Mullen excited about MSU signing class

By JOEL COLEMAN

sports@starkvilledailynews.com

With a big smile, Mississippi State head football coach Dan Mullen stood at the podium Wednesday at the Leo Seal Jr. Football Complex. After months on the recruiting trail, MSU’s leader could finally proclaim that National Signing Day was a success.

“It’s an exciting day for us,” Mullen said. “We have a bunch of new guys coming in and coming here to play football and be a part of the Mississippi State Bulldog family.”

In all, MSU welcomed 11 new players on Wednesday to go along with 13 early enrollees that were already on campus. Collectively, the group gave Mississippi State the nation’s 24th-ranked signing class according to the 247Sports composite rankings as of late Wednesday afternoon.

Of the 11 players who signed on Wednesday, a pair of local products highlighted the bunch. Starkville High four-star linebacker Willie Gay and Columbus four-star running back Kylin Hill each cemented their decisions to join the maroon and white.

“I couldn’t be happier to have Willie Gay and Kylin Hill stay at home,” Mullen said. “That’s two local guys who get to come and make their hometowns proud and make the people of Mississippi proud playing for their state university.”

Hill had long been committed to come to MSU. His signing was no surprise. Gay decided between MSU, LSU, Michigan and others in a ceremony at Starkville High School on Wednesday morning.

“I put LSU, Michigan and State all beside each other,” Gay said. “I thought about where I wanted to be, where I would have the most support and if I would get a chance to play early. Mississippi State was the one.”

Three-star recruit Tyler Dunning out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, joined Gay as the only linebackers in MSU’s signing class.

The literal bulk of Mississippi State’s newest batch of players came on the lines. Duke Collins, Noah Elliss and Aaron Odom were all defensive lineman who inked with MSU Wednesday.

Mississippi State had to fend off a late push from Louisville to get Odom, a player widely considered to be the state’s top defensive lineman. Odom was a Bulldog verbal commit before decommitting and announcing his intentions to go to Louisville two weeks ago. Yet on Wednesday, Odom put pen to paper and declared himself a Bulldog.

“We tried to stick with him the whole time,” Mullen said of the recruitment of Odom. “We had some good talks over the last couple of weeks.

“He really wanted to stay home and represent the state of Mississippi.”

MSU added three offensive linemen Wednesday. Each boasted impressive size. Josh Cooper, from the same high school as former MSU quarterback Dak Prescott, Haughton High in Louisiana, measures in at 6-foot-7 and 355 pounds.

Montravious Richardson is also listed at 6-foot-7 with a weight of 300 pounds. Cordavien Suggs completed the batch of offensive linemen with his 6-foot-6, 285-pound frame.

“It’s a good thing we have some tall quarterbacks here with the size of those guys,” Mullen said.

Landon Guidry and Tucker Day both also joined Mississippi State on Wednesday. Guidry is a three-star defensive back out of Spring Hill, Tennessee.

Day is a kicker/punter from Brentwood, Tennessee. Mullen said that Day could make an immediate impact for MSU.

“There’s a good chance he could be our kicker next year,” Mullen said. “I know, in his mindset, that’s the attitude he’s coming in with.”

MSU’s 11 Wednesday signees joined early enrollees including defensive backs Johnathan Abram, Brian Cole, Jaquarius Landrews and Tyler Williams; defensive linemen Lee Autry, James Jackson, Deion Pope, Chauncey Rivers and Montez Sweat; offensive linemen Tommy Champion and Tyre Phillips; wide receiver Austin Williams and quarterback Keytaon Thompson.

Mullen is hopeful the group is the foundation for years of success.

“We have a Top 25 recruiting class, which we’ll see,” Mullen said. “Hopefully it turns out that way, too, and they end up forming a Top 25 football team, which is even more important.”

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