Recruiting Expert: ‘I’m Very Surprised’


I called up Allen Wallace, national recruiting editor for and, to ask his thoughts about Mississippi State’s 2009 recruiting class. But before I could ask him any questions, he was wanting to ask me about coach Dan Mullen.

“Under Ed Orgeron, Ole Miss was viewed as the team that was such a loaded outfit that wasn’t quite performing. But Mississippi State has found a way to do better in-state for the kids, and I think that’s a surprise to a lot of us,” Wallace said. “Because we don’t know the reason why.”

By Wallace’s count, MSU has secured 12 verbal commitments since Mullen took over. Wallace is wondering, How? I told him about how Mullen is a high-energy guy who knows how to win kids’ confidence. Of course, whether that translates to the playing field … “There’s a lot of guys who can talk a dog off a meat truck, but they can’t lead a team to a 12-win season,” Wallace said.

Wallace has MSU’s 2009 class currently ranked 15th in the nation. He thinks it will be State’s highest-ranked signing class. “I’m very surprised. … I’d be surprised if Mississippi State has ever recruited a top-20 class, rankings-wise. In fact, I’m pretty sure they haven’t.”

Wallace cited one key to Mullen’s success: His junior college recruiting. The Bulldogs have three of Super Prep’s top 35 juco players. “I can’t remember a better performance by a school in terms of junior college recruiting,” he said.

More from Wallace in Wednesday’s Journal.


19 Responses to “Recruiting Expert: ‘I’m Very Surprised’”

  1. Brad Locke Says:

    Note: Wallace told me MSU had four of SuperPrep’s top 30 juco players, but on the site it only has three in the top 35.

  2. maroon1white Says:

    Its one thing to be surprised yet happy for State but, Wallace sounds too surprised…borderline hater. Is he a rival SEC team grad?

  3. Brad Locke Says:

    He’s a West coast dude, so he doesn’t know much about Mullen. He’s just basing his opinion on history.

  4. idahobill Says:

    Come on Brad. This is as unfair as it gets to Croom. When Croom left, he already had most of these commits in the bag. Who are the 12 committs since Croom left? MSU hasn’t had 12 committs since Croom left by any reputable count. Is he counting Tyler Russell? The guys that waivered and then came back? Pernell McPhee was a heavy MSU lean if he wasn’t already committed. Before Croom left, said that Dennis Thames was a virtual lock to committ to MSU. Pernell McPhee was the same. This has been reported for months. All Mullen had to do was hold on to these guys. Chad Bumphis was at least 30% to MSU, though he now says he had almost eliminated MSU when Croom was there. I’ll give Mullen 100% credit for Bumphis, but Croom got him on campus many, many times before and had recruited him very hard.
    Croom wasn’t a high energy guy, but he bagged a lot of great players and was dominating Mississippi recruiting way before Mullen arrived, so the high energy comment doesn’t work. The real test for Mullen will be next year – can he equal this class which has to be counted as Croom’s final class? I predict that Mullen will not recruit next year as well as Croom did this year and that these high energy recruiting comments will be shown to be as empty as they really are. Let’s see who Mullen pulls in without Croom and if he can rank higher than the 15th class in the nation.

    Just look at the players that Mullen has got committed since Croom left. The quality of those players is a big drop off compared to Croom’s committments. According to, Mullen added 4 2-star recruits and 3 four-star recruits, and 1 four-star, if you count Bumphis. Croom didn’t have any 2 star committments. Most all of Mullen’s committment had lower level offers, if at all. Read between the lines on even the out of state guys and you can see this.
    I’m a MSU fan but I’m tired of Mullen getting credit for this recruiting class. It is ridiculous for him to do so and guys like Wallace who are out of state need to understand this. Ask someone like Steve Robertson, who know MSU recruiting, and he can tell you the truth over someone like Wallace, even if they work for the same company.

  5. thingreenline Says:

    You need to lower your carb intake, idahobill.
    The potatos are affecting your brain.

  6. carwwest Says:

    idaho, you are correct that croom does get some credit but dont discount what mullen and staff has done…you are acting as if mullen and his guys were just handed all of these players….you still have to convince them to stay with a new coach and stadd….dont count mackenzie as mullen’s if you are going to play this game because croom was recruiting him…

    but you are acting as if croom was a recruiting guru or something…croom was pretty lazy by a lot of people’s eyes when it came to recruiting…you said “I predict that Mullen will not recruit next year as well as Croom did this year and that these high energy recruiting comments will be shown to be as empty as they really are. Let’s see who Mullen pulls in without Croom and if he can rank higher than the 15th class in the nation.”….well i say this, this class would not be top 15 with croom and company still here…how would croom’s class next year look after croom would have another losing season??….

    croom’s staff laid the way for this class but to discredit everything mullen has done so far would be stupid…the fact that mullen has retained almost the entire class and added some like bumphis, perkins, etc speaks for itself….croom was a joke of a coach…even if he got a 4* player, he would coach him down to a 2*….yeah ask robertson, and i’ll bet he has more nice words to say about mullen than you do…im not going to question your fan hood but dont discredit the job our new coach is doing….

  7. imabulldog Says:

    IdahoBill, whether they were CC’s or Mullen’s recruits- do you really think they were still coming after a 3 win season and a BUTT whoopin’ loss to UM?!?

    No freakin way dude…they were all opening the doors and phone lines.

    Mullen had to recruit double if you ask me, because he had to insure some and convince many others that State was the place to come.

    Mullen deserves full credit for ZERO drop-off. And you can’t add Pat Patterson to the list, because he made that call be before CC left, said we did not pass the ball enough, and he was right.

    Respect Croom, but he’s gone, and I don’t think he’d have been able to hold on to his own kids, nor get the extras Mullen has

  8. bigdraws Says:

    “I’d be surprised if Mississippi State has ever recruited a top-20 class, rankings-wise. In fact, I’m pretty sure they haven’t.””

    Didn’t we achieve that a few times during the 90’s?

  9. nthedawghouse Says:

    I know we had a #17 class overall with Jackie and seems like a #20 class under him as well in the 90’s.

    As for Croom, he would not have kept half of the players that he was recruiting after that 45-0 whipping in the egg bowl. The program was headed as far south as it could possibly go. With Mullen’s hiring, we landed Bumphis, Perkins, Berry, Brauchle, Hutchins, Hood and was able to miracuously hold on to Cox, Russell and many others. Not to mention, at least got us back in the sweepstakes for Patterson, where under Croom, he wouldn’t even speak to us.

    Go Dawgs!!!!!

  10. Brad Locke Says:

    I do stand corrected. Or rather, Allen Wallace stands corrected. MSU’s 2003 class was ranked 20th, and the 2002 class was 17th.

  11. irondawg Says:

    Brad, I was going to say that I knew MSU had at least one or two classes ranked in the top 20. Thanks for clarifying that.

    As for Idaho not seeming to want to give credit to Mullen, he’s sorely mistaken. Croom did a fine job with this class, but Mullen has committed severral good players since his arrival and he no doubt helped solidify some of Croom’s recruits who were waivering. He’s done a better job than most ever imagined in such a short amount of time. I think Idaho is just someone who’s still having a hard time letting go of Croom.

  12. imabulldog Says:

    Thank you, geniouses think alike 😉

  13. texdawg88 Says:

    You know, I simply cannot understand how anyone who cares anything about MSU can be negative about anything right now. We have scored was is potentially some of the finest coaching talent in the country and have similar if not equal talent steering our basketball and baseball programs. I have been following the Dawgs for 40+ years and in my mind this is the best chance our football program has had to compete on a national level that I can remember. Sure we have had our bright spots with Tyler, Bellard, and Sherrill, but can anyone honestly tell me when we were in this type of position. I fully expect it to take some time for Coach Mullen to build on Coach Croom’s foundation but his infectious attitude and his coaching pedigree, I believe, will instantly make our program better. You need only look towards Oxford to see what good coaching can do for even a marginal program. So I plead with all, move on from the past and if you have nothing positive to say, shut the h*ll up! Maroon, White, Bulldog Blitz!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. texdawg88 Says:

    Sorry for the gramatical error (“What we have scored”). Afternoon vino has kicked in!

  15. dc31 Says:


    Have you not seen all of these recent 4-Star 4.3 guys? We wouldn’t have those guys without Mullen’s offense

    This Wallace guy doesn’t know too much about State, because JWS had two or three top 20 classes. The class with Prather and all those guys was like 12 or 13. The class with Kevin Buie and those guys was ranked pretty high. Even Sherrill’s worst class on the field, the 2001 recruiting class was ranked pretty high

  16. dc31 Says:


    2002 – #17

    2003 – # 20

    2009 – # 18 Florida # 20

  17. idahobill Says:

    I’m just saying let’s give credit where credit is due. Other than Bumphis, Mullen has added brought in seven guys that weren’t already committed, either publicly or privately. Four of those are two stars. Croom had no two star recruits committed. The rest are three stars.
    Those commits had been committed for a long time. They all had MSU t-shirts, window stickers, etc. They were totally sold and excited about coming to MSU. Even when a coach is fired, it’s pretty hard for a MS kid who has been bragging for six months about MSU and his future to then change his mind and move onto another school. One out of state player, Anthony Rogers, did just that. Look at Croom’s early commitments the past four years. Even with poor results on the field, very few early commitments change their commitment. The vast majority stick with their choice no matter the results on the field. Again, MSU has lost a max of 2 commitments the past fews years despite a lack of success on the field. So, there is no evidence and in fact all evidence points to the fact that Croom would have kept these guys.
    Now compare this to when Croom took over from Sherrill. Sherrill left Croom in December 2003 with two commitments. Both were two stars.
    I think that Mullen matching Croom’s dominance of MS instate recruiting this year will be very difficult. Even Sherrill’s good classes were generally made of very good out of state players (many of who didn’t pan out or remain in school). Croom’s instate dominance of MS is almost unheard of for MSU. Wallace is right about that. He is just giving the wrong man credit.
    Mullen may be the greatest coach since Darrell Royal. I hope so. This isn’t anything bad about him. He does deserve some credit for holding the class together and getting Bumphis. I also know that the vast majority of credit for this recruiting class goes to Croom.

  18. buzzardroostus Says:

    You make some good points Idaho. The difference is Mullen has added some true game changing play makers. Croom recruited good solid players that give Mullen a great foundation to build on. There’s no doubt the speed players we are signing would have never come to State with the old stagnant offense. Mullen attracts talent we’ve never been able to attract at MSU. Not that Croom wasn’t doing a good job recruiting. It’s just that no speedy playmakers were not even giving us a look because they knew we were gonna run an old style offense. If everything goes as planned we’ll have 21 players sign from a Mississippi high school or JUCO and 6 players outside the state. While Ole Miss only has 5 Mississippi players signing. That’s incredible.

  19. omahadog Says:

    Is that you Sylvester Croom? er… I mean Idahobill. How’s life in St Louis?

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