February 6, 2013 7:07:22 AM
STARKVILLE - Welcome to The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog center for National Signing Day coverage.
It is our intent to update you, the loyal reader, with this post often with news as soon as Mississippi State University athletics administration announces they've received the faxed National Letter-of-Intent up until the final signee. We'll have the time of signing along with important information like height, weight, hometown and recruiting service rankings. So please folks bookmark this page all day long for MSU recruiting news.
- 7 a.m. UPDATE: Mississippi State University head coach Dan Mullen (http://twitter.com/coachdanmullen) and and MSU football spokesperson Joe Galbraith (http://twitter.com/joestate) are again their Twitter pages to announce the signings as the athletic department gets the faxed National Letters-of-Intent.
Here's who the Bulldogs currently have in the fold thanks to two high school products and two junior college players graduating early from their respected schools in order to be eligible for spring drills:
NAME POS. HT. WT. HOMETOWN (LAST SCHOOL)
JUSTIN COX, S, 6-3, 190, WEST POINT, MISS. (EAST MISSISSIPPI CC)
JUNIOR COLLEGE: Speedy defensive back that can help the Bulldogs at either cornerback or safety at the next level ... Rated a four-star recruit by ESPN.com, Scout.com and 247Sports.com ... Considered the second-best safety prospect in the country by 247Sports.com, while earning the 33rd spot regardless of position in the country ... Played last two seasons for EMCC and head coach Buddy Stephens ... Compiled 11 interceptions in his two season as a Lion with 19 pass breakups ... Was second on the team in tackles with 119 adding seven tackles behind the line of scrimmage ... Along with a 2011 national championship ring, Cox also garnered several individual honors ... Named to the 2012 NJCAA Region 23 First-Team as a defensive back ... Enrolled in MSU in January 2013 ... Committed to Mississippi State in December 2012 over offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Nebraska, Tennessee and a host of others.
HIGH SCHOOL: Signed with Mississippi State with only three other FBS offers ... Rated a three-star recruit by Scout.com and the 95th-best cornerback in the country by the same publication ... Named First-Team All-State by the Clarion Ledger... Named Class 5A, First-Team All-State by the Mississippi Association of Coaches ... Named All-Area by the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal ... Won two-straight state championships for the West Point Green Wave, playing both offense and defense while also standing out on special teams ... Rushed for 1,136 yards and 19 touchdowns during his senior season ... Chosen to play in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Classic and Mobile where he started the ballgame at corner... Was named one of three finalists for Mississippi's Mr. Football.
JEREMEY CHAPPELLE, WR, 6-2, 212, TYLER, TEXAS (TYLER JC)
Junior College: Led Coach Danny Parker and the Apaches, as well as the Southwest Junior College Football Conference, with 60 receptions for 801 yards and 10 touchdowns despite missing action in two game due to injury ... Named first-team all-conference in the SWJCFC ... Played his freshman year for Stephen F. Austin State University hauling in 17 passes for 175 yards ... Enrolled at MSU in January 2013 ... Rated a four-star recruit by ESPN.com and awarded three stars by Scout.com, 247Sports.com and Rivals.com ... Chose Mississippi State in December 2012 over offers from Houston, Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss, West Virginia and others.
HIGH SCHOOL: Decorated high school player in the rich Texas football ranks... Named the 2009 TAPPS 2-III Co-MVP ... Led Brook Hill High School to the TAPPS Division III state championship game, pulling in seven balls for 65 yards ... Led the team to the state title game with a five catch 143-yard ball game in the semifinals, pulling in two touchdowns one for 99 yards.
KIVON COMAN, DB, 6-1, 195, SHEFFIELD, ALA. (HARGRAVE MILITARY ACA.)
HIGH SCHOOL: Tabbed as the top post-grad safety in the country by 247Sports while being the 29th rated prep player, regardless of position, in the country ...Spent past season at prestigious Hargrave Military Academy in post-graduate school after graduating from Florence High School in Florence, Ala ... During post-graduate season, recorded 57 total tackles, a tackle for loss, a forced and recovered fumble and tied for the team lead with three interceptions ... First signed with the Bulldogs on February 1, 2012 ... Recorded 62 tackles, six pass deflections, six forced fumbles, four interceptions and three fumble recoveries during his senior season at Florence ... Selected to the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Classic as one of the top players in the state of Alabama, and started at cornerback ... Was tabbed as a top recruit in the state of Alabama in the Alabama Sports Writers Association's Elite 18 football prospects ... Named Second-Team All-State by Scout.com.
ARTIMUS SAMUEL, TE, 6-2, 227, C0LUMBUS, GA. (HARGRAVE MILITARY ACA.)
HIGH SCHOOL: Rated a three-star recruit by ESPN.com, Scout.com and Rivals.com ... Tabbed as the No. 51 rated prep star in the country by 247Sports.com, while earning a No. 29 ranking in the state of Virginia regardless of position and the third ranked tight end in the country ... Spent 2012 season with prestigious Hargrave Military Academy following a solid high school career at Carver High School in Georgia ... Caught eight passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns in his one year for Hargrave and coach Troy Davis ... Helped lead Carver High School to a 12-2 record and a trip to the Class 2A Semifinals during his senior year ... Accumulated 356 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns during his junior campaign ... Committed to the Bulldogs, for a second time, in August 2012 and enrolled in classes in January 2013.
- 8 a.m. UPDATE: The faxes of signees for Mississippi State are beginning to roll in to the Leo Seal Football Complex. NOTE: MSU coach Dan Mullen will speak in a media conference from the football complex at 2 p.m.
CORD SANDBERG, QB, 6-3, 200, BRADENTON, FL (MANATEE HIGH SCHOOL)
HIGH SCHOOL: Rated a four-star recruit by ESPN.com, Scout.com and Rivals.com ... Tabbed as the No. 51 rated prep player in the state of Florida regardless of position and the No. 14 dual-threat quarterback in the country...In the mold of a former Mullen protégé Tim Tebow, the Bradenton, Fla., prospect is a two-sport star in high school, but according to multiple reports Sandberg passed for 2,476 yards and 35 touchdowns while rushing for another 687 yards and 10 scores in 2012 as a season at Manatee High...Sandberg held 17 scholarship offers from such power programs as Auburn University, University of Arizona, Clemson University, University of Illinois, Louisiana State University, University of Mississippi and the University of West Virginia....Scouting services have Sandberg projected to be picked in the first three rounds of the 2013 MLB Draft in June - less than two months before he would be required to arrive for football practice with the MSU football team...."When I told him I wanted to be a Bulldog (Dan Mullen) said he was jumping up and down," Sandberg said. "It is a great feeling."
DEZMOND HARRIS, ATH, 6-3, 220, MCCALLA, AL (MCADORY HIGH SCHOOL)
HIGH SCHOOL: Was the 12th verbal commitment to its 2013 football recruiting class on July 21...Was a Honorable Mention selection to All-West team by The Birmingham News after leading McAdory High School to a 6-3 record last season. Harris, who is 6-foot-3 and 207 pounds, has been timed in the 40-yard dash at 4.55 seconds and had a 10-of-12 passing effort for 259 yards and two touchdowns in 54-19 win over John Carroll High School last season. Harris finished his final season of high school action as McAdory's quarterback but is expected to be a linebacker or safety at the college level....Harris only other scholarship offer was from Middle Tennessee State University
"I am just relieved to be a Bulldog," Harris told Bulldawg Junction.com Saturday morning. "I am very happy and so was my family. The coaches welcomed me to the family and were very happy I wanted to be a Bulldog."
TOLANDO CLEVELAND, CB, 6-0, 170, POWDER SPRINGS, GA (HILLGROVE HIGH SCHOOL)
HIGH SCHOOL: Rated a three-star recruit by ESPN.com, Scout.com, Rivals.com and 247Sports.com...Committed to the MSU program on Jan. 31 a day before his official visit on the Starkville campus...Had 81 tackles and four interceptions for Hillgrove High School in the 2011 season...Before committing to MSU, Cleveland was a verbal commitment of Georgia Tech University...was one of the top cornerback standouts last summer at one of MSU's camp sessions....
"I just realized some things and prayed about it and slept on things last night," Cleveland told 247Sports.com. "I woke up this morning and I had a change of heart. (Georgia Tech assistant) Coach Charles Kelly left their staff and he was a big factor in my decision. So I've been thinking about things and called Coach Mullen this morning. I told him I wanted to commit and he said he was glad I was on board."
JAKE THOMAS, OT, 6-5, 300, COLUMBUS, MS (COLUMBUS HIGH SCHOOL)
HIGH SCHOOL: Started at tight end as a freshman in 2009 before starting at left tackle for the rest of his high school career with the Falcons....Was rated as the No. 5 prospect in the state of Mississippi for 2013...Rated the No. 22 offensive tackle in the nation by 247Sports.com...Was invited to U.S. Army All-American underclassmen combine in San Antonio in Jan. of 2012...Was selected to participate in the 2012 Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic....Had already been on the MSU campus repeatedly before verbally committing on Aug. 15 after taking an unofficial visit in March and attending the MSU Big Dawg camp each of the last two seasons...chose MSU over a competing offer from the University of Southern Mississippi but the offensive tackle had also received interest from the University of Alabama and Stanford University as well.
"When I see Jake put on those knee braces and go out there to play, I see a lineman that looks like one of those Nebraska lineman from back in the 1980s," Columbus High coach Tony Stanford said. "He looks like somebody the University of Wisconsin would put on the field right now and just plow the road."
8:30 a.m. - UPDATE:
BRANDON WELLS, ATH, 6-2, 175, BOGUE CHITTO, MS (BOGUE CHITTO SCHOOL)
HIGH SCHOOL: Rated a three-star recruit by ESPN.com, Scout.com, Rivals.com and 247Sports.com...Was selected for the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game...Had 1,226 yards rushing with nine touchdowns and 164 yards receiving with two touchdowns while starting at quarterback the past two years for Bogue Chitto...May be asked to play defensive back at the Division 1 college level...Received interest from University of Louisiana and Ole Miss but MSU was his only scholarship offer
B.J. HAMMOND, WR, 6-4, 210, GADSDEN, AL (GADSDEN CITY HIGH SCHOOL)
HIGH SCHOOL: Rated a three-star recruit by ESPN.com, Scout.com, Rivals.com and 247Sports.com...Was selected for the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game...Had 306 yards receiving on 13 catches with three touchdowns in his senior season at Gadsden City High...Chose MSU over scholarship offers to Auburn, LSU, Middle Tennessee State and Arkansas State...
"I went home and everybody said to me 'oh man, you picked them over your in-state schools and going on about this traitor stuff'," Hammond said on July 20 after working out at the Big Dawg Camp in Starkville. "It's more than about picking a school. It's about family and are the people there committed to you?"
SHELBY CHRISTY, WR, 6-3, 190, GEISMAR, LA (DUTCHTOWN HIGH SCHOOL)
HIGH SCHOOL: Rated a three-star recruit by ESPN.com, Scout.com, Rivals.com and 247Sports.com...Was rated the 24th ranked player in the state of Louisiana and 80th best wide receiver according to 247Sports.com...Chose MSU over Nebraska, Cincinnati, Colorado and Georgia Tech...Had 643 yards receiving on 38 catches with five touchdowns in his senior season at Dutchtown High School...becames the 14th verbal commitment of the 2013 recruiting class two weeks after attending the MSU Big Dawg Camp this summer...
"If you look at the class we have coming in, we have a chance to be one of the top wide receiver classes in the country," Christy said. "We are all big and strong and can run. It's going to be exciting. "The reason i picked MSU was the coaching. Coach Mullen and Coach Mirando are both very good coaches and mad me fee wanted. I have been to Mississippi State twice and I have felt at home both times. I love it there."
KENT FLOWERS, OL, 6-4, 295, HOLLANDALE, MS, (SIMMONS HIGH SCHOOL)
HIGH SCHOOL: Rated a three-star recruit by ESPN.com, Scout.com, Rivals.com and 247Sports.com...Was rated the No. 8 recruit in the state of Mississippi and No. 46 offensive lineman prospect in the country according to 247Sports.com...Chose MSU over a scholarship offer from Ole Miss while receiving interest from Louisiana Tech and Southern Miss as well...Selected to participate in the 2012 Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic...Flowers attended Mississippi State's individual camp where he decided to turn his scholarship offer into a commitment immediately...As a junior, Flowers helped Hollandale-Simmons to an 8-5 record and a trip to the Class 2A playoffs.
"I feel like the (MSU) coaches are good coaches," Flowers said. "(MSU) offensive line coach John) Hevesy is a good coach and I feel like he's going to teach me everything that I need to learn to be a great football player. I know Ole Miss offered but I don't want to go to Ole Miss. I want to go to Mississippi State. I feel like I'm at home here so this is the school I'm choosing to come to."
DAMIAN WILLIAMS, QB, 6-1, 215, METAIRIE, LA, (ARCHBISHOP RUMMEL HIGH SCHOOL)
HIGH SCHOOL: Rated a three-star recruit by ESPN.com, Scout.com, Rivals.com and 247Sports.com...Was rated the No. 43 recruit in the state of Louisiana and No. 29 dual-threat quarterback prospect in the country according to 247Sports.com...Chose MSU on Jan. 27 after committing to Southern Miss just 11 days prior...Also held scholarship offers from Kansas State, Nebraska, Memphis, Tulane and Louisiana-Lafayette... He passed for 1,900 yards and 18 touchdowns while rushing for another 874 yards and 10 scores in 2012 as a season at Archbishop Rummel High School.
"I told the coaches before I left that I was committing," Williams told 247Sports.com. "Then I went home and called and told the Southern Miss coaches. I wanted to tell them before I went public with it. I just had a great feeling on campus this weekend and I just knew where I wanted to be."
9 a.m. UPDATE - GABE MYLES, CB, 6-0, 183, STARKVILLE, MS, (STARKVILLE HIGH SCHOOL)
HIGH SCHOOL: Rated a three-star recruit by ESPN.com, Scout.com, Rivals.com and 247Sports.com...Was rated the No. 7 recruit in the state of Mississippi and No. 40 defensive back prospect in the country...Myles accounted for 1,711 yards and 25 touchdowns leading Starkville to a state championship as a senior...Myles verbally committed to the Bulldogs program on June 11 after attending the MSU Big Dawg camp at Davis Wade Stadium...Accounted for 2.686 total yards at quarterback of the Yellowjackets program that make it to the Class 5A state championship games last year and was selected by The Dispatch as Large School Player of the Year...6-foot-1, 170-pound signal caller, who will likely be moved to a
defensive secondary position at MSU...Myles was part of the 4x200 relay, with Terrance McCarter, Scottie Pittman, and QuVarious Robertson, which placed second in the North State meet this spring with a time of 1:29.63...
"I knew where I wanted to go so there was no need to prolong anything and just make my decision to be a Bulldog," Myles said. "It felt good. It has been my dream to play at Mississippi State so it felt good to go ahead and commit and say I want to be a Bulldog."
"He always wanted to go to Mississippi State and everybody knew that," Starkville coach Jamie Mitchell said. "He's going to be the best student-athlete they have. There's just no negative with that young man."
JAMAL CLAYBORN, CB, 6-3, 315, FLOWOOD, MS, (JACKSON ACADEMY)
HIGH SCHOOL: Rated a three-star recruit by ESPN.com, Scout.com, Rivals.com and 247Sports.com...Was rated the No. 21 recruit in the state of Mississippi and No. 66 offensive guard prospect in the country...The 315-pound offensive guard prospect made his decision on a
Jackson-area sports radio show as he picked MSU over the University of Southern Mississippi while receiving interest from Alabama and LSU...Clayborn was a participant at MSU's Big Dawg Camp in June and reportedly had been given a scholarship offer by the Bulldogs coaching staff as far back as April....
"It came down to Mississippi State and Southern Miss, " Clayborn told local radio. "It was an honor to talk to guys like Coach Saban and Coach Miles, but I felt like I needed to help my home state. I picked Mississippi State because I feel like (MSU offensive line coach John) Hevesy can turn me into an NFL lineman."
9:15 a.m. UPDATE - ASHTON SHUMPERT, RB, 6-2, 212, TUPELO, MS, (TUPELO HIGH SCHOOL)
HIGH SCHOOL: Rated a four-star recruit by ESPN.com, Scout.com, Rivals.com and 247Sports.com...Was rated the No. 4 recruit in the state of Mississippi...Shumpert likely to first get a shot to be on the MSU depth chart at running back since LaDarius Perkins only has one year of eligibility left and sophomore Nick Griffin suffered his
second anterior cruciate tear since arriving on the Starkville campus....Rushed for 1,796 yards and 25 touchdowns while averaging 11.5 yards per carry as a senior in 2012....Missed the first three games of the 2012 campaign due to injury and is coming off a junior season in which he suffered a serious knee injury but proved with his production that he's 100 percent recovered. The transfer from Tupelo High School earned Gatorade Player of the Year honors for the state of Mississippi...Added four touchdowns receiving, on kick returns and on defense....Chose MSU over scholarship offers to University of Mississippi, University of Alabama, University of Georgia and Vanderbilt University.
"I think (Shumpert) was the top priority for this staff's recruiting class and there's no doubt that it's possible this tailback depth at MSU could've gotten real thin without him," MSU's 247Sports.com reporter Paul Jones said. "This is a major get for MSU not only because of his talent but because of need as well and people don't realize this enough."
- The MSU recruiting class is rated in the Top 25 overall by Scout.com (No. 17), 247Sports.com (No. 23), Rivals.com (No. 23) and ESPN.com (No. 25).
DONALD GRAY, ATH, 5-9, 180, MEMPHIS, TENN. (WHITE STATION HIGH SCHOOL)
HIGH SCHOOL: Rated a four-star recruit by 247Sports.com, a three-star prospect by Scout.com and Rivals.com and a two-star prospect by ESPN.com...Was rated the No. 7 recruit in the state of Tennessee by 247Sports.com...Had 48 catches for 1,023 yards and 15 touchdowns for White Station High School but most recruiting analysts still have him listed as an "athlete" to allow for a college switch to defensive back....Committed to MSU on Jan. 11 after also receiving scholarship offers from Arkansas, Cincinnati, Illinois and Kentucky...Took his official visit to the Starkville campus on Feb. 1.
9:30 UPDATE - AND THEN THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT FOR MSU.....
CHRIS JONES , DE, 6-5, 250, HOUSTON, MS (HOUSTON HIGH SCHOOL)
HIGH SCHOOL: Rated a five-star recruit by ESPN.com, Scout.com, Rivals.com and 247Sports.com...Was rated the top recruit in the state of Mississippi and the No. 2 defensive end prospect in the nation...Has gone from a relatively raw three-star prospect early last fall to a five-star superstar rated as a high as No. 2 overall in the country according to 247Sports.com...Totaled 160 tackles, 46 tackles for loss and 14 sacks as a senior at Class 4A Houston High School....Jones was spotted at Humphrey Coliseum for the Bulldogs men's basketball 69-68 loss against Louisiana State University where the home student section chanted on three different occasions "we want Chris Jones" as the basketball was in play...Gave his verbal commitment to MSU on June 11 but arose the interest of both the Southeastern Conference schools in Mississippi
after he decided to take official visits to both schools last month leading fans to question if he'll flip to signing with the Rebels program....Jones joined his Houston High School teammates during MSU's 7-on-7 tournament this summer where he displayed his athleticism working as a tight end...Mississippi State was the only school to offer him a scholarship until after his senior year, which he followed up with strong showings at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic and the Under Armour All-American Game.
"I like the coaching staff and the d-line," Jones said. "I like all the stuff they do with the d-line to make them better and make themselves into men."
9:40 a.m. UPDATE - DE'RUNNYA WILSON, WR, 6-4, 212, BIRMINGHAM, AL (WENONAH HIGH SCHOOL)
HIGH SCHOOL: Rated a three-star recruit by ESPN.com, Scout.com, Rivals.com and 247Sports.com...Was rated the 19th best prospect in the state of Alabama and No. 80 wide receiver in the nation...Interesting angle of Wilson is he is apparently insistent on playing both football and basketball at the next level after having so much success on the hardwood the past two seasons...Despite being the target on very few throws per game due to the high school's run-heavy attack, Wilson had 23 catches for 482 yards and seven touchdowns this past season for the Dragons...reportedly held scholarship offers in basketball from Samford University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Murray State University, University of South Alabama, Alabama A&M University and the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga....Chose MSU football over scholarship offers to Auburn, Colorado State, Louisville and Tennessee...He was the 2012 Alabama Mr. Basketball runner-up to current MSU guard Craig Sword out of Montgomery Carver High School after averaging 16 points and 13 rebounds last season. He currently putting up 20 points and 15 rebounds this season in his senior season as captain of the Wenonah program.
"I know he felt more comfortable with that guy [Tim Brewster] than with anybody else he'd talked to during the whole process," Wenonah boys basketball coach Cedric Lane said.
"With MSU losing so much on the receiver side and needing help as soon as possible on the basketball side, it was a perfect fit."
- 10:45 a.m. UPDTATE - FRED ROSS, WR, 6-2, 185, TYLER, TEXAS (TYLER HIGH SCHOOL)
HIGH SCHOOL: Rated a four-star recruit by ESPN.com, Scout.com, Rivals.com and 247Sports.com...Was rated the No. 50 recruit in the state of Texas and the No. 45 wide receiver prospect in the nation...He caught 86 passes for 1,594 yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior and also rushed for 165 yards and three touchdowns...The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Ross should compete for immediate playing time at MSU with the Bulldogs losing four senior starters at receiver...Two of Ross' cousins live in Starkville, including MSU women's basketball assistant coach Aqua Franklin...Ross committed to Oklahoma State University in February but flipped to MSU as late as Tuesday so he'll open up the 2013 season in his home state (Houston) against the team he flipped on (Oklahoma State) on Aug. 31...was named a Parade All-America selection...Had scholarship offers to Baylor, Missouri and Memphis as well.
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5. A Stone's Throw: The veil COLUMNS