Analysis: Dandy Dozen could be best in years

Analysis: Dandy Dozen could be best in years


Analysis: Dandy Dozen could be best in years


The 2015 Dandy Dozen could be one of the best in the selection’s history.

The 2015 Dandy Dozen could be one of the best in the selection’s history.

When former Mississippi State quarterback Tyler Russell told the 2015 Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen that they were good but his year, 2008, was the best, he was not without his points. It’s a class that produced budding NFL star Fletcher Cox (Yazoo City) and a large group of college standouts (including Russell); it also underscored the notion that every group thinks its year was the best one.

The class of 2015 is making a strong push to be at least the top Dandy Dozen group in recent memory.

“At the top, this is the best group I have covered since coming over to Scout six years ago,” national recruiting analyst Chad Simmons said. “… It is a very good mix of skill guys and linemen as well. The top prospects in Mississippi could go play for any national school.”

The star ratings do not determine who makes the Dandy Dozen, but it is as good of a barometer as we have as to how prospects rank nationally. There are nine four-star prospects in this class according to the 247Sports composite, and eight of them are on the 12-man team. That’s the most four-star prospects since 2011 to come from the Magnolia State.

What makes this crop stand out is that a clear hierarchy has yet to emerge even within the top group of prospects. That’ll come during their senior seasons.

Who’s the best wide receiver: Oxford’s D.K. Metcalf, Starkville’s A.J. Brown or Oak Grove’s Jordan Duncan (or slot tight end Octavious Cooley from Laurel)?

The quarterbacks are Oxford’s Jack Abraham and Laurel’s Keon Howard, who played each other for the Class 5A state title in 2014 and could repeat that accomplishment in December.

On the defensive line there’s Meridian’s Raekwon Davis, Noxubee County’s Jeffery Simmons, Wayne County’s Benito Jones and Starkville’s Kobe Jones. North Panola athlete Justin Conner will play both ways at running back and corner, the latter of which is the same position as Germantown’s Nigel Knott.

247Sports national recruiting analyst Barton Simmons said a group that includes Davis, Brown and Knott continues to improve its stock in the eyes of the national recruiting media.

“All of these guys just get better and better every time we see them,” Barton Simmons said. “Because there are so many good players in the state this year, I could see about five or six different guys making a strong argument to be the best player in the state by the time their senior seasons are complete.”

Maybe the biggest testament to the strength of this year’s Dandy Dozen is that they made it alone. This was one of the toughest years to pick the group, because there were so many quality high school players to choose from. That’s reflected in recruiting.

“The top 30-40 prospects have strong offer lists for the most part, most are considered to be top-end talents, and there are quite a few strong three-stars that will be in the four-star discussion between now and the end of this cycle,” Chad Simmons said. “For me as a national analyst, I really like what I see at the top this cycle in Mississippi. Not only are they talented kids, but very good people who are willing to work to be on top. It is an impressive year.”

Contact Hugh Kellenberger at (601) 961-7291 or Follow @HKellenbergerCL on Twitter.


More USA TODAY High School Sports