Lineman’s commitment to LSU adds insult to injury to Mississippi State fans

Mississippi State o-line coach John Hevesy

Three-star offensive lineman Cole Smith committed to LSU over the weekend, a development that ticked off numerous Mississippi State fans – and not just because Smith is from Pontotoc, Miss., which is about 70 miles from Starkville.

What really upsets those fans is that Smith, who is the son of former Mississippi State and NFL offensive lineman Brent Smith, hasn’t even received a Bulldogs offer.

Losing an in-state prospect to an out-of-state program is one thing. Losing a “legacy recruit” to an out-of-state school is another. And losing a legacy who hasn’t even been offered – whoo, boy. Adding even more fuel to this fire is that Smith is considered one of the nation’s top-10 centers.

Scour any Mississippi State message board or social media platform, and Bulldogs fans are showing their displeasure.

To date, the Bulldogs have signed 39 offensive linemen in the Dan Mullen era (since 2009). The average star rating of those linemen per 247sports.com is 2.85 – the lowest of any team in the SEC West.

Conversely, in that time frame, the state has produced 23 offensive linemen who were three-star recruits or better who either went to another in-state school or left the state. Their average ranking: 3.3 stars. And when you look at that list, there are players on their who have seen considerable playing time in the SEC.

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Right, wrong or indifferent, Bulldogs fans blame offensive line coach John Hevesy for the recruiting shortcomings. Recruiting actually is a collective effort, but Bulldogs coaches as a whole have come up short when it comes to signing quality offensive linemen.

Mullen has done wonders for Mississippi State, but he will never reach the pinnacle he desires losing quality in-state talent to rival SEC schools – especially when one of them is a legacy recruit in your backyard.

Mississippi State OL signees

(JC transfers denoted by asterisks; out-of-state signees designated by ‘OOS’)
Gabe Jackson: 3 stars
Sam Watts: 3 stars (OOS)
Ben Beckwith: unranked
Blaine Clausell: 2 stars (OOS)
Dillion Day: 2 stars (OOS)
Jeff Howie*: 3 stars
Eric Lawson: 3 stars
Archie Muniz: 3 stars (OOS)
Damien Robinson: 4 stars
Daniel Knox: 3 stars
Justin Malone: 3 stars
Nick Redmond: 2 stars
Joey Trapp*: 2 stars
Cole Carter: 3 stars
Devon Desper: 3 stars
Dylan Holley*: 3 stars
Justin Senior: 3 stars
Charles Siddoway*: 3 stars
Jamaal Clayborn: 3 stars
Kent Flowers: 3 stars
Jake Thomas: 3 stars
Deion Calhoun: 3 stars (OOS)
Ronald Cochran: 2 stars
Jordan Harris: 3 stars (OOS)
Elgton Jenkins: 3 stars
Jocquell Johnson*: 3 stars
Harrison Moon: 3 stars (OOS)
Martinas Rankin*: 4 stars
Michael Story: 3 stars
Darryl Williams: 3 stars (OOS)
Greg Eiland: 3 stars
Dareuan Parker: 3 stars
Stewart Reese: 3 stars (OOS)
Tommy Champion*: 3 stars
Josh Cooper: 3 stars (OOS)
Tyre Phillips*: 3 stars
Montravious Richardson: 3 stars (OOS)
Cordavien Suggs: 3 stars (OOS)

Missed Mississippi offensive linemen

(Note: 3-star recruits and above)
Aubrey Phillips: 3 stars, to Florida State
Anthony Steen: 3 stars, to Alabama
Emmanuel McCray: 3 stars, to Ole Miss
Shon Coleman: 4 stars, to Auburn
Aaron Morris: 4 stars, to Ole Miss
Justin Bell: 3 stars, to Ole Miss
Deon Mix: 3 stars, to Auburn
Daronte Bouldin: 3 stars, to Ole Miss
Davion Johnson: 3 stars, to Ole Miss
Rod Taylor: 4 stars, to Ole Miss
Ethan Frith: 3 stars, to Florida State
Tyler Putman: 3 stars, to Ole Miss
Sean Rawlings: 3 stars, to Ole Miss
Javon Patterson: 4 stars, to Ole Miss
Matt Womack: 3 stars, to Alabama
Ryan Gibson: 3 stars, to California
Scott Lashley: 4 stars, to Alabama
Eli Johnson: 3 stars, to Ole Miss
Gentle Williams: 3 stars, to California
Saadiq Charles: 4 stars, to LSU
Paul Gainer: 3 stars, to Southern Miss
Tae-kion Reed: 3 stars, to Ole Miss
Cole Smith: 3 stars, to LSU

RELATED: Mississippi State’s biggest needs, top targets on 2018 recruiting trail

(You can follow Jake Wimberly on Twitter @Jakewim)

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