A few of these true frosh were at Mississippi State for the June semester, their high schools graduating earlier than most and having been certified by the NCAA's clearinghouse. Most had to wait until later in June for both graduation and clearance.
These first-year rookies join State's junior college signees for 2007 who were present in June. DL Jimmie Holmes, WR Co-Eric Riley, and cornerbacks Jasper O'Quinn and Chris Nance reported for the first semester. Already enrolled for the regular spring semester were mid-year junior college transfers DT Jessie Bowman, LB Dominic Douglass, and QB Josh Riddell.
As of Monday signee OL Dakota Merritt was still awaiting notice of clearance and hoping he could enroll as hoped for July. The semester deadline is Wednesday.
Another true freshman, OL Colton Jenkins, reportedly has met qualifying standards but has chosen to delay enrollment until 2008 and attend junior college first without losing any athletic eligibility at State.
That leaves eight members of the 2007 freshman signing class who either have not been cleared in time for July school; who expect to be cleared but not enroll for a year as has Jenkins; or are not projected to qualify. In the first case would be QB Chris Relf, who has yet to be certified as of Monday. LB Maurice Crutison reportedly could be eligible but due to a serious prep knee injury that cost him all but two senior year games he appears intent on delaying college until completely rehabilitated. And WR O'Neal Wilder is working towards eligibility and certification for fall enrollment if possible.
At this point it seems five players signed in February either know they will not qualify or are not expected to. One, DB Antwon Dixon, will enroll in junior college. The remaining question marks are DL Korentheus Bailey, DL Jazzmen Guy, DB Mike Hunt, and LB Antonio White.
This has been planned for by the Mississippi State staff though, as 34 players including the three spring enrollees were in the February signing class. State, thanks to having one of those three ‘counted back' against the 2006 class, is able to bring in 26 new players for 2007, thus eight need to either delay enrollment (or ‘grayshirt') or not qualify.
Fall practices begin August 1, two days before the July semester exams conclude.