A total 14 members of Coach Dan Mullen's new-for-2014 recruiting class have enrolled for the first summer semester at Mississippi State. They are: S Brandon Bryant, OL Deion Calhoun, K Logan Cooke, S J.T. Gray, LB Gerri Green, DT Braxton Hoyett, WR Jesse Jackson, OL Elgton Jenkins, RB Dontavian Lee, CB Chris Rayford, QB Elijah Stayley, DT Cory Thomas, and RB Aeris Williams.
First semester classes run through July 7 for first semester finals. The second semester begins immediately on July 8 and ends with finals August 6-7. That falls days after preseason practices begin at the end of July, which is why the traditional idea of ‘reporting date' has become an anachronism. Just like ‘two-a-days' which the NCAA-mandated practice schedule has almost entirely made history.
What doesn't change is the encouragement—if that is the word—given newcomers to get about the business of college football immediately, even if no on-field coach can be present. Rookies and varsity alike will share a summer regimen of strength training and unsupervised drills run by the players themselves. There are all sorts of proposals to the NCAA to loosen restrictions on off-season contact and communication in the future. For now though it isn't an entirely bad idea that new college kids see much more of their summer school instructors than their football coaches.
Already a pair from the '14 recruiting class have been taking classes and working with the Bulldog varsity. In the case of quarterback Nick Fitzgerald the work began with Liberty Bowl camp as he enrolled between semesters. He has the advantage of a week practicing in December and a full spring competing for backup quarterback immediately. Junior college lineman Jocquell Johnson enrolled in January and practiced in spring as a backup guard. He can continue to compete for a place on the depth chart this season or perhaps redshirt with two entire varsity years left.
Those are the players officially listed as enrolled in summer school, leaving seven situations yet to be resolved as eligibility is secured—or not—and the NCAA's clearinghouse approves enrollment. Several reportedly have the chance to enroll in the July semester.
Players of undetermined status so far are juco OL Ronald Cochran, DT Will Coleman, LB Deshon Cooper, DB Lashard Durr, OL Jordan Harris, and TE Darrion Hutcherson,
It is not official but indications are Durr and Harris will be heading to junior college this fall. And Cochran as of today appears bound for prep school. None of these outcomes is a surprise to the MSU coaching staff that recruited them with the possibility of sign-and-place.
Mississippi State's fall semester begins August 18. Football practices begin on Thursday, July 31.