Mississippi State lost some of its best playmakers this offseason in quarterback Dak Prescott, wide receiver De’Runnya Wilson and linebacker Beniquez Brown. The Bulldogs already have Prescott’s replacement covered, and there are current players ready to step up in the absence of Wilson and Brown, but Mississippi State is in need of a healthy dose of talent in 2016. Signing Day should bring that to Starkville, and we’ve got everything you need to know about it here:
Mississippi State class breakdown
Ranking: No. 40 in the nation
Top targets: A.J. Brown (Four-star WR), Jeffery Simmons (Five-star DE), Derrick Brown (Five-star DT)
Total projected signees: 18
Names to know
Marquiss Spencer, DE – Spencer committed to the Bulldogs in November and is Mississippi State’s highest-rated commit in the Class of 2016.
Jamal Couch, WR – The Bulldogs’ second-highest ranked commit, the 6-foot-5, 243-pounder could see valuable playing time next season with Wilson out of the picture.
Stewart Reese, OL – Reese, the nation’s No. 19 offensive guard, committed to Mississippi State on Monday.
Erroll Thompson, LB – Thompson, the nation’s No. 15 inside linebacker and the 10th-best player from Alabama, was one of the first Bulldogs commits in the Class of 2016.
Storylines to watch
Who will fill the void left by De’Runnya Wilson’s early departure?
Couch originally committed to play at Florida State, but de-committed in December before pledging to Mississippi State in January. There should be no surprises from him on Wednesday, but wideout A.J. Brown is a different story. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound wide receiver is rated the No. 5 wide receiver in the country and the No. 3 recruit in Mississippi. Though Brown went to high school in Starkville, there is a chance he won’t sign with the Bulldogs, opting for Ole Miss or Alabama instead. Should Mississippi State land both high-profile wideouts, however, it’ll be interesting to see who gets the majority of snaps alongside senior Fred Ross in Starkville next season.
Will the Class of 2016 be impressive enough to improve expectations?
At the SEC Media Day before the 2015 season, Mississippi State was picked to finish last in the SEC West. It was a chip the Bulldogs carried on their shoulders the entire year, and while the team fell short of the bar it set in 2014, it’s safe to say they exceeded those predictions. But while Mississippi State’s 2016 recruiting class is solid, it currently ranks No. 12 in the SEC. Only Vanderbilt and Missouri are behind MSU. There is still a chance for the Bulldogs’ class to gain some high-profile names, with a few four and five-star recruits left on the board, but how good does the class need to be to improve expectations heading into 2016?
Mississippi State fans should feel good about Wednesday. Even if some of the high-profile players on the fence don’t choose the Bulldogs, Starkville will be swarmed with a skilled, diverse freshman class next season — it might not be anything crazy exciting, but the freshmen should help substantially. Coming off of the 2015 season, there were a few problem areas coach Dan Mullen and his staff needed to address, and the Bulldogs managed to find fresh talent at nearly every position they needed.
All player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.