Dec. 14—STARKVILLE — A late surge into early signing day has generated some excitement for Mississippi State.
MSU lost the top linebacker in the state when former Mississippi State baseball commit Stone Blanton announced Monday he is headed to South Carolina to play baseball and football.
But the Bulldogs still have opportunities to move up from No. 30 nationally and No. 11 in the SEC for the 247Sports class of 2022 rankings — which has been the main focus for Mike Leach and his staff since losing the Egg Bowl.
“We’ve really had some great recruit weekends and, I’ve had the chance to talk to some really good recruits,” Leach said Saturday. “It’s busier than it ever has been before. As soon as the season’s over, it’s full tilt, recruiting. But even more urgency because of the early signing day.”
»JARNORRIS HOPSON: MSU commit motivated by his late grandmothers
Mississippi State’s first sign of a late push came exactly a month before Wednesday’s early signing day when four-star receiver Marquez Dortch flipped from Ole Miss to MSU.
Dortch became the first four-star in MSU’s class, and State is hoping to add another alongside him in defensive lineman Trevion Williams.
Williams — out of Crystal Springs High School — got offers from schools such as Auburn and Florida State.
He is rated as the sixth-best player in the state along with the No. 32 defensive lineman nationally, according to the 247Sports composite.
Only four of Mississippi’s top 10 recruits have committed to staying in the state.
If Williams goes elsewhere following Blanton’s decision, Mississippi State could walk away with just two players from its own backyard.
Kalvin Dinkins — a three-star defensive lineman from Lake — is another intriguing piece who could add to the future of MSU’s defensive front alongside Williams. He will be announcing his decision at 8 a.m. Wednesday.
Experts have Dinkins as a 50-50 split between Mississippi State and Baylor. He is 6-foot-3-inches and 310 pounds and sits as the No. 29 overall player in Mississippi.
The talk surrounding defense heading into Wednesday could be a testament to 10 of MSU’s 16 current commits coming from the offensive side of the ball.
However, the signings of three-star offensive tackles Percy Lewis and Trent Ramsey or three-star receiver Chris Bell are worth monitoring.
Marquez Dortch: Wide receiver, 6-0, 175, four-star (247Sports), George County/Lucedale, MS
Braedyn Locke: Quarterback, 6-1, 195, three-star (247Sports), Rockwall/Rockwall, TX
Zavion Thomas: Wide receiver, 5-11, 190, three-star (247Sports), John Ehret/Marrero, LA
Javae Gilmore: Linebacker, 6-4, 200, three-star (247Sports), Amite/Amire, LA
Donterry Russell: Edge, 6-4, 200, three-star (247Sports), Provine/Jackson, MS
Khalid Moore: Linebacker, 6-2, 206, three-star (247Sports), Poplarville/Poplarville, MS
Lucas Taylor: Inside offensive line, 6-5, 310, three-star (247Sports), St. Paul’s Episcopal/Mobile, AL
R.J. Moss: Defensive line, 6-3, 245, three-star (247Sports), Biloxi/Biloxi, MS
Dakota Jordan: Athlete, 6-0, 220, three-star (247Sports), Jackson Academy/Jackson, MS
Kaydin Pope: Wide receiver, 6-0 1/2, 175, three-star (247Sports), Hardin County/Savannah, TN
Trent Singleton: Athlete, 6-0, 190, three-star (247Sports), Raymond/Raymond, MS
Jarnorris Hopson: Wide receiver, 5-11, 175, three-star (247Sports), Horn Lake/Horn Lake, MS
Wesley Miller: Safety, 5-10 1/2 , 184, three-star (247Sports), Heritage Academy/Columbus, MS
Audavion Collins: Cornerback, 6-0, 165, three-star (247Sports), Newton/Covington GA
Jakson LaHue: Offensive tackle, 6-5, 285, three-star (247Sports), Azle/Azle, TX
Jackson Cannon: Offensive tackle, 6-5, 310, three-star (247Sports), Ola/McDonough, GA
STEFAN KRAJISNIK is the Mississippi State athletics reporter for the Daily Journal. Contact him at [email protected].