July 19, 2014 1:34:27 PM
STARKVILLE -- One by one, high school prospects from across the country trickled into Mississippi State's Leo M. Seal football complex on Friday afternoon, as the field of 200 potential college athletes arrived gradually throughout the afternoon for MSU's annual Big Dawg recruiting camp.
And then the avalanche happened.
Entering the day with 18 commitments for the recruiting class of 2015, Mississippi State added seven more pledges from high school seniors on Friday afternoon, propelling the Bulldogs' upcoming class to as high as No. 9 in the country according to recruiting service 247sports.com.
The Bulldogs also added one commitment for the 2016 class, bringing the total number of commitments to eight. By contrast, in-state rival Ole Miss currently has nine players in its 2015 class.
The biggest splash of the day came at around 6 p.m., when Bassfield safety Jamal Peters, one of the most highly regarded players in the country, committed to the Bulldogs. Peters, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound safety, is ranked by 247sports.com as the No. 3 safety in the country and is listed as the top player in the state. Peters sports offers from programs across the country, including Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, LSU and Texas A&M.
Verbal commitments are non-binding and the first day that high school seniors san sign National Letter of Intent is scheduled for Feb. 5, 2015.
The Big Dawg camp started when coach Dan Mullen arrived at MSU six years ago, and has annually produced multiple commitments for the Bulldogs, but nothing like Friday.
As of now, Mullen is poised to sign his best class at Mississippi State, a group that is currently listed in the nation's top 15 by all three major recruiting services.
In addition to Peters, MSU already had pledges from in-state 4-star prospects Malik Dear, a WR from Jackson, and OLB Timothy Washington of Yazoo City.
On Friday, the MSU's list of commitments seemed to grow by the hour. Justin Johnson, a 3-star WR prospect out of Hoover, Ala., started the day by committing to the Bulldogs from his hometown.
Three hours later, as the Big Dawg camp opened, the Bulldogs received commitments from 4-star RB Nick Gibson of Pinson Valley, Ala.; junior college defensive end Jonathan Calvin; 3-star athlete Jonnas Spivey of Bay Springs; and 6-2, 222-pound RB Alex Murphy of Nixa, Missouri. Then came Peters, who became one of State's top commitments for the 2015 class.
Dee Nalls, a 6-3, 290-pound offensive guard out of Fayette, Ala., joined Mississippi State's 2016 class by committing late Friday night.
One of the biggest stories coming out of Big Dawg camp involved a player who is now uncommitted. Leo Lewis, considered one of the state's prized recruits on the level of Dear, Peters and Petal OL Javon Patterson, withdrew his commitment to the University of Alabama while attending Mississippi State's camp.
Lewis, a 5-star prospect at inside linebacker from Brookhaven, re-opened his recruitment but declined to comment on which school he now favors.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brandon Walker on Twitter @BWonStateBeat
1. Notebook: Self enjoys career day as Bulldogs enjoy sweep COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Starkville routs Murrah in playoff opener, falls in second game HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. New Hope starts postseason with win over Lake Cormorant HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Moyer, Jr. wins at Bullring for first time LOCAL SPORTS