"I chose Mississippi State, because I felt like I wanted to be a trail blazer," Tyler Dunning said. "I wanted to let it be know that that's where Tyler Dunning went. I want it to lead to something special."
Dunning has seen an ebb and flow in his personal interest level with several college programs. Miami and LSU were both leaders at different points with Dunning backing off of a Miami pledge in February. Once back in the available talent pool, the scout National 300 member appears to have been won over by Mississippi State assistant coach Terrell Buckley.
"Me and Coach Buck have been talking for a while now," Dunning said. "One day it crossed my mind about leading something special. I thought about it real hard and I talked to him about it. He said they need me and he said that they wanted me after he said they needed me."
With the Bulldogs going to a 3-4 defensive alignment, there is a real need at linebacker going forward. The Bulldogs signed just one linebacker in 2016 (Erroll Thompson), but saw Zach Jackson and Beniquez Brown play their final snaps in Maroon and White.
Some of the current Bulldogs are moving around and showing some real versatility as the Bulldog defense becomes a lot more multiple under first year defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon. Dunning reports that he is prepared to play in a two point stance or with his hand on the ground depending on the team need.
"I'm bringing a complete play maker to the defense," Dunning said. "Wherever Coach Sirmon puts me, I will make plays."
Mississippi State has been extremely aggressive when it comes to out of state offers here in the early going of the 2017 recruiting cycle. Several in Dunning's circle of friends also have scholarships offers from Coach Dan Mullen and his staff.
Dunning reports that he plans to bring some South Florida play makers to Starkville this summer for a visit in hopes of providing some positive peer pressure prior to those players making their college selections.
"In June, I plan to go up there with a few of my bros like Rennard Bozeman," Dunning said. "A few more are going to get to jump on."
Dunning is the 12th verbal commitment for the Mississippi State signing class of 2017. At 6-2, 240 the Ft. Lauderdale, FL product is expected to play one of the inside linebacker positions in the Bulldog defense.
Several programs extended offers including Arkansas, Cincinnati, Colorado, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Kentucky, LSU, Miami, Pitt, Syracuse and Tennessee among others. Dunning attends the same high school that produced former Bulldog quarterback Wesley Carroll.
With Dunning's commitment, Mississippi State has added five verbal pledges in all over the course of the last week and seven for the 2017 signing class in the past three weeks.
Scout's Corey Bender contributed to this report.