Signing Day live thread: Scouting reports on MSU football’s signees

JXZWKBVAGWGMZWV.20150127213629As part of the National Signing Day festivities, we’ll be sharing scouting reports on each of Mississippi State’s football signees from the coaches who recruited them and will work with them on campus. We’ll start ahead of time with the signees who enrolled in school early in January, counting toward the 2014 class, and this page will be updated all morning on Signing Day as signatures and faxes roll in for the 2015 class. The most recent signees will be listed at the top, so scroll down to find anyone you may have missed.

Make sure to visit for full bios and statistics on each signee.

Leo Lewis – LB, 6-2, 231 pounds. Brookhaven, Miss. (Brookhaven High School)

Manny Diaz says: “Just an instinctive linebacker. Great feel for the game. Great athleticism, explosive, carries a big pop. He can go sideline-to-sideline.”

Tony Hughes says: “One of the premier linebackers in America. By some, the No. 1-rated linebacker in the country. Runs well, physical player in the box. Seems to have a great upside and would be someone that has the possibility of playing and contributing early.”

TD Moton – DL, 6-3, 310 pounds. Shreveport, La. (Woodlawn High School)

David Turner says: “I saw him the spring going into his junior year. Big, athletic guy. He’s kind of a freak for a guy his size. He committed to us as a junior, then flipped, then ended up coming back, so we’re glad to have him. You can’t ever have too many of those big athletic guys inside. He’s raw in terms of football and he’s a young man that really when it came down to it, went with his heart. He wanted to be at Mississippi State. Enjoyed his experience here when he was a junior at one of our ball games. Looking forward to having a chance to get him in and develop him. Big, athletic guy that can do some things inside for us.”

John Hevesy says: “Good kid. Athletic defensive lineman. An inside guy that’s very athletic, great use of hands, can run.”

Jamal Peters – DB, 6-2, 216 pounds. Bassfield, Miss. (Bassfield High School)

Tony Hughes says: “A highly-recruited athlete. No. 1 player in the state of Mississippi. He has excellent speed, excellent size and is projected as one of the top safeties in the country. A dual athlete that plays on offense, he can run the ball, he can catch the ball. He’s played safety, outside linebacker, corner. Very, very excited to get him in the program. Feel like one day he’ll be a difference-maker.”

Traver Jung – LB, 6-4, 215 pounds. Greeneville, Miss. (Holmes Community College)

Manny Diaz says: “Big-time athlete. Great length, great range, adds a lot of versatility into your defense. Can really do a lot of the same things that Matt Wells was able to do in the defense. A guy that will be looked at to help us out early on.”

Darryl Williams – OL, 6-3, 304 pounds. Bessemer, Al. (Bessemer City High School)

John Hevesy says: “Center who played in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star game. I think he’s the third-ranked center in the country. He fills a need at the center position for me and can hopefully come in and contribute early.”

Keith Joseph – DL/LB, 6-4, 226 pounds. Pascagoula, Miss. (Pascagoula High School)

Brian Johnson says: “He’s a second-generation Bulldog, his dad played for the Dawgs. A very, very good defensive end. I think his biggest attribute is his motor. He plays with relentless effort and has a great passion for the game. He can get to the quarterback and make plays using his speed off the edge. Looking forward to him being a great addition to the program.”

Dontea Jones – WR, 6-4, 235 pounds. Louisville, Miss. (Louisville High School)

Scott Sallach says: “Big, athletic guy growing into the position. He’s gonna be our type of guy who can do a lot of different things. Just a big body, gonna keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Great kid.”

Justin Johnson – WR, 6-4, 224 pounds. Birmingham, Al. (Hoover High School)

Billy Gonzales says: “JJ is a big, big athletic kid. Another kid that came to Big Dawg Camp, impressive for a big man. I don’t want to make comparisons, but he’s in the mold of De’Runnya Wilson as far as being a guy that can come in out of breaks for that big guy with athletic ability. A guy that has attributes, is strong to the ball. Comes from a program where they didn’t throw a lot, but that’s OK. He knows how to win. He’s a veteran as far as winning, three championships.”

Nick Gibson – RB, 5-11, 197 pounds. Birmingham, Al. (Pinson Valley High School)

Greg Knox says: “Very versatile. Very similar to the mold of Malik Dear. Hard-nosed runner. Tough, very physical. Great change of direction, great pad level. A good open-field runner, good out in space.”

Chris Stamps – CB, 6-1, 170 pounds. Vicksburg, Miss. (Warren Central High School)

Deshea Townsend says: “Long corner. Reminds me of Taveze Calhoun. Played on the offensive side of the ball, really good receiver. Attacks the ball well in the air. Good size.”

Greg Knox says: “He’s a great cover guy. Tenacious, hard-working kid. Really reminds you a lot of Taveze Calhoun. Tough kid. Going to work hard and give you everything he’s got every time he lines up on that field. Tremendous worker.

Anfernee Mullins – DL, 6-4, 245 pounds. Aliceville, Al. (Aliceville High School)

David Turner says: “Anfernee is a long, athletic guy. Came to camp and did a great job. Had a chance to watch him play basketball and I love watching D-linemen who play basketball. He’s a really good athlete, quick-twitch, he’s long, athletic, explosive.”

“He’s from Alabama, but he’s a typical kind of Mississippi kid. Small town, he’s got a chance to really develop. Right now he doesn’t have a clue. Small school doesn’t have a lot of resources, but they did a really good job over there with what they had. I think he’s going to have a really good chance to develop and be a really, really good player. Excited to have him.”

Farrod Green – TE, 6-3, 215 pounds. Wesson, Miss. (Wesson Attendance Center)

Scott Sallach says: “Kind of in that Gus Walley type of mold. Big widoeut who’s going to grow and get bigger. People will be surprised by him as he gets in the program and develops. Played basketball and has only played football for a couple years.”

Keith Mixon – WR, 5-8, 175 pounds. Birmingham, Al. (Shades Valley School)

Billy Gonzales says: “Mixon is explosive, that’s the first thing you think about with him. He worked with [running backs coach] Greg Knox at camp, then he came to me and I had a chance to see him in one-on-one drills. Explosive. I don’t think anybody could really hold him when he wants to run. Very explosive athlete. Can put his foot in the ground and has great top-end speed.”

Mark McLaurin – DB, 6-2, 210 pounds. Collins, Miss. (Collins High School)

Tony Hughes says: “He may be the sleeper of the class. Plays every position for his high school. He’s definitely a winner. He led to his team to the state championship. He can play safety, he can play corner, he can play outside linebacker. On offense, he’s played quarterback, receiver, running back, kick returner and is also an upstanding young man in the school and community. He’s somebody that we’re really, really excited to get in the program.”

Fletcher Adams – DL, 6-2, 260 pounds. Brandon, Miss. (Brandon High School)

Fletcher is kind of the wild-card in this that’s everybody has known about him, obviously having his brother Nelson here. Not as tall as Nelson, probably a little bit more athletic. He’s got a motor, he goes hard, competes. That’s the thing that sticks out with him. He just competes and goes hard. He loves to play the game of football. He loves slamming into people. Comes out of a great program and has been well-coached. I can’t wait to get him in here and see what he can do. Really excited, really fortunate to get him.”

“He had a lot of people recruiting him. I think the idea of playing with his brother really appealed to him and I think his parents are comfortable with us and what we’ve done with his brother. They know he’s going to be in good hands and going to be well-coached and come out of this with his degree. Can’t wait to get him in here and get started and see where he’s gonna fit in. He could start out at end, could go inside. We’ll wait and see whatever’s going to be the most comfortable. He might have a chance to help us quick.”

Maurice Smitherman – CB, 5-9, 178 pounds. Adamsville, Al. (Minor High School)

Deshea Townsend says: “Maurice is a speedy guy, really good ball skills. Great work ethic, great kid.”

Jonnas Spivey – WR, 6-1, 181 pounds. Bay Springs, Miss. (Bay Springs High School)

Billy Gonzales says: “He’s kind of a long, rangy athlete. He came here for camp this summer and did a fantastic job. He’s a really, really strong competitor, but has natural ability. Kind of deceptive speed, kind of deceptive in his moves, but a really smooth, fluid athlete that again is a really strong competitor.”

Kendell Jones – DL, 6-4, 255 pounds. Pinson, Al. (Clay-Chalkville High School)

David Turner says: “Long, athletic guy. Came to camp a bunch of times and I told him early in the process, I think we were the first ones to offer him, I said, ‘Man, you’re going to have everybody coming at you.’ And here’s a kid that committed in June. Really excited about him. A long athletic guy from a great program that won the state championship and he was a vital part of that.”

“Really good family, strong family because he had a lot of people coming in. But this was where his heart was. He stuck with Mississippi State and we’re really glad and excited to have him as part of the family. I think he’s another one that’s gonna develop and have a chance to be a really good player. Played end, probably going to be an inside guy, but we’re not sure yet. We’ll see based on his body and how much weight he gains.”

Tim Washington –LB, 6-3, 183 pounds. Yazoo City, Miss. (Yazoo City High School)

Manny Diaz says: “Tim has great upside, great length, a frame to get a lot bigger. He has natural play-making ability, good feel on rushing the quarterback. Guy can help you out in a lot of different ways.”

Greg Knox says: “Tim is a rangy-type linebacker. Good size, good ability, has a good frame to put weight on. In the mold of a Benardrick Mckinney type guy to come in under-sized but grow into the size you want him to be.”

Alec Murphy – RB, 6-1, 225 pounds. Nixa, Mo. (Nixa High School)

Greg Knox says: “He’s a bigger-style power back. More of a downhill runner. Very explosive, very strong, very physical, hard downhill runner.”

Nick Tiano – QB, 6-5, 230 pounds. Chattanooga, TN. (Baylor School)

Brian Johnson says: “A really big, strong arm. Talented guy. Obviously the leader of his team, had a great senior year. Can make all the throws and he’s a really physical runner between the tackles. We’re excited to get him on board and look forward to him having a great career here.”

Harrison Moon – OL, 6-4, 276 pounds. Chattanooga, TN, (Signal Mountain High School)

John Hevesy says: “A tackle who fills a need with the graduation of a couple of them. Tall, angular kid. Athletic, great athletic ability, arm length, all the things we want. Fills that tackle position and as he gets bigger could play inside.

Malik Dear – RB/WR, 5-9, 226 pounds. Jackson, Miss. (Murrah High School)

Billy Gonzales says: “He’ll be back and forth with me and [running backs] Coach Knox. He’s a kid that came to camp and I had a chance to evaluate in person. When you look at him, you see how thick he is, but how smooth he is. He was one of the faster guys I ever timed here at camp. Unbelievably soft hands, can accelerate, top-end speed, with quickness where he’s able to plant and get north and south without losing speed. Those are all the attributes that you’re looking at with him.”

Greg Knox says: “A very dynamic player. Good speed, good agility. Very explosive out in the open field, can make plays. Good hands, good route-runner. Kind of an all-around athlete.”

Donald Gray – WR, 5-9, 185 pounds. Memphis, Tenn. (Copiah-Lincoln Community College)

Billy Gonzales says: “Donald is another explosive athlete. If you talk to some of the players already on campus, our strength coach, he’s explosive and has a great work ethic. He has a desire to be great. He made some big plays and had some big games in his junior college career and we’re excited about him.”

Johnathan Calvin – DL, 6-4, 250 pounds. Jackson, Miss. (Copiah-Lincoln Community College)

David Turner says: “He’s jumped in and got himself acclimated. Guys have been telling me he does a great job with drills. Every year, if you look at what we’ve done here, we’ve kind of had to take a junior college guy to fill a need, and he’s the next one in the bunch.“

“He’s a blue-collar guy, just a hard worker. I had a chance to see him as a high school player and kept up with him as he’s gotten bigger and stronger. Coaches rave about him at Co-Lin. Really glad to have him. He’s another young man that really had a lot of people recruiting him and he chose Mississippi State. He’s a Mississippi kid, got a lot of people here that he knows. I think we’ll be able to plug him right in. If you look at the need right now with Preston Smith leaving, there’s a void right there. There’s going to be a bunch of guys competing for that position and I expect him to be one of them.”

Deddrick Thomas – WR, 5-9, 170 pounds. Memphis, Tenn. (Memphis Central High School)

Billy Gonzales says: “Deddrick is a start-and-stop guy. He came to Big Dawg Camp and showed up, was really impressive. He’s got slot attributes, but he’s got receiver abilities to be an outside receiver, too. Extremely excited about him.”

Martinas Rankin – OL, 6-5, 300 pounds. Mendenhall, Miss. (Miss. Gulf Coast Community College)

John Hevesy says: “The top-rated JUCO offensive tackle in the country. Great kid, great family. He fills a spot we need at tackle. He can come in and contribute and play. He’s athletic. Size-wise, everything I’m looking for.”

Michael Story – OL, 6-4, 290 pounds. Ripley, Miss. (Ripley High School)

John Hevesy says: “Athletic kid. Graduated high school early. Had him at camp and you saw the athletic ability. Really, he’s got the ability to play all three positions – tackle, guard or center. We’ll see as his future goes on what he brings to the table. He’s very athletic, very strong, very intelligent kid. Played the North-South All-Star game in Mississippi and coaches had great things to say about his work ethic. He has everything we look for in a lineman.”

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