Mississippi State has never signed a four-star quarterback in back-to-back classes under Dan Mullen, but there is a significant chance that changes with this upcoming signing group because of Jalen Mayden’s commitment.
Mayden, who is ranked as the No. 12 dual-threat 2018 quarterback in the country by the 247 Composite out of Sachse High in Texas, announced his commitment Tuesday night to Mississippi State.
He chose the Bulldogs over Baylor, primarily. In large part, Mayden’s decision was because of Mullen’s track record of developing quarterbacks. Mullen has coached Alex Smith, Tim Tebow and Dak Prescott while Nick Fitzgerald flourished from out of nowhere under him.
“I really do like Dan Mullen and how he works with his quarterbacks,” Mayden said.
MSU signed former four-star prospect Keytaon Thompson as part of its 2017 signing class. After enrolling early, Thompson is in position to be the backup under Fitzgerald, a junior who broke single-season SEC records for 100-yard rushing games by a QB (8) and average yards per rush by a QB (7.1).
So where would Mayden fit?
Mayden is not expected to be an early enrollee. Therefore, sources close to the program indicated that there is a significant chance Mayden redshirts his first year. That would make sense, considering it would be Fitzgerald’s final year with the team. From MSU’s perspective, the plan from there would be to have Mayden compete against and likely be the backup to Thompson for at least one season.
There are several variables to those scenarios — including injuries and performances — but make no mistake: the Bulldogs view Mayden as an important piece of their program and as potentially a future game-changer at the position. Mayden wouldn’t be a guy MSU has recruited heavily the last couple of years if that wasn’t the case.
In 2016, Mayden completed 198 of 295 attempts (67 percent) and threw for 2,840 yards with 27 touchdowns and four interceptions. He ran for 632 yards and 11 touchdowns on 131 carries. As a sophomore, Mayden threw for 2,496 yards with 32 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
MSU may not be done adding to the quarterback position for the 2018 class. While MSU views four-star quarterback Gerry Bohanon as an elite high school athlete, sources are unsure if the Arkansas prospect ends up in Starkville after Mayden’s commitment.