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Recruiting Rundown: The 2025 Recruiting Class in Mississippi is Rich with Talent

The first in-state class for first-year Mississippi State football coach Jeff Lebby is deep and talented.
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STARKVILLE, Miss. — The Mississippi State Bulldogs are preparing for the start of spring practice under first-year head coach Jeff Lebby, but recruiting never stops. The Magnolia State always produces a fair share of top prospects, both highly-rated players and guys who fall under the radar.

It was once a well-kept secret about the talent Mississippi was producing, but now the nation has taken notice, which means MSU will need to fight harder to keep the top players in the state.

Lebby has preached the importance of in-state recruiting in his limited interviews thus far, and the former Oklahoma offensive coordinator will get a taste of the madness early. If you follow Mississippi recruiting, it is easy to pick up tendencies such as how often a guy visits campus, certain cities favor MSU, and some lean more towards Ole Miss.

This deep class has some connections for the Bulldogs, and there are some prospects MSU will have a tough time getting to sign.

Check out the latest with some of the top prospects: 

Tyler Lockhart

Lockhart is a consensus four-star recruit from Winona, Miss. The 6-3 200-pounder is a linebacker who holds offers from Alabama, Georgia, LSU, and Mississippi State.

Lockhart unofficially visited the Crimson Tide on March 23rd, according to 247 Sports, just a month after receiving an offer. MSU does have a connection with the linebacker, as the Bulldogs signed his brother in last year's class, TJ Lockhart.

Fred "Fat" Clark is another linebacker MSU signed from Winona High School last year. The connection between MSU and the four-star prospect is strong, and with Winona only an hour away from Starkville, that is another positive.

This would be a solid foundation for MSU's in-state class, and Lebby would like to get him in early so he can be the class's poster child. Given the Bulldogs' connections, Lockhart will likely end up in Starkville.

Caleb Cunningham

Cunningham is currently the top recruit in Mississippi. The consensus 5-star talent holds offers from Texas, Alabama, Michigan, and Mississippi State. 

Many consider him is the best prospect at wide receiver in Mississippi since current Philadelphia Eagles AJ Brown. The Choctaw County native is listed as 6 foot 3, 180 pounds, and perhaps the most impressive part of Cunningham is his play on the basketball court. 

The rising senior plays above the rim, and the athleticism shown on the hardwood translates to the gridiron. According to 247 Sports, Cunningham has taken in several unofficial visits to Auburn, Florida State, Miami, Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi State. 

Once again, MSU has the distance-from-home advantage as Choctaw County is only 45 minutes from Starkville. It is also a good sign that the Bulldogs have gotten Cunningham in on an unofficial visit, and almost the entire Mississippi State staff was at the 5-star basketball game earlier this year. Hence, it's clear they're pushing all chips to the middle. 

Lebby could make a splash by signing Cunningham, so he will leave no stone unturned in his recruitment. The first-year head coach also did well by retaining MSU receivers coach Chad Bumphis, who has shown he does well with highly recruited in-state receivers by signing Braylon "Stonka" Burnside and JJ Harrell. 

It would be best to be cautiously optimistic; while the Bulldogs have the edge now, once signing day inches closer, it will become increasingly harder to keep the receiver in-state. However, Bumphis's status as the leading recruiter gives the Bulldogs a slight edge. 

Mario Nash Jr.

Another big prospect in Mississippi is the offensive lineman from Kemper County High School, Nash Jr., a consensus 4-star recruit.

The offensive lineman camped at Mississippi State this past summer and was impressive. Nash is listed as 6-4, 270 pounds, and 270 is a little light.

However, Nash was impressive in drills, showcasing good footwork and using his length to his advantage. While he may be a tad undersized, once the De Kalb native got his hands on the rusher, it was over. The weight will come easy for Nash, as he possesses the frame to put on the extra weight while maintaining his quickness.

Nash attended Junior Day at Mississippi State on Jan. 27th. He has also been all across Florida by unofficially visiting Miami and Florida State.

MSU offensive line coach Cody Kennedy has quickly proven to be one of the top recruiters on this staff. Kennedy does have the distance advantage as Nash only lives about an hour from Starkville, but the visits to a pair of Florida schools are something to keep an eye on.

Nash released a top-ten recently that included Florida State, Miami, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, USC, Penn State, LSU, Georgia Tech, and Auburn.

Andrew Maddox

Getting this 4-star composite player to Starkville will take a lot of time. As mentioned, relationships and connections are everything in recruiting, especially in a small state like Mississippi.

Maddox plays at Oak Grove High School, a football powerhouse, and the Bulldogs have had some recent success recruiting from the Warriors program, most notably Jaden Crumedy.

However, the Bulldogs lost some ground with Maddox after Ole Miss signed his brother Anonthy Maddox last year. The 6-3, 265-pound defensive lineman unofficially visited Auburn on Jan. 13th.

Barring a significant turnaround, Maddox will likely end up in Oxford or out of state. 

This season will be an early test of Lebby and his entire staff's recruiting prowess. The class is deep and talented, and MSU has some advantages in several of the top prospects.

Mississippi State can make headlines if it has a strong haul in the Magnolia State. Come back to Cowbell Corner next week for the next rundown.