Which of course only reinforced the success of 2012 signings, signaling that class of '13 players were putting down their own dime to get in on Mississippi State's excitement. Further proof came with last weekend's well-attended Junior Days.
So, Mullen and his intact-for-2012 staff are already deep into procuring the next round of prospects. But the afterglow of February 1's success lingers, and this week Les Koenning and Chris Wilson took time to comment on the 28 newest Bulldogs. The comments are provided by the coordinator expects to call the signee his own, though in some cases his counterpart was the primary recruiter. This gives perspective on some of the listed positions on Signing Day and where a few outstandingly versatile talents will get their first shot in summer camp.
But in a couple of cases, assuredly not their only shot. In alphabetical order:
Nelson Adams, Defensive Lineman – Wilson: "Nelson is a tremendous athlete. He played linebacker in high school, he gives us a two-way guy who can play inside as well as on the perimeter in certain packages. And a very athletic guy. We'll see whatever his body grows into, right now we'll begin him as an interior lineman."
Quadry Antoine, Defensive Back – Wilson: "A big-time safety. A very physical guy, we can play him both in the box as well as off the hash, we like his range. And he's a tough kid, a very instinctive kid."
Denico Autry, Defensive Lineman – Wilson: "He gives us something we haven't had since Pernell McPhee, a guy who we believe who can be a really strong rusher off the edge for us. Also a guy who is strong at the point of contact. We look at him as a guy we play early on in camp and hopefully works his way into a starting position. I see him playing at anywhere from 260-265, because he has a lot of range."
Devon Bell, Kicker – Wilson: "Devon has a tremendous leg. He can help us in all the areas, as far as punting, as well as a guy who can kick the ball out of the back of the end zone, and has that 4.5-hang time that you like in punters. He's a game-changer."
Torey Bell, Defensive Lineman – Wilson: "Torey is a long athlete from New Orleans. He's very multiple, a guy I see eventually becoming 260 pounds with a lot of athleticism. He could really play some outside linebacker for us if we needed to. But he can play on the edge as well as inside from the defensive end position."
Beniquez Brown, Defensive Back – Wilson: "He is a really talented linebacker, very athletic. A guy with real range who can play in all three phases, by that I mean first, second, and third down. He's a guy you really don't have to bring off the field at any point in time. I can see him being 220, 225 as long as he can maintain his speed. Because the thing he really does well is run."
Frederick Brown, Wide Receiver – Koenning: "He came to camp and did really well. His high school team didn't play very well but you can see what he has. He can ‘sink' his hips and get out of a cut, and that is hard for straight-line runners. We kept recruiting him because we really liked what we saw in camp."
Richie Brown, Linebacker – Wilson: "He can play all three linebacker areas. He can play will, he can play our mike linebacker because he's very instinctive, and sam because he has the ability to play in space. His coverage skills are equal to his run game skills. He's very high-motor but very productive, that is off the charts."
Ryan Brown, Defensive Lineman – Wilson: "Ryan May play two positions for us. He can play both the three-technique possibly because he has a big frame, as well as the closed-end position for us. As he gets better, because he is only 17 years old, is going to be a massive man. So there is no ceiling on him. It was crazy to see the transition in him over the year we were recruiting him."
Cole Carter, Offensive Lineman – Koenning: "We signed numerous offensive linemen in this class because first of all we needed the numbers to create depth, and second you never know about linemen until two or three years down the road. Hopefully we don't have to play him immediately but we see him as an interior lineman who we can develop for down the line."
Kivon Coman, Defensive Back – Wilson: "We see Kivon as a young man who can play safety, our safety off-the-hash as well as a guy we can roll down into the box and play on first down. The thing he does really well is he's a physical player. And what will help in our nickel packages is he is a guy we can put on a #2 receiver and really play man coverage."
Devon Desper, Offensive Lineman – Koenning: "Devin is another inside guy who we feel can come in and help us. He is further developed at this point than our other freshmen linemen, and we'll be looking at him as a backup on the inside positions. Guard or center, it depends on how well he fits with and without the ball in his hand, when he comes in we'll find out."
Deonte Evans, Athlete – Wilson: "He's really an athlete, we're looking at him as both a running back and at the safety position. He's versatile and when he comes in summer and camp will see where he wants to play, that gives a young man an opportunity to fit where he wants to fit."
Quay Evans, Defensive Lineman – Wilson : "The great thing is he's here already getting a season under his belt starting his maturation. Physically he is as gifted as anyone you'll be around. He's very explosive, very strong at the point of contact. He's a guy in the two-yard area who is as physical as any kid you will see. What we have to do is upgrade his learning curve."
Xavier Grindle, Running Back – Koenning: "No doubt he has the ability to make people miss. We were very impressed with his athleticism, the thing he has to work on is physicalness because this is a physical league. But he can really make you miss and with the ball in his hand he is pretty exciting."
Dylan Holley, Offensive Lineman – Koenning: "Dylan is from Gulf Coast Community College and he meets some needs for us up front. He gives us some depth working him at center. He could play center or guard, and junior college guys like him are very critical for us."
Brandon Holloway, Wide Receiver – Koenning: "Man! What was impressive to us, he came to camp and he doesn't scare you physically. When you look at him you wonder if he plays football, should we put him on the field? Then when you get him on the field, he is hard to hem-up. He can separate. One of the things that was impressive was when the ball is in his hands something good is always happening. He has legitimate track speed so when you put him down there, I'm not talking about a guy who has potential; it's already there. Now he is small but he makes up for it with speed. He is a slot receiver and we would like to get him matched up any way we can with the ball in his hands. We can hand it to him, we can throw it to him, there are different things he can do. And he can create another gear for us."
Nick James, Defensive Lineman – Wilson: "He is the biggest, athletic guy I have signed in my career. He's got great range and provides you in reality with a guy who can play three positions on your defensive line. He can play end in certain run-down situations, but he also can play both three-technique and nose guard which tells you how athletic he is. And he's really a high-motor guy, now obviously he can't do it 20 times but if you get five it's at a really high level."
A.J. Jefferson, Defensive Lineman – Wilson: "A.J. is a guy who can play multiple positions for us. He can play in our ‘joker' package, that's our outside linebacker package, as well as a closed-side defensive end. He is also around 250 pounds right now so he may be able to play at 270. He gives a lot of versatility. And he's a winner."
Cedric Jiles, Defensive Back – Wilson: "One of the hardest things to evaluate in high school is corners because if they're really good nobody throws at them. This guy is a true corner, I don't use the phrase ‘lock down' corner but he has really good ball skills and great hips. And he is very confident playing on the perimeter by himself. We're excited to see (if) he has (the) opportunity to play early."
Adarrius Perkins, Running Back – Koenning: "He should be listed as an athlete. He might play back or play the h-back. When you can sign a guy who is versatile like that on either side of the ball it gives you versatility. He is the kind of athlete and Mississippi kid that this program is built upon."
Will Redmond, Defensive Back – Wilson: "Will might be our most highly-recruited and rated guy, and deservedly so. Will can play safety, he can play corner, he can walk down and be your nickel or your dime in substitution packages. Just overall a really good football player, and one thing I like beside his ball skills is he is a really solid tackler. When you have a guy who can make plays in space it shows how athletic he is."
Artimas Samuel, Tight End – Koenning: "He's another one of those kids who can come in and help us at the tight end position, the H-back position, be able to play different things for us. As you can see we're getting away from our fullback position with more tight ends so we can go four wides, or have a guy with his hand on the ground."
Nick Schuessler, Quarterback – Koenning: "We were very impressed with Nick. His high school coach talked about his leadership qualities and intangibles, then having him in camp really enlightened me. He can really throw the football, he really spins the ball well, it doesn't stay long on his hand and comes out good. He's 4.8 and probably can get down to 4.7 so he's athletic enough to make some things happen."
Justin Senior, Offensive Lineman – Koenning: "Justin is from Canada and it's been an adjustment, even winter is warmer here! It's been a shock for him in our workout program. He's only 18 but he has a big-time body, he has the potential to be a really good football player. It's just getting the physical part of it, and now in his third program he's had to adjust to a lot of things."
Charles Siddoway, Offensive Lineman – Koenning: "We're really counting on him as you look at our offensive linemen, needing him to step up and be the guy he can be. Obviously he's a more mature kid and been through a lot more than others. We've got him penciled in at left tackle, he or Blaine Clausell can move to right tackle but with them we have two athletic tackles who can really move. He and Holley up-front have created some depth, and some competition that we need really badly."
Gus Walley, Tight End – Koenning: "Gus is from here in Mississippi and impressed us in camp. He is a kid who can put his hand to the ground or split-out, he is one of those hybrid type tight ends. The thing with Gus is he has shoulder surgery, he's done everything we asked of him and hasn't lost a step. It's getting him in the weightroom and ready to go."
Jordan Washington, Defensive Lineman – Wilson: "Jordan is kind of a hybrid guy when you talk about an athlete who can play inside, we project him as a defensive tackle; but he also can play end, very similar to how we play Kaleb Eulls. He's a bright guy who comes from a winning program, and we're looking forward to seeing what kind of player he develops into."
Mullen and staff open their spring session March 22 with the first of 13 scheduled practices and the Maroon-White Game. A 15th working date is not scheduled yet, same as in 2011 when Mullen saved it for a post-spring game review of camp.
All listed practices are open to public view.