Mississippi State got a commitment form Vicksburg LB Rory Johnson out of high school, and again after he entered Hinds C.C., but eventually he signed with Ole Miss, and has made a huge impact. He wasn't the only LB making waves at Hinds, however, and the state's leading tackler this year, Dominic Douglas, has now pledged to attend MSU. Why did he pick State and how do the two compare?
"I committed to Mississippi State, because of the work ethic and the dedication," he said. "I believe they teach their players. Coach Croom came from The League and me as a player I believe I have good work ethic. That is a good atmosphere for me."
Douglas took an unofficial visit to Starkville for the Kentucky game last weekend, and is in the process of setting an official trip. He got a chance to see his new school, a school he had committed to the previous Wednesday.
"I just talked to the coaches, watched the game, got on the field," he said. "I watched the warm-ups and stuff liked that."
Melvin Smith is the man in charge of recruiting the December grad, although the Jackson area has typically been OC Woody McCorvey's area. The reason for that change is unclear at this point.
Why did State choose Douglas?
"They said they like my motor," he said. "They said I play at a fast pace and they think I can run with receivers and take the line towards the running back. They said Culberson is leaving and they are thinking about be being the Sam (strongside) or Will (weakside). They are thinking more of me being the Sam, but when I get in there in December and get with it, who knows?"
While he doesn't know his exact slot, he expects – as a JUCO player – to step in and start immediately. Hinds DC, former Bulldog Larry Williams, agrees.
"I think the No. 1 thing he is going to bring is a better attitude, and better person, to the school. I think Mississippi State was really the only school that showed any interest in the kid, but they are getting a steal really."
With Ole Miss getting Rory Johnson, a player that originally signed with State out of high school, but who is now starring at Ole Miss, comparisons will be made immediately. Coach Williams coached both, so he is the best to make those judgments.
"He's an impact player just like Rory Johnson," he said. "He doesn't have the same speed as Rory, but football knowledge, he has a little better knowledge of the game. I think Rory, he is so good of an athlete, that if he misses a read, he can cover it up, but Dominic, he is just a smart football kid. The only thing between him and Rory is that Rory is just faster.
"Rory is a legit 4.3 guy. Dominic is a 4.6, 4.5 guy. He leads the state in tackles, though. He is a football player." Douglas ended the season with 77 solo tackles, leading the MACJC.
So where does coach Williams feel Douglas will fit into the Bulldog scheme?"
"I think by the time they get him up there – he will be a December kid – he could be a 235-pound linebacker, because he's got the frame and he works a lot with his dad on the weekends and stuff so it will be hard to keep weight on him, because he works outside with his dad," he said. "He does a lot of hard work now."
The key to a D-I player is not always just how his immediate superior views him. Douglas also draws praise from another coach from Hinds. A coach on the other side of the ball, running back coach J.J. Plummer, saw him every day in practice.
"Dominic attitude-wise had a great attitude," he said. "He was one of my favorite players. Just an overall defensive leader. Mississippi State is losing a lot of defensive players and they need some defensive leadership just like Rory Johnson did for Ole Miss to do the job and Dominic Douglas in my opinion is one of those players."