STARKVILLE • Most of Mississippi State’s 2020 class is already signed thanks to the efforts of Joe Moorhead and his staff.
The Bulldogs’ inked all 22 commitments in December during the early signing period, leaving only a little work left for new coach Mike Leach to do to between now and Feb. 5 to round out the class.
“They’ve done a fine job recruiting here over the years.,” Leach said. “There’s a lot of things we’re going to have to maintain and continue and then elevate as we see opportunities.”
One aspect Leach hopes he and his yet-to-be-hired staff can uphold is the program’s history of recruiting within Mississippi’s borders. Of the 22 players MSU has already signed this year, 17 hail from schools within the state.
“That’s huge, it’s of the bigger motivating factors in my case for coming to Mississippi State,” Leach said.
Leach has spent the past eight seasons in the Pacific Northwest coaching at Washington State and is thankful to be back in the fertile recruiting grounds of the Southeast.
“The recruiting base here is hard to resist,” Leach said. “A 300-mile radius of here just has outstanding recruits, and it all starts with the commitment on the high school level and the great job the high school coaches do here.”
But first, get a staff
First on Leach’s list of things to do is to assemble his coaching staff. He said he is hoping to hire the right combination of coaches who are both strong on the field and on the recruiting trail.
“I think it’s important that we have some people that know the ropes around the area too,” Leach said. “I would say a combination of all of it. First and foremost, I want good, quality people who are dedicated recruiters and then a mixture. We’ve got to have really strong guys who know X’s and O’s on the field, discipline, focus, and pulls the unit together. The most important thing is what you can do together.”
Leach planned to meet with each of the prospects MSU has signed and their families so they can get familiar with one another and start building relationships together.
“I hope to but we do have to finish the class out,” Leach said. “But I would like to cover as much of that ground as I can. I think nine (signees) are here right now so that’ll mitigate a portion of it. The better (the parents) can get to know the guy coaching their son is important.”