football

A look back at the 2009 signing class

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With national signing day approaching in only a matter of hours BulldogBlitz takes a look back at how the 2009 signing day turned out for Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs signed 27 players a year ago and finished with the 25th ranked class in the country. Of those signees, 24 made it to Starkville and many contributed right away for head coach Dan Mullen. Go inside how last season's prospects worked out and where they are currently.
Johnthan Banks
Hometown: Maben, Miss. (East Webster)
Position: Athlete
Rating: Three-star (No. 63 ATH, No. 23 in Mississippi)
Height/ Weight: Then - 6-3, 180 Now- 6-2, 170
2009 Stats:Banks earned Freshman All-SEC honors and played in all 12 games for the Bulldogs starting the last seven games at safety. Banks finished the year with 33 tackles (20 solo, 13 assists), four interceptions and three pass deflections. He returned two of his interceptions for scores against Florida picking off Tim Tebow twice for a 100 and a 20-yard touchdowns.
Leon Berry
Hometown: Griffin, Ga. (East Mississippi C.C.)
Position: Wide receiver
Rating: Three-star (No. 58 JUCO)
Height/ Weight: Then - 6-1, 185 Now- 6-0, 195
2009 Stats:Berry played in all 12 games and started as the Bulldogs kickoff and punt returner. He also drew three starts at wide receiver as well catching 14 balls for 170 yards and rushing one time for five yards. He made his biggest impact on special teams returning 38 kickoffs for 1,015 yards and one touchdown against Georgia Tech. Berry also returned nine punts for 69 yards. Finished his junior year with 1,259 all-purpose yards and one touchdown.
Josh Boyd
Hometown: Philadelphia, Miss. (Philadelphia)
Position: Defensive tackle
Rating: Four-star (No. 15 DT, No. 6 Mississippi, No. 180 overall)
Height/ Weight: Then - 6-3, 275 Now- 6-3, 285
2009 Stats:Boyd played in all 12 games for the Bulldogs earning three starts at defensive tackle. He made 17 tackles (9 solo, 8 assits) on the season.
Sean Brauchle
Hometown: Biloxi, Miss. (Gulf Coast C.C.)
Position: Kicker
Rating: Three-star
Height/ Weight: Then - 5-9, 180 Now- 5-10, 180
2009 Stats: Brauchle began the season as the Bulldogs starting kicker but missed the final seven games due to injury. Finished the season 6-of-9 on field goal attempts with a long of 49 yards. He converted 12-of-12 on PATs and kicked off 23 times for a 63.9 yards average. Brauchle also recorded one tackle.
Chad Bumphis
Hometown: Tupelo, Miss. (Tupelo)
Position: Wide receiver
Rating: Four-star (No. 16 WR, No. 3 Mississippi, No. 109 overall)
Height/ Weight: Then - 5-11, 185Now- 5-10, 195
2009 Stats: Bumphis earned Freshman All-SEC honors playing in all 12 games and earning six starts at wide receiver. Bumphis made 32 catches for 375 yards and four touchdowns through the air and added another 73 yards and a score on six carries on the ground. He also returned 16 kickoffs for 383 yards and five punts for 45 yards. Finished his freshman campaign with 876 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns.
Montrell Conner
Hometown: Monroe, La., (Ouachita)
Position: Running back
Rating: Three-star (No. 34 RB, No. 18 Louisiana)
Height/ Weight: Then - 6-2, 210 Now- 6-2, 215
2009 Stats: Redshirted.
Fletcher Cox
Hometown: Yazoo City, Miss. (Yazoo City)
Position: Defensive end
Rating: Four-star (No. 5 WDE, No. 2 Mississippi, No. 94 overall)
Height/ Weight: Then - 6-4, 240 Now- 6-4, 275
2009 Stats:Cox earned Freshman All-SEC honors playing in all 12 games for the Bulldogs earning four starts at defensive tackle. Cox made 29 tackles (17 solo, 12 assists), 3.5 tackles for loss, one sack, two quarterback hurries and one blocked kick.
Billy Hamilton
Hometown: Taylorsville, Miss. (Taylorsville)
Position: Wide receiver
Rating: Two-star
Height/ Weight: Then - 6-1, 165Now- 6-1, 160
2009 Stats: Hamilton opted to play pro baseball after being drafted in the second round by the Cincinnati Reds. He played shortstop in 43 games for the GCL Reds hitting .205 with six doubles, three triples, 11 RBIs and 14 stolen bases.
Brandon Heavens
Hometown: Bessemer, Ala. (Jess Lanier)
Position: Wide receiver
Rating: three-star (No. 33 WR, No. 15 Alabama)
Height/ Weight: Then - 5-10, 165 Now- 5-10, 170
2009 Stats: Heavens appeared in all 12 games for the Bulldogs earning one start at wide receiver. He hauled in seven passes for 36 yards and rushed nine times for 27 yards. Heavens also returned two kickoffs for 40 yards. He finished his freshman season with 103 all-purpose yards.
Heath Hutchins
Hometown: Saltillo, Miss. (Itawamba C.C.)
Position: Punter
Rating: Three-star
Height/ Weight: Then - 6-3, 215 Now- 6-1, 205
2009 Stats: Hutchins started as the Bulldogs punter in every game this season. He punted 50 times for 1,986 yards finishing with an average of 39.7 yards. He had 11 kicks inside the 20-yard line and only four touchbacks. Hutchins had one punt blocked and recorded one tackle in his junior year.
Mardrecas Hood
Hometown: Reform, Ala., (Pickens County)
Position: Wide receiver
Rating: Three-star (No. 65 WR, No. 32 Alabama)
Height/ Weight: Then - 6-3, 180 Now- 6-3, 190
2009 Stats: Failed to qualify academically and enrolled at East Mississippi Community College for both summer terms. Did not meet eligibility requirements to play last season for the Lions and is currently not enrolled in school but is taking online classes to become eligible. Claims an offer from South Florida but will not sign with them on Wednesday.
Gabriel Jackson
Hometown: Liberty, Miss. (Amite County)
Position: Offensive tackle
Rating: Three-star (No. 91 tackle, No. 28 Mississippi)
Height/ Weight: Then - 6-4, 310 Now- 6-4, 310
2009 Stats: Redshirted
Maurice Langston
Hometown: Meridian, Miss. (East Central C.C.)
Position: Cornerback
Rating: Three-star
Height/ Weight: Then - 5-11, 195 Now- 5-10, 180
2009 Stats:Langston played in seven games and earned four starts at cornerback after being suspended for the first four games of the season following his spring arrest. He missed all of spring training due to his suspension but came back to make 16 tackles (10 solo, six assists).
Cameron Lawrence
Hometown: Coldwater, Miss. (Magnolia Heights)
Position: Athlete
Rating: Three-star (No. 50 ATH, No. 15 Mississippi)
Height/ Weight: Then - 6-2, 202 Now- 6-2, 210
2009 Stats:Lawrence played in all 12 games primarily on special teams. He made 14 tackles (five solo, nine assists) as a freshman and also served as the Bulldogs backup holder.
Johnathan McKenzie
Hometown: Starkville, Miss. (Starkville Academy)
Position: Defensive end
Rating: Two-star
Height/ Weight: Then - 6-5, 240 Now- 6-4, 260
2009 Stats:Redshirted
Pernell McPhee
Hometown: Pahokee, Fla. (Itawamba C.C.)
Position: Defensive end
Rating: Four-star (No. 3 JUCO)
Height/ Weight: Then - 6-4, 270 Now- 6-4, 275
2009 Stats:McPhee earned All-SEC honors starting all 12 games for the Bulldogs last season at defensive end. He finished the year with 56 tackles (32 solo, 24 assists), 12 tackles for loss, five sacks, one forced fumble, eight quarterback hurries and four pass breakups.
LaDarius Perkins
Hometown: Greenville, Miss. (St. Joseph)
Position: Running back
Rating: Three-star (No. 37 RB, No. 24 Mississippi)
Height/ Weight: Then - 5-9, 180 Now- 5-10, 180
2009 Stats:Redshirted
Tyler Russell
Hometown: Meridian, Miss. (Meridian)
Position: Quarterback
Rating: Four-star (No. 12 QB, No. 8 Mississippi, No. 217 overall)
Height/ Weight: Then - 6-4, 200 Now- 6-4, 215
2009 Stats: Redshirted
Ricco Sanders
Hometown: Duncan, S.C. (Byrnes)
Position: Wide receiver
Rating: Three-star (No. 51 WR, No. 19 South Carolina)
Height/ Weight: Then - 5-11, 180 Now- 5-11, 175
2009 Stats: Redshirted
William Shumpert
Hometown: Fulton, Miss. (Itawamba AHS)
Position: Fullback
Rating:Three-star (No. 7 FB, No. 17 Mississippi)
Height/ Weight: Then - 6-0, 238 Now- 6-0, 240
2009 Stats: Redshirted
Deontae Skinner
Hometown: Macon, Miss. (Noxubee County)
Position: Outside linebacker
Rating: Three-star (No. 39 OLB, No. 19 Mississippi)
Height/ Weight: Then - 6-2, 230 Now- 6-1, 240
2009 Stats: Redshirted
Darius Slay
Hometown: Brunswick, Ga. (Brunswick)
Position: Wide receiver
Rating: Two-star
Height/ Weight: Then - 6-1, 180 Now- 6-1, 193
2009 Stats:Slay failed to qualify academically and enrolled at Itawamba Community College. He finished his freshman campaign with 41 tackles, three interceptions, five pass deflections and a state- best 24 yard kickoff return average. He earned first team All-MACJC North for the Indians.
Chris Smith
Hometown: Meridian, Miss. (Meridian)
Position:Wide receiver
Rating:Four-star (No. 31 WR, No. 7 Mississippi, No. 204 overall)
Height/ Weight: Then - 6-1, 191 Now - 6-1, 200
2009 Stats: Smith played in 10 games as a freshman for the Bulldogs earning a pair of starts. He hauled in three passes for 22 yards and made three special teams tackles (two solo, one assist).
Dennis Thames
Hometown:Louisville, Miss. (Louisville)
Position:Athlete
Rating:Four-star (No. 20 ATH, No. 10 Mississippi)
Height/ Weight: Then -5-11, 183 Now - 5-11, 180
2009 Stats:Redshirted
Sam Watts
Hometown: Conyers, Ga. (Salem)
Position: Center
Rating:Three-star (No. 12 C, No. 50 Georgia)
Height/ Weight: Then - 6-5, 300 Now - 6-4, 300
2009 Stats:Redshirted
Chris White
Hometown:Vancleave, Miss. (Gulf Coast C.C.)
Position:Inside Linebacker
Rating:Three-star (No. 64 JUCO)
Height/ Weight: Then - 6-4, 238Now - 6-3, 245
2009 Stats:White started every game for the Bulldogs at outside linebacker. He made 75 tackles (44 solo, 31 assists), four tackles for loss, 0.5 sack, one fumble recovery, one quarterback hurry and three pass deflections.
Nickoe Whitley
Hometown: Jackson, Miss. (Provine)
Position:Athlete
Rating:Three-star (No. 74 ATH, No. 22 Mississippi)
Height/ Weight: Then -6-1, 190 Now - 5-11, 195
2009 Stats:Redshirted
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