(AP) Mississippi State’s national signing day was relatively quiet compared to many other schools in the Southeastern Conference.
And that’s exactly the way coach Dan Mullen wanted it to be.
The Bulldogs completed a 28-person class on Wednesday that didn’t have much drama. The only moderate surprise was a good one — linebacker Leo Lewis picked Mississippi State over rival Ole Miss and LSU.
Mullen called it a “great, balanced class,” saying it will eventually help fill some of the holes left by departing defensive stars like Preston Smith and Benardrick McKinney.
Mississippi State is coming off one of the most successful seasons in school history. The Bulldogs finished with a 10-3 record and were the No. 1 ranked team in the country for five weeks.
The class is especially deep at linebacker with Lewis and Jamal Peters, who are both 4-star recruits according to Rivals.com. The Bulldogs also brought in five players listed as defensive linemen.
On offense, Mississippi State took seven receivers and four offensive linemen.
Lewis added a little drama to the day — picking the Bulldogs over some of the school’s fiercest SEC Western Division rivals — but most of Mullen’s class had been committed to the program for months.
“We’ve been with these guys so long,” Mullen said. “So they felt very comfortable with us as a staff and what we have going on here. When they committed early, they did so because of the feeling they had about the program and they came over here so often.”
As is customary for Mullen, he stayed close to home when looking for talent. Fifteen of the 28 signees are from Mississippi.
Mullen said that the school’s more than month-long stay at No. 1 didn’t alter his recruiting approach.
“It just showed you can be No. 1 in the nation here and can have a comfortable feeling knowing you can stay at home and do those things,” Mullen said.
Top 25 Class: Yes.
Best in class: Jamal Peters, LB
Best of the rest: Martinas Rankin, OL, Donald Gray, ATH
Late addition: Leo Lewis, LB
One that got away: Gabriel Campbell, DL. He’s from Yazoo City, Mississippi, but is headed to Oklahoma.