Mullen Comments on Bulldog Recruiting

The SEC weekly teleconference usually consists of coaches talking about injuries, how practice has gone this week and what they have seen in their opponents on film. Of course the discussions are usually superficial in nature, but a necessary part of the work week for the coaches in the Southeastern Conference. Earlier today, Coach Dan Mullen spent most of his time talking about recruiting.

Some have suggested that Mississippi State may undergo a change in recruiting philosophy now that the Bulldogs are a hot name nationally.

Earning a #1 ranking in the polls earns eyeballs and many prospects who may have only lightly considered Starkville as their potential college destination may be willing to take a second look now.

Dan Mullen and his staff have earned a reputation of being a program that finds some under the radar talents and turns them into SEC stars.

With interest in Mississippi State at an all time high, one would wonder if the Bulldog staff may consider throwing back some of their fish already in the boat in an attempt to land some "bigger" fish.

Mullen says quite simply, no.

"We won't change our approach," Mullen said during the conference call. "We go out there and we really trust our own evaluations.

"I have seen some guys that were supposed five stars guys and I would disagree greatly with that rating and I have seen guys that aren't rated that high that I think should be rated higher.

"One of the things we want to do is stick with what we believe the way that we evaluate players. It doesn't mean that we don't want five star players, but we want all players to be five star players in our minds. "

It appears that Mullen is more interested in finding players with something to prove and are willing to put in the effort to do it.

"We want guys who aren't satisfied with how they are in high school," explained Mullen.

"Part of our recruiting is finding guys who have a chip on their shoulder and a great desire to get better once they get into college and buy into the program who work really hard and continue to develop once they get here.

"That philosophy won't change in our recruiting."

While the recent rise in notoriety has "opened some doors" in the words of Mullen, the Bulldogs are looking for players who project well and are just beginning to realize their potential.

"What I look for when we go out recruiting is not where you are, but where you're going to be a couple of years from now within the development of the program," Mullen said.

"I think some people in recruiting are going to tell kids exactly what they want to hear. We don't talk about that.

"We talk about hard work, becoming the best you can be and working hard everyday in the weight room and in the classroom.

"It's not just about steak dinners and pretty girls touring you around campus.

"It's about what the reality of the program is going to be like when you get here. "

That honest, blue collar approach has served the Bulldogs well over the past few years, but many of those developmental guys that other programs elected to pass on and have worked hard to be great players on the Mississippi State roster.

Figuring out who values the work and not just the reward is part of the Bulldog way.

"I think part of the character test is when you talk about those things you can look in a kid's eyes and see that's what they want," said Mullen.

"You do a lot of research on kids at school. Most of these kids are the best kids to ever play at their high school or one of the best to ever play at their high school. "You want to get you around school and ask about them, people will tell you that this kid has become All-State and a superstar for our high school, but he works harder each day than he did the day before.

"Those are the kind of kids we want in our program."


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