January 15, 2013 11:26:46 AM
Matthew Stevens - [email protected]
STARKVILLE --Mississippi State University football coach Dan Mullen confirmed last week he had conversations with receiver Michael Carr about returning to the program.
The school announced March 21, 2012, Carr decided to leave program, citing a lack of devotion to the game.
"He just doesn't really want to play football any more," Mullen said to the media two days before spring practice.
Last week in the first press conference following a 34-20 loss to Northwestern University in the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl on New Year's Day, the Bulldogs' fourth-year coach sounded positive about Carr's return to the team this spring in a possible preferred walk-on role.
"He's come to meet with me about it," Mullen said Jan. 11 from the Leo Seal Family Football Complex. "Michael left under some tough issues. It wasn't an issue in what he'd done wrong within the program, and it wasn't an issue in his dislike of the program. It was just some personal things he had to get figured out in his life."
Carr wasn't listed on the 2012 spring roster for the first time since he signed with the Bulldogs in February 2010. He nearly missed the first day of fall camp due to NCAA eligibility issues.
Carr, The Dispatch's 2009 Large Schools Offensive Player of the Year and 2009-10 Athlete of the Year, was a four-star prospect according to Rivals.com. He caught four passes for 74 yards as a freshman in 2010. He saved his best performance for the final game of the season with a three-catch, 65-yard effort in a 52-14 victory against the University of Michigan in the 2011 Gator Bowl. Carr had a 31-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
In 2011, Carr had seven catches for 90 yards. He missed the final five games of the season due to what Mullen described as an undisclosed personal issue.
"We've opened the door for him," Mullen said Jan. 11. "If he gets those things figured out (and takes care of) certain business and makes sure he's on the personal right track (he could come back and) play for us in the future."
Gray becomes 22nd player in recruiting class
On Friday, MSU received a verbal pledge from Donald Gray, its sixth wide receiver prospect of the 2013 recruiting class.
Gray, a 5-foot-10, 180-pounder, is a four-star prospect and the 247th-best product in America, according to 247Sports.com. He had 48 catches for 1,023 yards and 15 touchdowns for White Station High School (Memphis, Tenn.) this past season, but most recruiting analysts still have him listed as an "athlete" to allow for a switch to defensive back.
Gray joins Tyler Junior College's Jeremy Chappelle and East Mississippi Community College's Corey Smith who have signed and enrolled in classes this semester and Louisiana product Shelby Christy, Alabama prospect BJ Hammond, and Biloxi native Scott Austin.
The Bulldogs lose four senior receivers from the 2012 squad who helped break 15 passing records. Senior tight end Marcus Green also will graduate.
"Offensive line is a big need for us this year (and) quarterback (and) receiver," Mullen said Jan. 11. "When you look at it, there's the ones where you expect guys to come in and play right away, but you can't have lapses in years at positions or you're going to get yourself caught at some point."