With Mullen's emphasis on in state players, the fact that several players on the Mississippi roster would be Bulldogs. Most of those seven players are expected to line up on the defensive side of the ball when the two teams tee it up on Saturday.
Fletcher Adams DL Brandon High: Adams is a high energy player and his exuberance might even be a little elevated this week. Adams has looked athletic in his play and has made it a routine of fitting gaps and creating some chaos. When Adams cannot make the play, he does his part to make a mess of things and create opportunities for tackles for his teammates. He appears to be a team first guy who gets excited when the play is made no matter which defender records the tackle. Adams has a really gregarious personality and you can tell that the other players enjoy playing with him due to his passion for the game and unselfishness. He shows a solid first step that serves him well on the interior, but will certainly need to continue to add some mass to handle the rigors of the SEC.
Chris Stamps CB Warren Central High: I have been a fan of Stamps since the first time I saw him at the Copiah Academy combine two years ago. He is a player that gets better every time I see him. This week Stamps has been a tough match-up for receivers. He may get beat underneath on some routes on occasion, but with his speed, length and ability to recover he doesn't get beat deep. Stamps looks a lot more polished as one would hope this late in the year. He was able to bait the quarterbacks into making some throws to his side and then get over to make the play. His length and catch radius are extremely strong attributes which make him very tough to throw over.
Jamal Peters S Bassfield: Peters is playing linebacker this week, which is probably the best spot for him in this game. Peters moves like a safety, but his physicality is needed in the box this weekend to fend off the Alabama running game. Peters is very instinctive and has extremely good play recognition. Even in this All-Star setting, Peters flows to the football and is always in on the tackle or near the play. He shows a willingness to stick his nose in there and make plays no matter the circumstance. Peters is also an extremely confident player who believes this Mississippi squad can secure a victory on Saturday.
Tommy Champion OL Callaway High: Champion spent a lot of time on the exercise bike on Tuesday, but is in the mix at right tackle this weekend. Champion looks bigger and has filled out his frame a good bit since I saw him at the Canton Academy combine this past summer. Based on reports, he had a solid showing in the morning practice before being hobbled. His reps this weekend will simply boil down to his health and availability.
Cameron Myers ATH Oak Grove: Myers played a very physical game on Sunday in the 6A state title game and then got on a bus to Montgomery, Alabama on Monday. Myers looks a little tender, but will be good to go on Saturday. He is playing some at defensive back this week, which is still a relatively new experience for him. Myers has played some at quarterback and wide receiver on the prep level, but is expected to make the switch to the defensive secondary on the next level. His athleticism is apparent, but you can tell he is still thinking a lot rather than reacting. With his athletic ability, he has the chance to be a real contributor on either side of the ball this weekend and in college.
Keith Joseph Jr. DE Pascagoula High: Joseph looked really quick in the one-on-one drills. He beat his man routinely and was very active with his hands. He does a very good job of getting out of his stance and getting his hands up to keep people off of him. His strength at this point appears to be as a pass rusher. Joseph is extremely quick off of the line on the snap and has the ability to speed rush off of the edge with regularity. Things get a little more complicated when he has to work inside and stop the run, but his ability to be more balanced as a defender will come as he bulks up and gains more experience. There was talk that he could play linebacker on the next level, but it is pretty evident now that his future involves keeping his hand on the ground and using his speed to harass the quarterback.
Malik Dear ATH Murrah High: Dear is one of the most highly skilled offensive players in the state of Mississippi and it shows even in this All-Star setting. Dear will benefit from being in a college weight room and nutrition program, but even now he is extremely tough to defend. He will likely shed 15 pounds or so before the season, but despite not playing at his optimum playing weight, Dear is a star. This week Dear has lined up in the backfield or out wide as a receiver. He creates some mismatches and makes a habit of making defenders miss. Dear's lower half has developed a great deal in the past 12 months, which enables him to run with more power. It will be interesting to see how he is utilized this weekend, but look for his number to be called several times.
Austin Riley P DeSoto Central High: Riley is planning to play baseball at Mississippi State should the Major League baseball draft not become a serious consideration. If baseball had not been his passion, Riley would certainly have had a solid chance to make a college football roster as a punter. During special teams drills, Riley consistently hit some punts in excess of 50 yards with a couple with the wind coming down after close to 65 yards in flight. If this weekend's game becomes a battle for field position, Mississippi has a real weapon in Riley.
Justin Johnson WR Hoover High: There was talk in the summer months that Johnson may grow into a tight end on the next level, but it now appears that he will cut his college teeth as an X receiver. Johnson has the look of a college player already and he brings a real physicality to the position. Johnson plays the ball extremely well and shows some really strong hands down the field. He is not going to run by a lot of college level DBs, but with his size and strength he can be a solid possession guy. Johnson will have the chance to play early in college, because of his size, strength and ability to block out on the perimeter. Johnson is an impressive football player who should make some plays in the Mississippi State offense in the same manner that current Bulldog De'Runnya Wilson does.
Keith Mixon WR Shades Valley High: Perhaps the most polished play maker on team Alabama is Mixon. He has shown an ability to catch the ball over either shoulder, over the top or underneath. He continues to show an uncanny ability to transition from pass catcher to ball carrier. Mixon gets his body in a position to run as he secures the catch. He is an extremely fluid runner who can make people miss in the open field without a lot of effort. His change of direction is next level quality. The Alabama coaches will move him around a good bit on Saturday and Mixon will have a lot of opportunities to put his stamp on the game.
Darryl Williams C Bessemer City High: Williams brings a lot of attitude to the line of scrimmage. He takes pride in beating his man and denying him any access to the ball carrier. He will also tell you about it, while he does it. Williams is not the biggest lineman on the roster, but he plays big. He has very good arm length and appears to have every good core strength. Defenders have a hard time moving him once he gets his feet settled underneath him. He has a real nasty streak and he appears to take every single rep personally. He's a competitive guy that simply can't stand to lose.
Maurice Smitherman CB Minor High: While not the biggest corner on the roster, Smitherman plays big and receivers have a tough time shaking him. He has excellent change of direction and is able to jump the underneath routes and get a hand on the football. He will have to get bigger and stronger, but the rest of the required skill set for success already exists. Smitherman has speed, quickness and nose for the football. If a quarterback makes a mistake with ball placement on Smitherman's side, it's headed back the other way.