STARKVILLE • Mississippi State’s 2020 recruiting class is loaded with junior college commitments.
Eight of the Bulldogs’ 21-member class come from the juco ranks but many of those players are being brought in to help bridge the gap at positions of need.
“When you break it down, it’s really in that wide receiver and defensive line group,” said Paul Jones of 247Sports.com. “Six of the eight are either wide receivers or defensive linemen. Those were their biggest needs and everything else is pretty balanced out.”
MSU currently has the nation’s top juco players at two positions – defensive end Jordan Davis and inside linebacker Tyrus Wheat – as well as the No. 2 wide receiver, Malik Heath, and No. 2 guard, Sebastien Dolcine, committed – all from Copiah-Lincoln Community College.
Overall, the Bulldogs’ 2020 class is rated No. 22 nationally, ninth within the Southeastern Conference, by 247Sports.com.
“They’ve done a good job of filling their needs at running back with two four-star guys in Jo’Quavious Marks and Dillon Johnson,” Jones said. “Obviously, they wanted to add size at wide receiver and they’ve done that with Malik Heath from juco and gotten some speed in that class at receiver with Lideatrick Griffin and Jaden Walley, both of them are expected to be slot receivers.
“On the other side of the ball, they had to get some experience on the D-line. Four-star Jordan Davis is an immediate impact guy at defensive end and then Tre Lawson is a former Florida State transfer. Ben Key from East Los Angeles fills a need on the interior. They’ve done a good job, too, adding some high school D-linemen in that mix Jevon Banks and Armondous Cooley.”
One of the concerns surrounding coach Joe Moorhead when he was hired was if he had the ability to recruit in Mississippi despite not having a prior footprint in the South. Those questions have been put to rest with 12 of the 13 high school players currently committed hailing from the Magnolia State.
Eight of Mississippi’s top 20 prospects have made their pledge to the Bulldogs, including the top overall player in Grenada four-star cornerback Emmanuel Forbes.
“Every high school kid in this class besides Marks is an in-state guy,” Jones said. “They’ve pretty much followed up the same trend that (Dan) Mullen had in the state before them. A majority of their guys are going to be in-state kids.
“To me, this is a pretty solid class in Mississippi and they’ve gotten their share of top 20 guys.”
While the bulk of the Bulldogs’ class is already committed, there are a few positions State would like to address with the handful of remaining spots they have open.
“They’ve done a good job doing most of their work in the spring and summer and that’s kind of the norm for Mississippi State recruiting,” Jones said. “To me right now, I think they’re down to adding one or two linebackers, another defensive lineman and another offensive lineman. Then you could see somebody at another position that falls into that best available category.”