Class of 2005 Prospect - CA RB Marlon Lucky

Mississippi State's new coaching staff is branching out from the East Coast to the West Coast in recruiting this year. Appearing not to be shy about who they are recruiting, one of the top 10 to 15 running backs in the nation, North Hollywood (CA) High School's Marlon Lucky (5-11, 200, 4.5), has been offered and is being actively pursued by them, according to his head coach, Brad Ratcliffe.

Marlon Lucky Profile:

Coach Croom and his coaching staff are proving, by not only offering but actively pursuing Marlon Lucky, that they aren't going to be shy when it comes to recruiting the really big-time, out-of-state prospects.

Lucky, a player that very likely will be rated one of the top 10 to 15 running backs in the country when TheInsiders comes out with their national rankings in June, appears to be a heavy lean to USC at the moment, but, after talking to his head coach Friday, MSU is doing more than just looking in the window.

"He's interested in Mississippi State," said coach Brad Ratcliffe, when asked if Mississippi State really has any chance with his star running back.

Just being named in the same sentence with Lucky is a plus for Mississippi State.

Another plus for Mississippi State is the fact that they will heavily utilize their running backs in the West Coast offense.

"He wants to go somewhere where they run the ball," said Ratcliffe.

While that is all well and good, since half the nation is probably recruiting Lucky and a lot of those schools run the ball as much as MSU will, where is the real hope for Mississippi State? Where's the hook? USC has a tradition of producing great running backs, just won a co-National Championship and have been recruiting him longer than anyone else. Those are their hooks. LSU, another school he is strongly looking at, is the other co in that co-National Championship and has produced several great running backs. There is no shortage of hooks for them, either. However, what does MSU have that those two colleges don't?

Simple: Coach Sylvester Croom. Or, more importantly, where Coach Croom has coached the past 17 years and who he has very successfully coached during those years.

"Marlon knows that Coach Croom is trying to turn it around at Mississippi State and has coached running backs on the pro level," said Ratcliffe about his star running back who rushed for almost 1,800 yards and scored 32 touchdowns last season. "Marlon likes that Coach Croom has coached Barry Sanders."

In other words, MSU's hook is that Lucky is very aware of the fact that Coach Croom knows how to successfully coach the great NFL running backs, something that appears to be very important in Lucky's recruitment.

Something else significant about this is in Lucky's last interview with SuperPrep/TheInsiders' Allen Wallace, Lucky said that Barry Sanders is someone that he runs similar to.

Maybe I'm grasping at straws here, because it appears to be nothing more than a long shot at the moment based on Lucky's own words in the Wallace interview, but there is no doubt that Coach Croom, like MSU basketball coach Rick Stansbury and MSU associate track coach Steve Dudley (two of the premier recruiters in the nation in their sports), doesn't appear to be a man who will shy away from a good recruiting battle.

And as he, Stansbury and Dudley all know, it is better to at least try than to not try at all. And who knows, maybe he will get Lucky and grab one of those straws.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher/owner of Gene's Page, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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