Archive for January 7th, 2009

Pernell McPhee: ‘I’m a man of my word’

January 7, 2009

I caught up with MSU signee Pernell McPhee a moment ago. McPhee, a 6-foot-4, 270-pound defensive end from ICC – dude’s a monster – is one of eight signees to enroll early. He did not sign right away, having decided to consider other schools, like Michigan and Alabama, after Sylvester Croom resigned. But he ultimately decided he should keep his commitment to MSU (a quote on that below).

He just got into Starkville last night. So here’s some of what he had to say:

• On the advantages of enrolling early: “Getting a feel of the defense and what type of program you’re going to be in and what type of coach he is.”

• On sticking to his commitment: “To tell you the truth, I’m a man of my word. When I committed and said I was going to come, I felt I should stick with that promise.”

• Impressions of Dan Mullen: “He was the most energetic coach you probably could meet.”

• On Mullen’s 4-3 defense: “He wants us to get after whoever we play.”

• On what’s possible: “He’s going to bring speed up here, lots of speed.”

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Early Arrivals for Football

January 7, 2009

Mississippi State has officially announced the early enrollment of eight football players. Six are from the juco ranks, two just finished high school. That’s a good number of guys to get in, especially with the coaching change. Anyway, here is the list:

WR Leon Berry (6-1, 185), Griffin, Ga. (Griffin/East Mississippi CC)
K Sean Brauchle (5-9, 175), Biloxi, MS (Mercy Cross/Mississippi Gulf Coast CC)
P Heath Hutchins (6-2, 215), Saltillo, MS (Itawamba [MS] CC)
DB Maurice Langston (5-11, 185), Meridian, MS (NE Lauderdale/East Central [MS] CC
DB Cameron Lawrence (6-2, 205), Coldwater, MS (Magnolia Heights)
DE Pernell McPhee (6-4, 270), Pahokee, FL (Pahokee/Itawamba [MS] CC)
OL Sam Watts (6-4, 290), Conyers, GA (Salem)
LB Chris White (6-4, 235), Vancleave, MS (Vancleave/Mississippi Gulf Coast CC)

Mullen, Carroll and Them Hogs

January 7, 2009

Much, much, much to talk about today, beginning with new football coach Dan Mullen, who addressed us MSU writers this morning. He talked about what the past few days have been like for him as he’s helped Florida prepare for Thursday’s BCS National Championship game, and what lies ahead when he returns to Starkville.

Also, we learn that former Bulldog quarterback Wesley Carroll has officially transferred to Florida International – guess I was right on that one after all. And on the basketball court, Arkansas took down No. 7 Texas last night. The Hogs host MSU on Saturday.

A busy man
So, just what has it been like for Mullen? Well, his days begin around 6:30 a.m., meeting with coaches and helping the team prepare for Oklahoma. “We get up in the morning, I’m pretty locked in on doing everything with Florida,” he said. He said he’s usually done by 6:30 p.m., and that’s when he turns his attention to MSU. “The rest of the time when I have free time is focused on getting stuff done for Mississippi State,” he said.

Mullen has managed to hire four coaches so far, and with a limited recruiting period having just opened up, he’s leaning heavily on them. Frank Wilson is serving as recruiting coordinator, which makes sense given that he’s worked on staffs at both Southern Miss and Ole Miss. As for other hires – and whether any Gator coaches might accompany Mullen – he said those discussions will begin Friday.

Speaking of after the game, Mullen will go home and see family Thursday night, then fly out early Friday morning for Starkville. There is a players meeting set for 3 p.m., and after that, Mullen will begin one-on-one meetings with the Bulldogs.

Mullen thinks he’s handled all the recent media attention pretty well. He’s kind of used to it by now. “I don’t know that it’s more this year than other years. The media attention at the University of Florida is pretty relentless on a bunch of things. Most of the media attention I’m dealing with is being with Mississippi State.”

I’ll have more on Mullen in tomorrow’s Journal.

Carroll moves on
Carroll, a sophomore this past season who lost his job to Tyson Lee, has made his move to FIU. I reported shortly after he was granted his scholarship release that he was going there. Carroll denied that report, saying he’d not made up his mind. Well, maybe he hadn’t, but there you go.

How ‘bout them Hogs?
So I caught Arkansas’ 67-61 win over Texas last night. Quite impressive. Point guard Courtney Fortson and center Michael Washington are both a handful – they combined for 35 points as the Hogs (12-1) beat another top-10 team (they beat then-No. 4 Oklahoma last week).

MSU (10-5), of course, opens SEC play Saturday at Bud Walton Arena. The 7 p.m. game will be televised by Fox Sports Net. Speaking of the Bulldogs, here is the notebook I wrote on them today, leading with freshman reserve Romero Osby and the progress he’s making.