Joe Moorhead and his Mississippi State staff likely knew they pulled off a major recruiting victory when they kept in-state lineman Charles Cross away from Ole Miss and from leaving the state and attending Florida State or USC. Now they know that without a shadow of a doubt.

Landing a five-star offensive tackle is something few programs manage to do in a recruiting cycle, there simply aren’t many of these players out there each and every recruiting cycle, but it’s one thing to land a promising recruit, it’s another when that player lives up to the hype after arriving on campus.

That’s certainly something Mississippi State offensive line coach Marcus Johnson believes he has in the former All-American Bowl participant. The nation’s No. 5 offensive tackle prospect in the 2019 recruiting cycle is living up to the hype in Starkville.

During his recent media availability, Johnson could not stop from raving about the true freshman when his name was brought up.

“That kid there is phenomenal. He is going to be a superstar one day,” Johnson said in a video posted to YouTube by Gene’s Page. “Sharp kid from a football IQ standpoint, very coachable. You tell him something one time he can apply it from the classroom to the football field. As humble as they come, he can hold his own against the starters that he faces. It will be interesting to watch him today getting a lot of reps against our No. 1 defense. I expect him to go out and do what he’s been doing.”

Coach Johnson then took his praise of the freshman to another level, noting Cross is not only physically gifted but has the right approach to the game that allows young players the opportunity to come in and play right away at the SEC level.

“To be honest with you guys, I don’t think I’ve ever been around a true freshman with his ability, along with his mental capacity. Such a mature young man for his age,” Johnson continued. “He doesn’t act like a freshman at all. Doesn’t really joke around, he’s real business-minded, kinda like [former MSU lineman] Deion Calhoun. That’s one of the reasons Charles is ahead of the other freshmen, because he’s been here going on nine months and he’s learned with some pretty good players. He’s done well.”

This time of year, there are freshmen all over the nation that likely expected to play and possibly start right out of the gate but find out the reality is they are not ready for this level of competition immediately. Based on everything Johnson had to say about his star freshman, Cross definitely does not fit into that category.

While Mississippi State returns a veteran offensive line, it won’t be a surprise to see the freshman on the field early this season. Once he does take the field, it’s likely going to be impossible to keep him off it for the next three to four seasons.