While new head coach Rick Ray may not have even had time fully outfit his new office at Mississippi State, he’s got a great reason, as he’s been active on the recruiting trail building the Bulldogs’ roster for next season.
In less than a month on the job, Ray added two guards and a forward to next year’s team, to go with three recruits signed by former coach Rick Stansbury. The fast start includes a North Carolina-native in point guard Jacoby Davis of St. John’s Northwest Military Academy, a Wisconsin prep school, Memphis wing Andre Applewhite, and junior college standout Colin Brochert.
Ray retained in-state center Gavin Ware, who was the most-touted early signing period prospect, and could be a key factor on the interior next size. Both Applewhite and early signee Fred Thomas are capable of playing on the wing, with Thomas being known for his knock down shooting. Davis fills a need at point guard, and was headed to North Florida last season before attending prep school and being upgraded as a high-major recruit.
Unfortunately for Mississippi State fans, it doesn’t appear as if in-state top-25 prospect Devonta Pollard will consider the Bulldogs. One of the top unsigned players in the country, Pollard has a relationship with the previous staff but cut out Mississippi State from his consideration list when they didn’t have a head coach. Barring a late hail mary, Pollard will pick from Georgetown, Texas, Missouri and Alabama.
Ray has clearly had a solid start, and fans have to be excited about what he can do with a full year’s recruiting cycle. Applewhite is a solid prospect from the deep and talented Memphis-area that Ray will no doubt want to get his hooks into. Similarly, Brochert should be ready to play right away given his junior college All-American status.
The Mississippi State will no doubt go through some growing pains as it molds to Ray’s vision for the program. He has now ensured depth for next season, and has some players to work with going forward.