Dog Gone Dawgs

As the 2015 Mississippi State signing class finishes up the final semester of their high school lives, Bulldog fans are looking ahead to see which incoming freshmen will enroll for summer school, fall camp or not enroll at all. History has shown us that nothing is final until the NCAA clearinghouse says it is. Here is a look back at those who signed and never took the field at Davis Wade stadium.

The 2009 signing class set the gold standard for Bulldog inkings in the modern era. That 27 man grouping featured future NFL players Johnthan Banks, Josh Boyd, Fletcher Cox, Gabe Jackson, Cameron Lawrence, Pernell McPhee, Deontae Skinner, Darius Slay and Chris White. Throw in a pair of school record holders in quarterback Tyler Russell and wide receiver Chad Bumphis and it is clear that Dan Mullen's first class was one for the Maroon and White ages.

Only two signees from that class never enrolled in Starkville and neither were expected to initially. Wide out Mardrecas Hood was a sign and place prospect out of Pickens County, Alabama. Hood enrolled at East Mississippi Community College, but elected to give up football soon after.

Taylorsville, Mississippi All-Everything Billy Hamilton opted for a professional baseball career and is now making things happen for the Cincinatti Reds on the major league level as a centerfielder.

2010 brought another talented group of of Bulldogs to the roster including NFL selections Vick Ballard, Malcolm Johnson and Matthew Wells. A host of others from that class inked free agent deals recently including Blaine Clausell, Dillon Day, Kaleb Eulls and Jay Hughes.

A pair of 2010 classmates never set foot on the Scott Field grass, defensive end Paul Crawford and cornerback Jeremy Lee.

Crawford had initially planned to enroll in junior college for his first two seasons, but a strong spring semester and acceptable improvement on his ACT score earned him approval from the NCAA clearinghouse. Rather than attend a two year school, Crawford signed a full grant with Florida International after receiving a release from Mississippi State.

A three year starter for FIU, Crawford was forced to miss the 2013 season due to injury. The Texas native devoted himself full time to his studies and was able to graduate with a year of eligibility remaining.

Taking advantage of the NCAA rule that allows graduates with eligibility to transfer after graduation, Crawford enrolled at Arizona State where he played sparingly as a reserve.

Jeremy Lee signed with the Bulldogs as a sign and place prospect out of Hinds AHS. Lee enrolled at Hinds Community College and never returned to the Mississippi State recruiting radar.

Mississippi State's 2011 additions featured second round NFL selections Benardrick McKinney and Preston Smith and 6th rounder Josh Robinson as well as NFL free agent tenders Justin Cox and P.J. Jones. A handful of players remain on the active roster including a guy named Prescott that you may be familiar with.

The 2011 signing class had one member not make the roster, Shaquille Perry of Walnut High School. Perry, the brother of former Mississippi State standout Pig Prather, enrolled at Northeast Mississippi Community College, but elected to give up football shortly after his arrival in Booneville.

The Mississippi State 2012 recruiting haul was the first class to see all of its' members pass NCAA muster when it came to freshman eligibility. While every signee received the stamp of approval from the folks in Indianapolis, two summer school enrollees left the program prior to fall practice, Nick Schuessler and Adarrius Perkins.

Schuessler was a late addition to class as the Bulldogs flipped the Georgia native from Colorado State. One summer school session later, Schessler elected to transfer to Clemson where he has appeared in seven games as a back up over two seasons.

Perkins opted for a junior college roster spot at Jones County Junior College. With his two years in Ellisville completed, Perkins enrolled at Southern Miss as a walk on.

Dan Mullen's 2013 class was the second consecutive class without a sign and place inking after having one in each of the 2009, 2010 and 2011 classes. The lone 2013 class member not to enroll was four star quarterback Cord Sandberg. Sandberg was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies. Now in his third season of pro ball, Sandberg began the season in single A.

A quartet of 2014 signees took the junior college route, three of those were sign and place prospects from the outset.

Offensive lineman Jordan Harris enrolled at Pearl River Community College and to date does not have an offer for the 2016 signing class.

Four star tight end Ravian Pierce initially delayed enrollment in a junior college in hopes of making the needed scores to enroll at Mississippi State this spring. After a post fall academic review, Pierce enrolled at Southwest Mississippi Community College with plans to sign with the Bulldogs at a later date.

Harrison Central star Lashard Durr enrolled at Co-Lin where he put together a strong freshman campaign. Durr is currently committed to Mississippi State for the 2016 signing class and plans to enroll after he completes his associates degree in December of this year.

The lone surprise junior college enrollment of the Mullen era is linebacker Deshon Cooper. Cooper worked very hard to gain his eligibility and the final verdict took some time to return. The Georgia native had even enrolled at Mississippi State with an NCAA provisional waiver pending clearing house approval.

Sadly, Cooper came up just short and had to leave Starkville for Wesson and Co-Lin for two years. Cooper's grant for the 2014 season was given to Olive Branch offensive lineman James Cochran who had initially agreed to grey shirt.

Cooper put together a solid year at Co-Lin and is currently committed to Mississippi State for the 2016 signing class. Even though Cooper was unable to be a part of the Mississippi State football program the past year, he has spent several weekends in Starkville with his future teammates in hopes of having some real chemistry when he enrolls full time in January.

Looking back over the previous six signing classes under Dan Mullen, Mississippi State has had some measure of attrition in every class even before players reported for fall camp. The sign and place prospects' junior college enrollments were obviously expected prior to signing day.

They only true surprises have come from a pair of summer school transfers, Schuessler and Perkins, and a last minute clearinghouse decision, Cooper. Hamilton and Sandberg were expected to take the pro baseball route, but the Bulldogs were smart to take the chance should either of the two elect to play college football at some point.

As we prepare for news from the NCAA about the newest regiment of Maroon and White reinforcements, fans need not be surprised when the entire class does not enroll for the first session of summer school.

Some prospects will continue to work towards enrollment this summer in hopes of enrolling in time for fall camp. Four of Dan Mullen's six Bulldog classes have seen at least one player head to junior college. The first three of those, Hood, Lee and Perry, never made it back to the Bulldog commitment list.

At least three of the most recent four, Cooper, Durr and Pierce, are still expected to wear the Maroon and White, while the jury is still out on big man Harris.

It is often said, "The numbers work out" and they always seem to. With Dan Mullen's second top twenty signing class in three years, Bulldog fans are especially interested in the numbers falling the Mississippi State way this go around.

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