What you need to know about Mississippi State's 2020 recruiting class
Joe Moorhead won the Egg Bowl to clinch Mississippi State’s 10th consecutive bowl bid and promptly told everybody they were going to have to drag his Yankee backside out of town.
Rutgers hired Greg Schiano. Other places hired other coaches. All that noise? Background.
Moorhead, already a Bulldog, is becoming more and more a piece of the Mississippi State fabric every day.
That’s critical as he continues to compete for the top recruits in the Southeast, all while silencing the rumors that he was about to head north.
How’s he doing?
Here’s what you need to know about Mississippi State’s 2020 recruiting class as we race toward the Early Signing Period (Dec. 18-20).
- National rank: 20
- SEC rank: 9
- 5-stars: 0
- 4-stars: 5
- 3-stars: 17
Best player: 4-star RB Jo’Quavious Marks
Georgia might be the pivotal recruiting ground for SEC and ACC teams.
Moorhead has a commitment from Marks, a standout from Atlanta who is the No. 18 player in the state, No. 15 running back in the class and No. 145 player overall.
Marks’ team recently lost in the state playoffs. He finished with 1,961 yards and 23 TDs.
We know how important a versatile feature back is in Moorhead’s offense. All-SEC performer Kylin Hill not only led the league in rushing yards (1,347) but also had 17 catches. That total might not sound overwhelming, but Deddrick Thomas led the Bulldogs with 29 receptions.
How soon Marks makes his mark might depend heavily on whether Hill returns for his senior season or declares early for the NFL Draft.
Assessing the QB room
Garrett Shrader is a rising sophomore and the presumed starter. Moorhead handpicked him last year.
The only QB in this class is 3-star pro-style passer Will Rogers, the No. 25 QB overall in the class and No. 20 player in Mississippi. He had an offer from Mike Leach at Washington State, so coaches see potential.
Jaden Walley is a dual-threat QB, but it remains to be seen whether he was recruited for that position.
Is another grad transfer a possibility? That’s certainly one of the spring storylines to follow.
Biggest need filled
This class has 22 commitments, so there isn’t a lot of room left to grow.
It’s clear that Moorhead and his staff targeted athletic wide receivers, which is something his first 2 teams lacked.
Two of the top 6 recruits are receivers — or a receiver listed as an athlete.
Two other WR recruits are coming from the JUCO ranks, including 6-5 Caleb Ducking.
Moorhead knows the passing game has to become more explosive to get this offense at the level he wants.
Biggest need that needs to be filled
The Bulldogs started 3 seniors along the defensive line.
Replacing them as starters isn’t necessary because there is plenty of youth on the depth chart. But in this league, that rotational depth is a wheel that never stops rolling.
It’s interesting that Moorhead hit the JUCO market hard for defensive line help.
The Bulldogs’ best defensive recruit thus far is Jordan Davis, a 4-star WDE from the JUCO ranks who should be ready to step in and contribute. Two other JUCO linemen have committed as well.
Best position group
Moorhead values playmakers. What coach doesn’t right? Fair enough, but it notable how many athletes this class includes.
The message is: Come here, compete, and we’ll find the best spot for you to get on the field.
Moorhead has several recruits listed as athletes, and invariably, a few might find their way to the defense.
If that happens, the secondary could end up being the best position group. It already includes Emmanuel Forbes, a 4-star corner ranked the 12th-best at his position in the nation. Forbes is the No. 2-ranked player in Mississippi. Javorrious Selmon, the No. 16-ranked player in Mississippi is listed as an athlete for recruiting purposes, but his natural position is cornerback.
Janari Dean, the No. 14-ranked player in Mississippi, is the top-rated safety in the state.