state championship under head coach Jerry Hood … Recorded seven tackles and two tackles for loss in the title game … Named to the Class 6A All-State Second-Team by the Alabama Sports Writers Association after his senior season … Also named to the American Family Insurance All-USA Alabama Football Team … Committed to Mississippi State in June 2014.
Keith Joseph Jr., LB, 6-4, 226, Pascagoula, Miss. (Pascagoula HS)
In-state defensive prospect who follows in his father’s footsteps to Mississippi State … His father, Keith Sr., played linebacker for the Bulldogs from 1989-92 … A three-star defensive end as rated by 247Sports, ESPN.com and Scout.com … Ranked the 13th-best prospect in Mississippi by 247Sports, No. 16 by ESPN.com and No. 19 by Scout.com … Racked up 70 tackles (46 solos), 14 tackles for loss, seven sacks, 10 quarterback hurries and also blocked a field goal as a senior in 2014 …Totaled 67 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and five sacks as a junior in 2013 … Played in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game … Committed to Mississippi State in June 2014 … Coached by Lewis Sims.
Traver Jung, LB, 6-4, 215, Greenville, Miss. (Holmes CC)
A four-star JUCO linebacker by ESPN.com … Rated three stars by ESPN, 247Sports and Rivals … Suited up for two years at Holmes Community College under head coach Jeff Koonz … Ranked the second-best junior college linebacker by ESPN.com and the 13th-best junior college player by 247Sports … Timed in the 40-yard dash with a 4.4 … Earned Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) First-Team All-State and All-Region honors in 2014 after recording 34 tackles, six pass deflections, three sacks, three tackles for loss, two interceptions and two blocked kicks … Also received MACJC First-Team All-State accolades as a freshman with 70 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and one forced fumble … Committed to Mississippi State in October 2014 … Burst onto the scene as a senior at Greenville Weston High School, tallying 85 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries and one interception in his second season playing football … A high school teammate of current Bulldog Gerri Green.
Leo Lewis, LB, 6-2, 231, Brookhaven, Miss. (Brookhaven HS)
The nation’s top inside linebacker recruit … Powerful, instinctive playmaker … A consensus four-star prospect ranked the No. 2 overall player in the state of Mississippi … Tabbed the nation’s No. 43 overall prospect by Rivals.com, No. 60 overall by ESPN.com and No. 63 by 247Sports … Member of the Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen and was a first-team All-American by USA Today … One of five finalists for the 2014 Dick Butkus Award, which goes to the nation’s top linebacker … As a senior, recorded 76 tackles (58 solo) and two tackles for loss … Also had a fumble recovery and one sack for an eight yard loss … Played in the Under Armour All-American game … Finished with 100 tackles, five sacks, seven quarterback hurries, four forced fumbles and an interception as a junior in 2013 … Coached by Tommy Clopton.
Mark McLaurin, DB, 6-2, 210, Collins, Miss. (Collins HS)
Solid defensive back awarded four starts by 247Sports … Played wide receiver and safety and is the No. 8 ranked player in Mississippi by 247Sports … Ranked No. 14 in the state by Scout.com and No. 26 by ESPN.com who also has him as a three-star recruit … A three-star prospect according to Rivals.com who is the No. 18 player in the state … Helped Collins to be crowned the 2014 Class 3A State Champions and a 14-2 record during his senior season … In 16 games played during his senior season, recorded 35 receptions for 665 yards and eight touchdowns as a receiver … As a safety in 2014, recorded 38 total tackles and five for loss … Also picked off seven passes, deflected four passes, recovered three fumbles and caused one … Played baseball, basketball and football in high school … Coached by Ryan Earnest … Committed to Mississippi State in July 2014.
Harrison Moon, OL, 6-4, 276, Chattanooga, Tenn. (Signal Mountain HS)
A three-star lineman by ESPN, Scout, Rivals and 247Sports who began his high school career as a tight end before switching to offensive tackle for his senior season under head coach Bill Price … Rated the 17th-best player in the state of Tennessee by ESPN.com, as well as the 67th-best tackle prospect … Ranked the fourth-best tackle in the state by Scout.com … Was a Dynamite Dozen selection by the Chattanooga Times Free Press prior to his senior season … Paved the way for ball carriers as Signal Mountain rushed for more than 3,450 yards during the 2014 season … Named a Tennessee Mr. Football Division I Class 2A finalist as a senior … Voted to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Class 4A all-state football team in 2014 … Named to the American Family Insurance All-USA Tennessee Football Team … Before moving to tackle, caught five passes for 100 yards as a junior … Was a member of an undefeated and state championship-winning team after being called up to the varsity squad as a middle-school player … Committed to Mississippi State in June 2014.
Keith Mixon, WR, 5-8, 175, Birmingham, Ala. (Shades Valley HS)
All-purpose back out of Birmingham, Ala. … Runs the 40-yard dash in 4.45 and is an all-purpose back with a three-star rating from 247Sports, Rivals.com, Scout.com and ESPN.com … ESPN.com has him as the No. 34 player in Alabama, while MaxPreps.com has him at No. 18 … Tallied 73 career touchdowns, including 66 over the last two seasons … Named to AL.com’s A-List of the state’s top football prospects in the class of 2015 … 2014 Birmingham News Metro Offensive MVP … Racked up 230 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns in the 2014 spring game with two touchdown runs over 60-yards … Amassed 2,822 all-purpose yards and 35 touchdowns during his junior season in 2013 … Metro Offensive Player of the Year in 2013, leading Shades Valley to a 10-2 record and into the second round of the Class 6A State Playoffs … Coached by William Smith … Committed to Mississippi State in July 2014.
T.D. Moton, DL, 6-3, 310, Shreveport, La. (Woodlawn HS)
One of the nation’s top 25 defensive tackles who hails from Shreveport, La. … A member of the ESPN300 (No. 228 overall) … Awarded four stars by Scout.com and ESPN.com and three stars by 247Sports.com and Rivals.com … Ranked No. 22 in the state of Louisiana by 247Sports, No. 25 by Scout.com and No. 10 ESPN.com … Committed to Mississippi State in January 2015 … Coached by Jerwin Wilson.
Anfernee Mullins, DL, 6-4, 245, Aliceville, Ala. (Aliceville HS)
Rated by ESPN.com, 247Sports.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com as a three-star recruit who is familiar with the weak side defensive end role … The No. 7 defensive lineman in Alabama according to Scout.com and the No. 31 recruit in the state for 247Sports … In 22 games in his junior and senior seasons, recorded 133 total tackles, 24 sacks, three fumble recoveries and a blocked field goal … Shined as a senior with 59 tackles, 27 tackles for loss and 15 sacks … Briefly played tight end … Recorded one catch for three yards and a touchdown in his junior season … Collected a 40-yard dash time of 4.75 … Coached by Charles Moody … Committed to Mississippi State in October 2014.
Alec Murphy, RB, 6-1, 225, Nixa, Mo. (Nixa HS)
Arguably, the top running back prospect in the state of Missouri … The first Division I prospect to come out of Nixa (Mo.) High School in 20 years … Consensus three-star back … Ranked the No. 9 overall player in the state of Missouri by 247Sports Composite, No. 6 by Rivals.com and Scout.com and No. 7 by ESPN.com … Notched 166 carries for 867 yards and 12 touchdowns in helping Nixa reach the Class 5 state title game as a senior … Rushed for 1,973 yards and scored 22 touchdowns as a junior in 2013 … Timed at 4.49 in the 40-yard dash … Committed to Mississippi State in July 2014 … Coached by Richard Rehagen.
Jamal Peters, DB, 6-2, 216, Bassfield, Miss. (Bassfield HS)
A blue-chip defensive back who is the No. 1 prospect in the state of Mississippi for 2015 … Talented safety rated four stars by ESPN, Scout, Rivals and 247Sports … Ranked the 40th overall player in the country by ESPN.com and the 57th overall by Scout.com … Ranked the top overall player in the state by ESPN.com and Scout.com and the second-best in the state by 247Sports … The top safety prospect in Mississippi according to all major recruiting services and the second-best safety in the country by ESPN.com … Selected to The Clarion-Ledger’s Dandy Dozen for 2014 … Named MaxPreps 2014 Mississippi Mr. Football … Named to the 2014 247Sports All-State All-Prospect First-Team Defense … Tallied 60 tackles, 13 pass deflections, five interceptions, 4.5 tackles for loss and one forced fumble as a senior for head coach Lance Mancuso … Also was an offensive standout, hauling in 28 passes for 581 yards and six touchdowns … Led his team to a third-straight Class 2A state championship … Rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown in the title game, while also booking five tackles and a half sack … Named to the Mississippi Association of Coaches Class 2A All-State Team, the American Family Insurance All-USA Mississippi Football Team, and the MaxPreps Small Schools All-American Football Team … Was chosen to participate in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic, where he totaled seven tackles and one tackle for loss … Selected to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl following his senior season … Recorded 72 tackles, five sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble return for a touchdown as a junior … Displayed his athleticism as a member of the basketball team, collecting MaxPreps Player of the Year honors after averaging 18.2 points and eight rebounds per game during his junior season … Committed to Mississippi State in July 2014.
Maurice Smitherman, DB, 5-9, 178, Adamsville, Ala. (Minor HS)
Rated a three-star recruit by ESPN.com, Rivals.com, Scout.com and 247Sports … 247Sports has him as the No. 13 prospect in Alabama and ESPN.com has him as the No. 47 corner in his class and No. 24 in the state … Scout.com has him as the No. 23 recruit in the state … Ran the 40-yard dash in 4.5 … Compiled 98 total tackles and 16.5 tackles for loss in 25 games over the past three seasons … Grabbed five interceptions for 80 return yards and 16 pass deflections, along with one field goal block … Also returned kickoffs and punts … Amassed 291 kick return yards on 11 attempts with a long of 99 with a touchdown … Returned eight punts for 180 yards … Coached by George Bates … Committed to Mississippi State in June 2014.
Jonnas Spivey, WR, 6-1, 181, Bay Springs, Miss. (Bay Springs HS)
A dynamic three-star athlete out of Bay Springs High School … Played on both sides of the ball and was quarterback at Bay Springs, which advanced to the second round of the 2014 Class 2A playoffs … Projects to play wide receiver on the next level … Ranked No. 22 in the state of Mississippi by 247Sports Composite, No. 23 by Rivals.com, No. 26 by Scout.com and No. 19 by ESPN.com … In 2014, completed 80-of-112 passes for 1,431 yards with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions, and 133 rushes for 1,002 yards and 13 touchdowns … Notched 17 tackles (five solos) and eight interceptions (three returned for a touchdowns) as a senior … Coached by Dan Brady … Committed to Mississippi State in July 2014.
Chris Stamps, DB, 6-1, 170, Vicksburg, Miss. (Warren Central HS)
Standout four-star rated defensive back by 247Sports and a three-star by ESPN.com, Scout.com and Rivals.com … Ranked the No. 10 player in the state of Mississippi by Scout.com, No. 11 by 247Sports and No. 14 by Rivals.com … Has a 40-yard dash time of 4.48 … Played corner and wide receiver in high school … Coached by Josh Morgan at Warren Central … In four seasons at receiver, accumulated 902 receiving yards on 65 receptions to go with eight touchdowns … Also returned punts and kickoffs … Recorded 112 tackles and two for loss in 36 games on the defensive side of the ball … Over his career, intercepted 13 passes and returned them for a total of 123 yards … Deflected 21 passes, recorded two fumbles and blocked one field goal his final three seasons … Committed to Mississippi State in February 2014.
Nick Tiano, QB, 6-5, 230, Chattanooga, Tenn. (Baylor School)
The top quarterback recruit in the state of Tennessee for the Class of 2015 … Consensus three-star athlete with great size … Ranked the No. 22 overall prospect in Tennessee by ESPN.com, No. 20 by Rivals.com, No. 26 by 247 Sports Composite and No. 28 by Scout.com … Prepped at Baylor School, which advanced to the third round of the 2014 Class 2A playoffs … As a senior in 2014, completed 137-of-224 passes for 2,096 yards with 16 touchdowns and three interceptions, and had 136 rushes for 723 yards and eight touchdowns … Accounted for 239 of Baylor’s 318 offensive yards in a 2014 playoff opening round win, including 121 rushing yards … Coached by Phil Massey … Committed to Mississippi State in June 2014.
Tim Washington, LB, 6-3, 183, Yazoo City, Miss. (Yazoo City HS)
Athletic four-star linebacker who comes from a program that producer former MSU standout and current NFL star lineman Fletcher Cox … Member of the ESPN300 (No. 297) … Tabbed No. 6 in the state of Mississippi by ESPN.com, No. 9 in 247Sports composite, No. 9 by Scout.com and No. 11 by Rivals.com … Considered one of the top 20 outside linebacker prospects in the nation by ESPN.com … Named to the Clarion-Ledger’s Dandy Dozen … Recorded 50 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and six sacks as a senior in 2014 … Accounted for 67 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks while blocking three punts as a junior in 2013 … Committed to Mississippi State in November 2013 following the MSU-Alabama game … Coached by Houston Ealy … Also plays basketball.
Darryl Williams, OL, 6-3, 304, Bessemer, Ala. (Bessemer City HS)
Versatile offensive lineman from the state of Alabama … Played all five positions on the line during his career at Bessemer City … One of several MSU players ranked in the ESPN300 (No. 245) … A four-star prospect ranked the 10th-highest in the state of Alabama by ESPN.com … Considered the 13th-best prospect in the state of Alabama by 247Sports, No. 14 by Scout.com and No. 21 by Rivals.com … Played in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic in December 2014 … Coached by Martez Edwards … Committed to Mississippi State in October 2014.
2015 Mississippi State Football Early Enrollee Bios (Count toward 2014 Signing Class)
Johnathan Calvin, DL, 6-4, 250, Jackson, Miss. (Copiah-Lincoln CC)
A three-star defensive end by ESPN, Scout, Rivals and 247Sports who officially enrolled early at MSU in January 2015 and will participate in spring practice … Suited up at defensive end for two years at Copiah-Lincoln Community College for head coach Glenn Davis … Was ranked the fifth-best junior college defensive end in the country by Rivals.com and the 48th-overall junior college player by 247Sports … Rated a three-star defensive end by ESPN, Scout, Rivals and 247Sports … Finished the 2014 season with 46 tackles, 5.5 sacks, six tackles for loss and two forced fumbles in helping the Wolves earn an appearance in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) Championship Game … Tallied 29 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and one interception en route to becoming a MACJC First-Team All-Conference honoree as a freshman in 2013 … Committed to Mississippi State in July 2014 … Transferred from Provine High School to Murrah High School for his last two years as a prep athlete … As a senior, totaled 47 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, two interceptions and one sack … Finished with 58 tackles, six tackles for loss and two sacks as a junior in his first season playing football … Began his high school sports career as a basketball player at Provine … A Murrah teammate of fellow Bulldog commit Malik Dear.
Malik Dear, WR, 5-9, 226, Jackson, Miss. (Murrah HS)
Versatile and extremely quick playmaker who can play multiple positions … A consensus four-star athlete by every major recruiting website … Ranked in the ESPN300 of 2015 (No. 206) … An early signee for MSU who enrolled in January 2015 and will participate in spring practice … Played wide receiver, quarterback and running back … Ranked the No. 5 player in the state by 247Sports and the No. 4 player by ESPN.com and Rivals.com … Timed in the 40-yard dash with a 4.4 … The top all-purpose athlete in the state by Scout.com and the No. 6 overall player … Finished his high school career with 3,298 rushing yards and 2,410 receiving yards … Racked up 84 total touchdowns in four seasons (56 rushing, 26 receiving, two special teams) … As a senior, tallied 322 yards rushing on 37 carries with 12 rushing touchdowns … Added 165 yards receiving and seven scores through the air … Displayed his explosive and big play capability by averaging 11.1 yards per carry and 19.0 yards per reception for his career … Member of the Clarion-Ledger’s Dandy Dozen … Selected to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl following his senior season … As a junior, totaled 1,893 yards and 26 total touchdowns in 2013 … Coached by Zackare Grady … Committed to Mississippi State in June 2014.
Donald Gray, WR, 5-9, 185, Memphis, Tenn. (Copiah-Lincoln CC)
One of the nation’s most coveted junior college skill players … An early signee for MSU who enrolled in January 2015 and will participate in spring practice … Ranked the No. 2 player in Tennessee by 247Sports coming out of high school and the No. 6 junior college prospect by ESPN.com … Played the wide receiver and safety positions at White Station HS, but shifted solely to wide receiver at Copiah-Lincoln … Named a 2014 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-American after having recorded 55 catches for 989 yards (eighth best in the nation) last season … Reeled in 10 touchdowns and averaged 90 yards receiving per game in his only season at Copiah-Lincoln … Also shined as a punt returner in 2014 with three touchdowns and 419 yards gained on 20 returns … Finished as the team leader with 1,403 all-purpose yards … Named NJCAA Region 23 Most Valuable Player, All-Region, First Team All-State as a wide receiver, Second Team All-State as a punt returner, and Mississippi Association of Community & Junior Colleges (MACJC) Most Valuable Back … Twice named state player of the week and twice named national player of the week … Missed the 2013 season due to a preseason ankle injury … Attended White Station High School in Memphis … Coached in junior college by Glenn Davis … Committed to Mississippi State in July 2013.
Martinas Rankin, OL, 6-5, 300, Mendenhall, Miss. (Mississippi Gulf Coast CC)
The top junior college offensive lineman in America for the Class of 2015 … Could make an immediate impact at tackle with his size and experience … Signed with Mississippi State in December 2014 and enrolled for the spring 2015 semester … Will go through spring drills with the Bulldogs … Comes to MSU after playing for Mississippi Gulf Coast where he was coached by Chad Huff … Received four stars by 247Sports and ESPN.com and three stars by Rivals … Tabbed the No. 1 JUCO offensive tackle by 247Sports and the No. 5 JUCO player regardless of position … The No. 9 overall JUCO player by Scout.com … Named first-team all-region and All MACJC in 2014 … Recipient of the 2014 MACJC Most Valuable Lineman award … Prepped at Mendenhall High School.
Michael Story, OL, 6-4, 290, Ripley, Miss. (Ripley HS)
A three-star offensive tackle with a big frame … An early signee for MSU who enrolled in January 2015 and will participate in spring practice … Was coached by Chad Cook at Ripley … Ranked the No. 25 prospect in the state of Mississippi by Scout.com … A three-year starter for Ripley, helping them average 400 yards per game and win 24 games with three playoff appearances … Helped his side finish second place in Class 4A Region 2 and to a first round playoff victory … Played left guard as a sophomore and junior before moving to tackle.
Deddrick Thomas, WR, 5-9, 170, Memphis, Tenn. (Memphis Central HS)
Solid slot receiver prospect who signed with the Bulldogs in December 2014 … Enrolled at Mississippi State in January 2015 and will participate in spring drills … Ranked the No. 15 overall prospect in Tennessee by 247Sports, ESPN.com and Rivals.com … The No. 2 wide receiver in the state by Scout.com … Received three stars by 247Sports, Rivals.com, ESPN.com and Scout.com … A two-time Class 6A all-state recipient … As a junior, played multiple positions and rushed for 1,175 yards and scored 22 touchdowns at running back while throwing for 613 yards and nine more scores for the Warriors … Led Memphis Central to the Class 6A Quarterfinals in 2013 … Nicknamed “Sweet Feet” at Memphis Central … Coached by Leonard Crutchfield … Committed to Mississippi State in April 2014.