Down the Stretch They Come

The stretch run begins after the Holiday break when the next to last dead period of the recruiting calendar ends. New names may emerge between now and signing day, but with spots quickly filling up prospects can ill afford to wait things out much longer.

With three offensive line commitments already in the fold, it looked like the Bulldogs may be done at the position. The strong play of Columbus product Tobias Smith coupled with what projects to be a thin in state class of sled pushers next year led the State coaching staff to offer Smith the chance to grey shirt this fall and enroll on scholarship in the spring of 2009.

Smith capped off a strong senior season with a standout performance at the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star camp. A few other schools have begun to take notice of Tobias' ability, but at this point it looks like he is leaning towards taking the Bulldogs up on their offer.

The Bulldogs lose three receivers this year and are on schedule to lose four more scholarship wide outs after the 2008 season. To say that the personnel group needs some reinforcements is putting it mildly.

State gained commitments from Delmon Robinson, Charles Bailey and Terrance Davis back over the summer, but the staff appears to be looking for more.

LaRon Byrd put his name on the Bullodgs' radar late in the season when he elected to take an unofficial visit to Starkville for the Alabama game. Since that time the Bulldogs have shown Byrd plenty of attention and the talented wideout is scheduled to take an official visit the weekend of January 18th.

Byrd, a long time LSU lean, is now considering other options since the Tigers have been slow to offer. Auburn appears to be the Bulldogs' toughest competition for Byrd's signing day signature assuming the Bayou Bengals stay out of the running.

Greg Childs commmitted to Arkansas over Mississippi State and others prior to the season. The recent turnover of coaching staffs in Fayetteville has Childs rethinking his college destination.

Childs thought enough of the Bulldogs to take an official visit earlier this month and from all accounts the visit was a good one. Arkansas will certainly make every effort to retain Childs as a target in Bobby Petrino's pass happy offense, but I expect Ole Miss and Houston Nutt to figure prominently in Greg's final decision.

Alonzo Lawrence has had some very interesting things throughout his recruitment. Fans of Mississippi High School football were well aware of Alonzo's talent prior to this season, but now folks around the nation are finally realizing what we all knew all along, the kid can play.

Lawrence currently lists Alabama as his favorite, but this one is far from over. Alonzo made mention in an earlier interview that he was not hearing as much from the Bulldog coaching staff as he was earlier in the process. It will be interesting to see what course of action each party takes in the remaining weeks.

The Bulldogs, like all teams, are looking to improve their overall team speed. Philip Pierre-Louis looks to be just what the doctor ordered.

Philip took an official visit to Starkville back during the season and the speedster seemed ready to commit to the Bulldogs shortly after his senior season. Late offers from Auburn, Colorado and Iowa State appear to have complicated matters and changed Philip's time frame for a decision. Auburn appears to be the school the Bulldogs need to beat out for his services.

St. Paul's won an Alabama state football title this season and perhaps the most overlooked player on the star studded team is WR/CB Louis Watson.

Watson has already visited Mississippi State officially and he has kept them among his favorites since that time. Louis plans to take a couple of other visits before making a decision. If a spot is still available, the Bulldogs could be in a position to take Louis.

One the defensive side of the ball, it looks like the Bulldogs have made a commitment to shore up the defensive line with some quality reinforcements. Despite earning commitments from some of the state's top prospects along the defensive front wall, the Bulldogs are still targeting a few other prospects.

Andre Wadley is a name that Bulldog fans have been following for a few years now and many hoped Andre would make an early decision to follow his brother's footsteps to Mississippi State. Wadley has said from the beginning of his recruitment that he wants to win and play in bowl games on a regular basis.

The Bulldogs have strong ties to Hernando and have had some very good success over the years in signing players like NFL standout Kevin Dockery, Deljuan Robinson and Andre's older brother Johnny Wadley. The recent rumblings out of the Wadley camp suggest that Mississippi State is in good shape with Andre.

South Florida has seen the Bulldogs' Offensive coordinator, Woody McCorvey, become a regular visitor. One of McCorvey's top remaining targets from the area is Miami-Norland product Sean Ferguson.

Ferguson recently took his official visit to Mississippi State and it appears that the Bulldogs are in the driver's seat should they elect to take the talented defensive end. Sean will take at least one other scheduled visit before making his college decision.

Another name on the radar is Brandon Whitty from St. Augustine, Florida. Whitty holds several offers, but reports that the Bulldogs are recruiting him the hardest.

Brandon is scheduled to visit State the weekend of January 18th. By the time that weekend rolls around, the Bulldogs may already know the college destination of Ferguson and Wadley. It will be interesting to see if Whitty is still in the mix at that time.

The linebacker position is one that I admit has me scratching my head just a bit. There are a few names floating around out there, but it's tough to get a grasp on which one is THE one.

Tyran Golden of Lithonia, Georgia was all set to pull the trigger, but before his commitment was accepted he was offered the chance to grey shirt rather than enroll on scholarship in the fall.

Golden is currently considering his options, including the option to delay his enrollment and play SEC football.

The reports from those close to Fayette-Ware linebacker Ricky Holloway suggest that he may be leaning the Bulldogs' way.

Ricky reports that the Bulldogs are in regular contact with him, but are not pushing him for a commitment just yet.

St. Thomas Aquinas' safety/linebacker prospect Christian Thompson picked up early offers from LSU and Miami, but the two national heavyweights appear to be looking in a different direction now.

Mississippi State offered Thompson a few months back and quickly found favor with the hard hitting defensive play maker. Auburn has come in with a late offer and appear to be making their move. If the Bulldogs elect to sign Christian they will have to beat out the Tigers to do it.

Basketball star Falando Jones proved to be a natural on the football field. Jones picked up a late offer from the MSU staff, but a career in college hoops appears to be Jones' dream.

It appears that the Bulldogs have cooled on the idea of signing Falando. Unless he makes a move to get back in the mix he could find himself settling for a junior college basketball offer.

Charles Mitchell was named Gatorade's Player of the Year for the state of Mississippi. Charles was a prospect the Bulldogs targeted early in the process and a visit to Starkville for the Alabama game appeared to pique Mitchell's interest.

At one time Charles appeared to be headed to Ole Miss, but he never seemed ready to pull the trigger on a decision. The Rebel coaching staff that was recruiting Mitchell has since been replaced, as a result the Liberty Bowl bound Bulldogs made a move up Charles' list of favorites. It appears that State is in good shape with Charles....for now.

Florida All-Star Rashard Hall elected to reschedule his vist with Mississippi State and replace it with a trip to South Carolina. Hall really wants to play wide out and the Bulldogs and Gamecocks are the only two of his 20+ offers who are considering that position as an option.

Hall reports that he would like to visit Mississippi State before making a decision, but says that a decision could come before he finalizes those plans.

It looks like Rashun Dixon's stock in the eyes of Major League Baseball scouts has complicated his football recruitment. Several schools have expressed interest, but the book on Rashun appears to be that he will either go in the MLB draft or he will go to Mississippi State.

Linden, Alabama safety Seandre Richardson claims that the Bulldogs are still in contact with him and that he does have some interest. Clemson appears to be the front runner and it looks like some the Bulldogs may have to strike out with some other targets before they make a big push for Richardson.

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