MSU Recruiting Notebook

In just ten days approximately two dozen high school players will put pen to paper and officially become Mississippi State Bulldogs. With just two weekends left in the recruiting process, the Bulldogs are still in pursuit of a few uncommitted prospects.

The Bulldog staff is playing host to several players this weekend in what is scheduled to be the final visitors for the 2008 signing class. Rumors have suggested that another prospect or two could visit Starkville next weekend, but so far those rumors have been unsubstantiated.

One name that has surfaced as a possible visitor for the final weekend is Liberty-Eylau High school standout LaMichael James. While James' name has not been commonly thrown about this recruiting season in Bulldog circles, he is not a plan B guy or a prospect who has emerged late in the process. Bulldog Coach J.B. Grimes has been recruiting LaMichael for some time.

I had the chance to speak with LaMichael back on Monday and the talented runner was considering taking one final visit despite being committed to the University of Oregon. James had tenatively set plans to visit MSU back during the weekend of the 18th, but those plans fell through when he committed to Oregon.

LaMichael says he is "pretty firm" in his commitment to Oregon, but that he may take the trip to MSU just be sure he made the right decision. As of this weekend any plans for next weekend have not been finalized.

All day on Friday rumors ran rampant that George County superstar Alonzo Lawrence may be visiting MSU next weekend.

Lawrence has not mentioned MSU much at all in his last several interviews, but has still maintained contact with the Bulldog coaching staff sometimes even intitiating the contact himself.

Alonzo and I traded some text messages Friday afternoon prior to him leaving for his official visit to Miami. If he is officially visiting Mississippi State next weekend, he is not ready to go on record with that information. He reported this afternoon that he has no plans to visit any school next weekend.

Andre Wadley officially visited MSU last weekend and by all accounts the visit was a very good one. Wadley has played his cards close to his vest throughout the process and he reported just yesterday that he would be making his decision between Auburn, Mississippi State and Tennessee.

It appears that one of the three schools named as a finalist, Auburn, has already filled their final spot for a defensive lineman.

Desire Street Academy standout Freddie Smooth committed to Auburn on Friday which appears to eliminate the Tigers as a contender for Wadley.

With Tennessee losing three defensive ends to graduation, Andre may become more of a priority for Coach Fulmer and the Vols. The dominoes appear to be falling the Bulldogs way. In the end I expect Wadley to sign with State.

Charles Mitchell is officially visiting Southern Miss this weekend as part of their big recruiting weekend. Charles is once again being recruited by Coach Tony Hughes who landed in Hattiesburg after the shake-up in Oxford.

Mitchell plans to officially visit Michigan next weekend and I am not sure I blame him. Most college football fans would love to see the Big House. I would want my visit the same weekend as the Ohio State game, but I digress.

Ole Miss has made a late run at Charles in an attempt to get him to squeeze in for a visit to Oxford in one of the final two weekends, but it looks like that is not going to work out for the Rebels.

Charles' parents have told him that they would really prefer him to stay closer to home, so they could be nearby and get the chance to see him play. Barring something unforeseen, I expect the Mitchells get their wish on signing day.

People close to Christian Thompson are telling me that they expect him to stick with his commitment to Auburn. Christian is rather mum on the subject, but the situation does not appear to be totally resolved.

There has been some speculation that Thompson was offered a grey shirt by the Tigers, but I am told that information is incorrect.

Thompson's final destination may not be fully known until signing day, but it appears the Bulldogs' chances are more on the hopeful side rather than optimistic.

Thompson visited last weekend and if nothing else MSU gave him something else to consider. The situation bears watching, but the spot Christian would need may not be there if he attempts to make a late defection.

LaRon Byrd has been a very difficult prospect to get a read on. Byrd talks favorably about MSU, but always seems to forget about the Bulldogs when he names his favorites.

LaRon is visiting Nebraska this weekend, but the Huskers do not appear to be a serious contender. Byrd has told me as well as those close to him that he does not want to play in a cold weather state and that he really would prefer to stay closer to home in the southeast.

Auburn, Miami, Mississippi State and Tulane are all in the southeast and all appear to have offered.

The Tigers are going to a spread offense next season, but seem to be stocked with young wide outs. Auburn loses just one senior receiver from it's roster and there are currently five other wide receiver prospects committed to the Tigers.

Miami reportedly offered LaRon last weekend after his visit to Starkville. I am told that the Hurricanes would love a big receiver like Byrd in the class, but they are up against a numbers crunch.

Coach Randy Shannon scheduled Byrd for the final possible weekend for a visit which smells a lot like what happened with O'Neil Wilder.

Miami offered a visit the last weekend which essentially prolonged Wilder's recruitment while the Hurricanes waited for the traffic clear with other prospects on their board.

The latest information on the Miami offer leads me to believe that they are offering a grey shirt while they figure out a way to get LaRon in. Despite being a childhood favorite, this strategy may cost the U.

Tulane is very close to home and that in and of itself presents some nice benefits for LaRon. The challenge the Green Wave has with Byrd is convincing him they can win while he is on campus. At this time it appears Byrd would have to fall to them rather than him picking them out right.

I believe the Bulldogs are in the LaRon Byrd fan club until the very end. With the roster changes at his position he has suddenly become more of a priority. He is also different than the other receivers the Bulldogs have committed, so he brings a different dynamic to the class.

If State can land him and that still remains a big if, I think they make room for him in the class. I just do not see a scenario where Byrd loses a spot.

I would not totally rule out the possibility of a new name or two emerging in the coming week. Every year Coach Croom and his staff have added commitments from prospects in the final week of the process. It should be an eventful stretch.

Know a big time player we may have overlooked? Give me the low down at

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