Coach Dan Mullen and Mississippi State took some heat for the team’s decision to originally grant 5-star defensive end Jeffery Simmons the No. 36.
The number holds a special meaning within the Bulldogs’ community as it was worn by former Bulldogs defensive lineman Nick Bell. Bell started four games for Mississippi State in 2010 before undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in his brain, and passed away in November of that year. No player has worn it full-time since then.
“That’s not finalized yet,” Mullen said at SEC Media Days when asked about the decision. “I think they posted the numbers with some discussions we’re going to have. That’s something we’re going to continue to look at.”
It seems that Mullen stayed true to his word.
Simmons, who was filmed striking a women several times in March, is listed as No. 98 on the team’s latest roster, according to the Clarion-Ledger’s Michael Bonner.
The Bulldogs’ first 5-star recruit since Chris Jones in 2013 will be suspended for Mississippi State’s first game against South Alabama after he was found guilty of malicious mischief last week. Simmons also entered a no contest plea to the charge of simple assault.
Simmons was a 5-star recruit out of Noxubee County High School (Macon, Miss.), and was rated as the nation’s No. 3 strong-side defensive end and the country’s No. 19 overall player. He chose the Bulldogs on National Signing Day over the likes of Alabama, Ole Miss and Tennessee.