Mr. Guru, what do you think Mississippi State's chances are with the quarterbacks they are recruiting?
"As you know, Gene, Mississippi State got a good one in their commitment Ty Evans from Lexington, Tennessee. Oh, I know he's not rated that highly by my little elves, those guys hired by Scout.com and other recruiting services to evaluate players, but then they don't see the entire package like I do. From way up here, I can I look at things beside game tapes or combines. I see the heart, desire and intelligence of a youngster. And he's a good one when it comes to those important traits. The Bulldog fans will be pleased with him during his career.
"Another youngster I feel will end up signing with Mississippi State is Jimmy Johns from Brookhaven High School. Jimmy was the heart and soul of his team and is a fierce competitor. The kid has five-star written all over him. He's the type player who can take a program to new heights. And he's still just seventeen years old. The sky - no pun intended - is the limit for Jimmy.
"There are a couple more quarterbacks that Mississippi State is showing interest in, but those are the two that will sign with the Bulldogs in February."
What about running backs, particularly big running backs? Mississippi State appears to be striking out in that area. Will there be any surprises in store for Bulldog fans?
"The Bulldogs set their sights on two good ones in Marlon Lucky and James Davis, but, sadly for Bulldogs fans, both are headed elsewhere. Another youngster the Mississippi State staff is looking at is Jeremy Bibbs from Northwest Rankin High School. He's had some serious legal problems off the field that removed him from consideration for most of the recruiting season, but it wouldn't surprise me to see things work out for the young man. And who knows what might happen, then. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me to see him appear on MSU's campus next fall as a walk-on. But, if he does do that, knowing Sly Croom the way I do, the youngster will be on a very, very short leash. Anyway, time will tell. A fourth running back that MSU is after is T.J. Pitts. He's not the big back the Bulldog coaches are after, but he's a very good back and they won't turn him down if he accepts their offer. However, right now, I don't see him as MSU-bound."
State received a commitment from Brandon Hart, a fullback from Troup County High School in LaGrange, GA. What do you know about him? Also, are there other fullbacks out there that MSU is recruiting?
"He's a kid with great heart. What's hurt him with other colleges is his lack of great speed, but, as you know, Mississippi State has lived off of fullbacks just like this guy. In fact, they've sent several to the NFL. He will be a solid fullback in college.
"As for the second part of your question, Hart is the MSU coaches guy, he's the fullback they were looking for, so you won't see any other names crop up."
Mississippi State is loaded with young tight ends. Do you see MSU seriously recruiting a tight end this year?
"They are after Careg Bonner, but he's going elsewhere. Michael Gates is a tight end/offensive lineman type they are recruiting. He likes the Bulldogs, as well as Ole Miss and Kentucky. He looks to be more of an offensive lineman than tight end. Right now, I think MSU's chances are 50/50. However, I have a feeling the longer he waits to make a commitment, the less chance he has to be a Bulldog."
As you know, Mississippi State is looking far and wide for big wide receivers with great speed? Are they going to find a couple?
"(Loud laugh) Who isn't, Gene, who isn't. To answer your question, I think they found one that fits that mold to a tee, James Lewis. Just to give you a heads up, I like that fellow, Sly Croom, a lot, so I made sure he found out about James through the Miller family. Aren't those folks some of the nicest people you have ever talked to? They help youngsters by extending a helping hand when they are a little down on their luck. James, who lived in a gang-infested part of Los Angeles, but stayed away from them thanks to the help of his father and brother needed a helping hand and needed it quickly after an unfortunate event happened to his dad. Then, like guardian angels, along came the Millers to pull him out of a situation that was life-threatening for James. When they brought him in, they helped him with love and discipline. Sly is the same type person. Because of that love and discipline, Lewis will thrive under him just like he did while living with the Millers. Remember, while he lived with them, he wound up Los Angeles Player of the Year. You add love and discipline to great talent and that's what you sometimes get.
"Another youngster they are recruiting that I think they will sign is Julius McClellan. You know all about Julius because you videotaped him playing against East Mississippi Community College his freshman season. He had a phenomenal game that night. He's a guy that any college in the country would love to have starting for them and he's got the offers to prove it.
"A third youngster that appears to be a future Bulldog is Jared Cook. Jared, while as big as the first two guys I mentioned, doesn't quite have the speed, but he's got tremendous leaping ability, which helps offset that lack of blazing speed.
"A fourth young man that is already committed to Mississippi State is Adron Chambers. While on the smallish side, he has unbelievable quickness. In fact, he might be quicker than Mississippi State freshman Jonathan Lowe. It's too bad he suffered a knee injury in the all-star game. It looks like that will cause him to redshirt his freshman season at State. But, look out in 2006.
"Overall, Mississippi State's coaching staff started out slow but really gained steam at the end and will pull off two recruiting coups with the signings of Lewis and McClellan."
Ok, we've got quarterbacks, running backs, fullbacks, tight ends and wide receivers out of the way. Now, the big one: offensive line. What's your thoughts on the O-Line?
"So far, I would say it's solid, with a chance to be great. I see that puzzled look on your face, like you are thinking what the heck does he mean by that? Here's what I mean.
"Mississippi State has two former Bulldog offensive linemen coming back, tackle James Redmond and guard Brad Weathers. Both will push the current linemen at State and push them hard. In fact, either one could wind up starting by opening day, especially Weathers.
"In addition to those two, Mississippi State has three commitments from guys that aren't highly rated, but are very solid players. Craig Jenkins doesn't have great quickness, but he has great size and the heart and the intelligence to be a solid lineman in the SEC. Chris Spencer is a good size youngster who has tremendous quickness. In fact, he has foot quickness similar to Bulldog David Stewart, although he doesn't have that same junkyard mentality...yet. But then, who does? Thinking about that, the next youngster might just have it. Johnny Carpenter from Alabama has a mean streak in him. The kid plays with 100% heart everytime he takes the field. All he lacks is the height that most schools are looking for, but his mentality makes up for what he lacks in height. He's a guy that is going to surprise a lot of folks. I fully expect he can be a player along the lines of David Stewart before he leaves Mississippi State.
"Now, here's what I meant by great. My crystal ball tells me that - drum roll please - Calvin Wilson will be a Bulldog. Yes, you heard it here first. He will be a Bulldog. My little recruiting elves don't know how good this kid really is. I know there are other players in the state of Mississippi that have gotten more hype by my elves, but I'm telling you he has a chance to be better than any of them. The kid has greatness written all over him. When he publicly commits, the football offices in the Bryan Building will shake, maybe all the way down to the foundation. I guarantee it. Sly knows how good this kid is. He's just hoping all the other coaches don't figure it out until they face Calvin on Saturday afternoon.
"And to add icing to the cake, I predict that the super talented Josh McNeil will also commit to the Bulldogs. While my crystal ball was a little more fuzzy on this one than it was with the Wilson prediction and I'm going out on a limb predicting it, I still feel ok saying it. Let's just hope they both don't commit to the Bulldog coaches at the same time. If they do, Lord knows, that green roof on the Bryan Building might just cave in from all the shaking.
"Well, Gene, that pretty much takes care of the offensive side of the ball. To tell you the truth, I'm a little tired after all this recruiting predicting. Plus, Mrs. Guru in the Sky wants me to go shopping with her. And, as you know, it's hard to say no to our wives during Christmas time. So, how about I come back and visit with you tomorrow night and we'll talk about the defense. Is that ok with you?
That sounds fine to me. Talk to you tomorrow night. Have fun shopping and tell Mrs. Guru hello from Mary Ann and me.
Ok, guys. We'll have the MSU defensive recruiting report from the Great Recruiting Guru in the Sky Thursday morning. Let's hope that news is as good as today's news is.
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing email@example.com.