"First Team Meeting" Weekend Approaches

For the third year in a row the Mississippi State coaching staff will be hosting several of their committed prospects in what has been described by Top Dawg Sylvester Croom as the first team meeting.

In 2005, the Bulldog coaching staff brought in a mixture of 27 committed and non-committed prospects for the Janauary 14th weekend. The Bulldogs earned 20 commitments from those 27 prospects including post visit pledges from Anthony Johnson, Quinton Wesley, Calvin Wilson and Tray Rutland.

In 2006, Twenty interested prospects made the trek to Starkville the weekend of January 20th. The mix that year was more towards the committed players and a few top uncommitted recruits. Fourteen players who visited that weekend signed with State on signing day including mid and post visit pledges from Reggie Odom, Alex Dekle, Tim Bailey and All-SEC Freshman Anthony Dixon.

As the first big recruiting weekend approaches this weekend, the invitation list is full of committed prospects some of which are among the Bulldogs most ardent and rabid supporters.

Oak Mountain prospect D.J. Looney is no stranger to the Mississippi State campus, but this weekend's visit may be the talented offensive lineman's most anticipated.

"I am ready to get there and see everybody," said D.J. "I am looking forward to having the chance to get to know some of my future teammates and just becoming more familiar with the campus."

Looney, an All-State selection from Alabama, has had his share of local pressure to consider one of his instate schools. A recent episode stood out to D.J.

"I was talking with (someone) and they were asking me about my visit and things like that. They wanted to know what I expected to get out of the visit to State. They asked me if I was considering any other options. I told them that I was solid with Mississippi State and they couldn't get off the phone fast enough," chuckled D.J.

Besides the tour of the facilities, meetings with academic advisors and bonding with future teammates, the weekend should serve as a reinforcement to some prospects growing weary of the recruiting process.

"I want get up there and just enjoy myself for a while," said Antonio White. "I really enjoy talking with Coach Croom, so I am looking forward to that. I talked to Marcus Green tonight and we were both talking about how excited we were to be visiting this weekend. I am looking forward to seeing Marcus and Lee Chambers."

Alabama prepster Chris Relf has visited the campus unofficially on a few occassions, but Relf is looking forward to the guided tour and a family gathering of sorts.

"The main thing I am looking forward to is just getting to meet a lot of the players and all of the coaches," said Relf. "From the beginning it has always felt like a family to me. Coach Croom was the first person from Mississippi State I ever talked to. I liked the way he talked even back then. He told me if I came there he would treat me like I was family and take care of me. There were a lot of schools recruiting me when I committed. Schools like Vanderbilt, Memphis, Southern Miss and Texas A&M were all calling me and recruiting me hard, but once I decided to go to Mississippi State most of them quit calling. Coach Croom and Coach McCorvey have always made me feel like I made the right decision."

While the weekend of the 19th will certainly be a weekend full of food, fun and fellowship, the weekend of the 26th will be a very important weekend as some of the Bulldogs' top targets will be on campus with the balance of the committed Bulldogs-to-be.

Arkansas 7A State Champion fullback Ethan Stockett is coming in that weekend. The hard hitting path maker is anxious to see facets of the MSU campus he is not yet familiar with.

"I am looking forward to getting to meet a lot of the players and hang out with them," said Ethan. "I want to meet some of my professors and just see what it's all like."

The well spoken Stockett will be one of a handful of Bulldog commitments visiting the same weekend as highly sought after prospects Robert Elliot, Jamie Jones, Dallas Walker, O'Neal Wilder and Darrius Young all get an up close look at all things Bulldog.

With Darrius Young expected to make his commitment to the Bulldogs official during his visit if not before, the weekend of the 26th could prove to be one filled with excitement and perhaps a surprise or two.

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