Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

A look at the final names of interest for the Mississippi State 2017 signing class.

It has all come down to this. Nearly two years of work, phone calls, visits, letters, text messages and in some cases begging end for the signing class of 2017 tomorrow. Mississippi State is poised for a very strong close to the recruiting cycle tomorrow. Much of the attention is directed at some in state prospects who plan to make their college selections known Wednesday morning.

The Mississippi State signing class currently holds 22 names with room for a few more additions on Wednesday. Of that 22, thirteen members of Dan Mullen's ninth Bulldog class are already on campus and in classes. Nine of those thirteen are junior college prospects who are expected to compete immediately for playing time.

Those nine are: Safety Jonathan Abram (JCJC), Defensive Tackle Lee Autry (ICC), Offensive guard Tommy Champion (Co-Lin), Safety Brian Cole (EMCC), Safety Jaquarius Landrews (Co-Lin), Offensive Tackle Tyre Phillips (EMCC), Defensive Tackle Deion Pope, Defensive end Chauncey Rivers (EMCC) and Defensive End Montez Sweat (Co-Lin). 

All nine of those December signees were ranked among the top 100 junior college prospects as determined by scout.com.

Joining that impressive junior college showing in January, were four high school prospects who were able to graduate from their high school programs early. Those four are: Defensive Tackle James Jackson of Pascagoula High (MS), Quarterback Keytaon Thompson of Landry-Walker High (LA), Wide Receiver Austin Williams of Ocean Springs High (MS) and Cornerback Tyler Williams of Lafayette County High (MS).

All three of those Mississippi products were selected to play in the annual Mississippi/Alabama All-Star game. Tyler Williams elected to withdraw from that competition to ensure that he was able to graduate on time and enroll for the spring semester in Starkville.

Thompson was selected as Louisiana's Mr. Football and the state's Gatorade Player of the Year. Thompson led Landry-Walker to the 5A state championship over Bayou State power West Monroe.

All of the expected February signees are of the high school variety, with most of those prospects expected to join the program this summer in time for pre-season conditioning as well as summer school courses.

The nine current verbal commitments planning to ink on with Coach Dan Mullen's team on Wednesday are: U.S. Army All-American kicker Tucker Day, offensive tackle Josh Cooper (LA), O/D All-American linebacker Tyler Dunning (FL), four star defensive tackle Noah Elliss (CO), Safety Landon Guidry (TN), All-State running back Kylin Hill, Defensive Tackle Tae-kion Reed (MS), Offensive Tackle Montravious Richardson (GA) and O/D All-American Offensive Tackle Cordavien Suggs (FL).

With 22 members of the class either on campus or publicly declared, Mississippi State still has some spots to fill come Wednesday. The Bulldogs could add as many as four new 2017 class members, but anything more than that would be a surprise of the positive variety.

Mississippi State hosted dozens of Bulldog hopefuls on official visits throughout the process. A dozen or so of those recruits remain available in the final hours. Here are ten names Mississippi State fans may find of interest.

1. Willie Gay - The U.S. Army All-American linebacker was once committed to Ole Miss, but the Rebels fell out of the race due to a poor season and the pending NCAA sanctions that loom large over the program. Gay officially visited LSU, Michigan, Mississippi State and Ole Miss. It appears that LSU and Mississippi State are the two finalists, Michigan has tried to make things interesting with a recent in home visit from Jim Harbaugh. There is a tremendous amount of confidence locally and not so much in Ann Arbor and Baton Rouge.

2. Aaron Odom - The long time Mississippi State four star defensive end commitment surprised many when he flipped to Louisville following a visit to see the Cardinals earlier this month. The following weekend, Odom and his father took an official visit to Starkville. Since that time, there has been some rising optimism that he returns into the Bulldog fold on Wednesday. 

3. D.D. Bowie - The U.S. Army All-American wide receiver has been committed to Ole Miss for over a year after flipping from Alabama very early in the process. Most considered the matter settled, but unrest within the Ole Miss football program has Bowie considering other options. The Ludlow, Mississippi product took official visits to both Mississippi State and Ole Miss and has remained pretty quiet about his recruitment ever since. Many consider Bowie's pending a decision as close as a coin flip, but there appears to be quiet confidence in Starkville.

4. Jaquavious Collins - Better known as Duke Collins, the talented defensive end reports that he is set to sign with Mississippi State on Wednesday. Fresh off of a visit to Starkville, Collins is planning to ink on with the Bulldogs and enroll at a Mississippi junior college should he not earn NCAA clearinghouse approval.

5. Tae-kion Reed - The New Hope defensive tackle committed to Mississippi State during his official visit two weeks ago. The versatile big man took an official visit to Ole Miss over the weekend, but reported on Sunday and Monday of this week that he planned to stick with the Bulldogs. Rumors of a potential flip surfaced again this morning, but Reed reports that his college destination has not changed.

6. Clyde Edwards-Helaire - The Baton Rouge native jumped on an LSU offer shortly after it was extended early last year. Since that time, LSU has pursued other running backs, which caused the Baton Rouge Catholic star to consider his options. The three star back took an official visit to Mississippi State over the weekend, but as of Tuesday afternoon it appears that LSU's one running back in the 2017 signing class will be named Clyde.

7. Jordon Carty - The talented offensive tackle of South Broward (FL) picked up a ton of early offers from some SEC heavyweights. Despite a solid senior season, Carty saw spots begin to fill and only took official visits to Mississippi State, Oregon State and South Carolina. Sources within the scout network suggest South Carolina is expected to win this late recruiting battle on the strength of their official visit this past weekend.

8. Jordan Rhodes - The late blooming Rhodes picked up a handful of offers from programs after just his first year of organized football this past fall. Mississippi State, Missouri and South Carolina were all set to receive January visits, but in the end the Tigers were the odd man out. Rhodes shared this morning that he had not reached a decision and that his finalists remain the Bulldogs and Gamecocks. While nothing is final until it is final, South Carolina looks to be the pick here.

9. Denzel Houston - Houston was committed to Western Michigan, but re-opened his recruitment after a coaching change there. Houston was brought in on official visit by Mississippi State, but the Bulldogs stopped short of offering. Houston visited both Florida Atlantic and Florida International and both of those programs appear poised to take him should he offer his commitment.

10. Mohamed Sanogo - The four star linebacker decommitted from Houston after Coach Tom Herman elected to move on to the University of Texas. Sanogo has taken official visits to both Mississippi State and Ole Miss. UCLA recently offered and appear to be in the mix despite their late entry into the race. Ole Miss looked to be the favorite entereing the visits, but the late word is the Bulldogs could likely land the Plano, Texas star should they make a move in his direction.


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