December 20, 2017 6:45:43 AM
Signees are in and here we go.
3-star wide receiver out of Starkville High School. 6'4", 215. No. 27 player in the state of Mississippi.
Senior year stats: 31 catches, 455 yards, nine touchdowns.
Notes: He took on a new coaching staff in his senior year that quite literally runs a RPO on almost every single play, so he should feel right at home in a Joe Moorhead offense that operates in a similar fashion. Also, color me intrigued that MSU has him listed as a tight end, given he definitely did not play that in high school and was not rated as such by the services. Is MSU planning on bulking him up and moving him in from wide receiver?
3-star running back out of Beauregard High School in Opelika, Alabama. 5'8", 195. No. 29 player in the state of Alabama, No. 45 running back in the country.
Senior year stats: 164 carries for 1,740 yards (10.61 yards per carry), 23 touchdowns; 10 catches for 193 yards and two touchdowns. One kick return touchdown.
Notes: Ran out of a spread in high school that did a lot with outside runs, and I was impressed by his ability to go hit teams hard in transitioning from running horizontally behind the line of scrimmage to getting vertical and gaining yards.
3-star tight end out of East Central High School in Kiln. 6'5", 237. No. 26 player in the state of Mississippi.
Senior year stats: 36 catches for 784 yards and nine touchdowns.
Notes: Joe Moorhead is going to love this guy -- he's a jumpball guy through and through. East Central ran a pretty hardcore I-formation offense and when they through the ball, it's pretty clear their only objective was to get Cumbest downfield and let him go pick it from the sky. When a deep ball coach like Moorhead gets his hands on Cumbest, I'd imagine he'll be given a few opportunities to do the same -- and he comes with plenty of blocking experience.
4-star defensive out of Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg. 6'5", 240. No. 3 player in the state of Mississippi, No. 20 weakside defensive end in the nation.
Senior year stats: 28.5 tackles for a loss, 14.5 sacks and one forced fumble as one of the team's leading tacklers.
Notes: He might have to put one some weight to be a big part of the Bob Shoop defense and its usual 4 down linemen setup, but he does seem to have the skills required to be a part of that. (Unless the new staff wants to try him at outside backer, which I guess is possible, but I'm not sure that would be my first move.)
3-star athlete out of West Point High School. 6'1", 197. No. 4 player in the state of Mississippi, No. 19 athlete in the nation.
Senior year stats: 195 carries for 1,856 yards and 31 touchdowns. Also threw for 1,058 yards and nine touchdowns.
Notes: If he's put at running back, the man will certainly not be afraid to run between the tackles or behind pulling guards, as he basically did nothing but that in the West Point offense. The word around the program and in recruiting circles is that the Mullen staff was going to try him out at safety, which I was never sure of as a great fit for him, and I wouldn't be surprised one bit if Joe Moorhead saw this kid and couldn't help himself in giving him a shot at running back. Time will tell on where he ends up playing, but I feel confident he's going to see a lot of the field before his career is over.
4-star wide receiver out of Callaway HS in Jackson. 6'3", 205. No. 1 player in the state, No. 34 wide receiver in the nation.
Senior year stats: 21 catches for 456 yards and seven touchdowns.
3-star offensive lineman out of Greenwood High School. 6'7", 361. No. 10 player in the state of Mississippi and No. 43 offensive tackle in the nation.
Under Armour All-American.
4-star wide receiver out of Hinds Community College (played for Livonia High School in Louisiana). 6'4", 190. No. 1 JUCO wide receiver, No. 2 JUCO player in the state.
Sophomore season of JUCO stats: 22 catches for 335 yards and three touchdowns.
Notes: I saw him against EMCC in Scooba and he was flat-out awesome. He showed a lot of poise going into the middle of the field in a variety of ways and was sure-handed when I saw him, too. There's a lot of hype around this guy and even though I've only seen one game, I can see why.
3-star defensive lineman out of Whitehaven High School in Memphis. 6'6", 260. No. 36 player in the state of Tennessee.
Notes: The biggest question with him is where incoming defensive coordinator Bob Shoop decides to put him. Whitehaven used him in almost every line-of-scrimmage way imaginable, from inside tackle to defensive to standup outside backer rusher. With his build, it seems like ending up in the interior is unlikely unless he puts on a significant amount of weight.
3-star safety out of St. James High School in St. James, Louisiana. 6'0", 191. No. 38 player in the state of Louisiana.
Gained national recognition this season with a one-handed catch that made ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown: went up perfectly vertical, grabbed a ball with his right hand and right hand only, came down with it, turned around and outran a couple of defenders to the end zone.
DEVONTA "WHOP" JASON
4-star wide receiver out of Landry-Walker High School in New Orleans. 6'2", 211. No. 5 player in the state of Louisiana, No. 30 wide receiver in the nation.
Notes: If you remember what the Dana Holgorsen offense was before he developed a governer chip and decided to start running the ball a little bit, that's what the Landry-Walker offense is. Sure, that well-known love of throwing the ball inspires some tough coverages and forces wide receiver into some tough spots sometimes, but that's where they trust their wide receivers to make a play on the ball, and Whop does that well in just about all situations.
3-star quarterback out of Sachse High School in Sachse, Texas. 6'2", 210. No. 17 dual-threat quarterback in the nation, No. 46 player in Texas.
Senior year stats: 139-227, 2,170 yards, 27 TDs, 2 INTs; 114 carries for 784 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Notes: Lefty alert! Also, I think he will have to learn how to operate in an offense that uses tight ends. (Even in the Joe Moorhead offense that might use tight ends less than the 2017 MSU team.) Not only did he almost never throw to them in his senior year, since Sachse didn't use them all that much, he'll also have to learn how to run through a defense that isn't wildly spread out from the snap. Then again, Keytaon Thompson had a similar setup.
Linebacker out of Co-Lin Community College and Florida State before that.
Tight end out of Richwood High School in Monroe, Louisiana. 6'6", 220. No. 30 player in the state of Louisiana, No. 35 tight end in the nation.
Started his career as a defensive presence, moved over to offense to help Richwood fill a dire team need and clearly showed potential in that role.
3-star linebacker out of Tupelo High School. 6'3", 215. No. 21 player in the state of Mississippi, No. 34 inside linebacker in the nation.
Senior year stats: No surprise that Jett got all the statewide accolades he got, including 6A Mr. Football, after putting up 15 tackles for a loss and three interceptions while being one of the state's tackling leaders.
Notes: I'm sure a SEC strength and conditioning coach would disagree with me, but I think Johnson's body is about as SEC ready as you're going to get in a high school linebacker. I'm sure whoever Joe Moorhead hires as strength coach will transform those 215 pounds a little bit, maybe even add 5 while improving sideline-to-sideline speed over the next year or so, but this is far from a project from a physical standpoint.