Relationships won out for Mississippi State when it came to Franklin Road Academy (Tenn.) offensive tackle Joe Crocker, who announced his commitment to the Bulldogs on Monday evening.
The four-star chose Mississippi State over a final three that also included Michigan State and Wisconsin – all of which he took official visits with during the month of June.
The 6-foot-7, 310-pound prospect was offered by Mississippi State as a sophomore and has visited Starkville six times since. That familiarity and comfort level was on display during his official visit with the Bulldogs’ staff the weekend of June 10th which ultimately helped them land one of their most coveted targets in the 2023 class.
Crocker broke down his decision with Rivals.com below.
– On why he chose Mississippi State:
“My relationship with the coaching staff and the players there were super-strong. I felt wanted by the whole staff and even the players. I connected really well with my host, Lucas Taylor, and just really felt comfortable there. It’s a need for me. I felt really needed and wanted and decided that was the best place for me.”
– On the moment he told the coaching staff:
“First, I called Coach (Mason) Miller. He freaked out on the phone. He was with his family and his friends and they all started screaming. I met them when I was on my visit there and they are always asking how I’m doing. That felt really good. Then I called Coach (Eric) Mele, he offered me when I was a sophomore. It was good to hear the excitement from him. Then I called Coach (Carson) Cramer and Coach (Mike) Leach. They were all super-excited and pumped up over the phone.”
– On what stood out on his official visit:
“The time spent with Coach Miller. I’ve built a really good relationship with him. But during the early stages of my recruitment, it was with Coach Mele. Really, it was spending quality time with everyone in person. Also, my parents were so comfortable with everyone there. That’s a big thing because when you are there with a staff for three days, you get a sense of what everyone is really like. Everyone was super-genuine the whole time we were there.”
– On what Coach Miller likes about his skills and abilities:
“He likes me at tackle. I can also slide over to guard as well. But, he said I have some of the best hands he’s seen from many big tackles. He also said I had some of the best footwork along with my ability to move and bend. He also loves my nastiness too. He basically said he hasn’t seen anyone my size be able to move and do what I do.”
– On who he’ll be recruiting for the Bulldogs moving forward:
“I’m familiar with Seth Davis. I’m going to reach to Malik (Malik Ellis) and get to know him better. I’ve definitely already started recruiting. My next target is going to be Chris Parson. He visited Mississippi State the same weekend I was on my official. I got to talk with him a good bit with him and Coach Leach. I’m also going to reach out to the receiver from Blackman (Tenn.), Justin Brown.”