Branch signed with New Mexico out of high school, but made the difficult decision to leave the Lobo program after the 2014 season. During the 2015 campaign, Branch recorded 32 tackles and seven sacks in nine games.
Several schools showed varying levels of interest with some extending offers. Before making any decisions, Branch took matters into his own hands and began recruiting some college coaches.
"I contacted some of the top schools, because I feel like I have the talent to play at that level," Branch said. "Mississippi State was one of the schools that really stood out to me, so I contacted them and then things sort of took off from there."
The Bulldogs recent run of bowl games and national rankings caught Branch's eye.
"Mississippi State has consistently been competitive in the toughest division and conference in all of college football," Branch explained. "They went to #1 in the country last year for five weeks. Clearly, they are doing some good things there.
"I decided to reach out to them and now I have a visit set up to go meet the coaches and see the campus."
The Bulldogs have not offered just yet, but they will get the chance to see if the talented defensive end passes the eye test in the very near future.
"I am taking an official visit to Georgia Tech on December 4th and Mississippi State on December 11th," Branch said. "Neither one of them have offered me yet, because they want to see me in person first. Both of them are coming to see me next week."
SMU and UTEP among others have extended offers. Heading into the official visits, Branch reports that he has a working top three of Georgia Tech, Mississippi State and SMU. Depending on what his options end up being come signing day, Branch has a good idea about what he is looking for in a college program.
"I want to make my mama proud and graduate from college," Branch said. "That's an important part of it for me, so I am looking at academics. I also want to get to know the coaching staff and see what kind of schemes they plan to run. I want to know if I fit what they want to do and I want to see the depth chart. I am trying to go somewhere that I can work hard and get on the field."
Branch has not set a firm time frame for a decision, but reports that he will make the call sooner rather than later in advance of a December graduation and January enrollment.