One of the state’s most recognized and honored prep players has decided to stay close to home when he takes his game to the next level.
Meridian High School prospect Rodney Hood verbally committed to Mississippi State Wednesday afternoon at a local Boys and Girls club. At the noon press conference, Hood reached from underneath the podium to put on a white MSU hat signifying he would be headed to Starkville.
“I made the decision this weekend when my brothers came home,” Hood said at the podium. “We all sat down, had a family discussion and decided that Mississippi State was the best decision for me.”
Hood, who is a two-time Mississippi player of the year that led Meridian High to the Class 6A state title game, is a scary perimeter threat because of his size and scoring ability either with his left-handed jump shot or his ability to put the basketball on the floor in order to attack the rim.
“We didn't want Rodney to limit himself to the state or the SEC but the fact that he grew up in this state and the state knows who he is brings something different," Ricky Hood, Rodney's father, told ESPN.com.
The 6-foot-7, 190-pound shooting guard is a four-star prospect according to numerous scouting services and considered a Top 10 player at his position and Top 30 recruit overall throughout the country in the 2011 class.
Hood, who has said he plans to sign in the early signing period beginning on Nov.10, received offers from Ole Miss, Alabama, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Baylor and Marquette.
Recent reports have already documented the close friendship between Ricky Hood and his family with Mississippi State’s new assistant coach and former Meridian Community College head coach George Brooks.
“I’ve known coach Stansbury since eighth grade and it means so much to me that they’ve believed in me for that long,” Hood told Bulldawgjunction.com after he made his announcement.
Under NCAA rules, college coaches are not allowed to comment on prospects until they sign a national letter-of-intent with a university.
Hood, who is on track to meet NCAA freshman eligibility requirements, averaged 22.1 points. 6.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists last season at Meridian High.
“He said why not Mississippi State?" Ricky Hood said to ESPN.com. "The best players in Alabama go to Alabama. The best players in Louisiana go to LSU. Why shouldn't the best player in Mississippi consider Mississippi State?"
Hood became the second player, joining Callaway High School four-star point guard Deville Smith, to commit to Mississippi State. His commitment pushed Mississippi State’s 2011 recruiting class ranking into the Top 20 nationally by several ranking services.
The future MSU backcourt duo will now attempt to try and get Brandon High School product Tyler Adams, who was verbally committed to Duke but has reopened his recruitment to include MSU and Georgetown, to sign with the Bulldogs.
“We’ve been talking about it ever since the summer,” Hood told Bulldawgjunction.com. “All around the country people are teaming up so why not do it with somebody that you have experience playing with.”
Local fans can see Hood open up his season when Meridian travels to Starkville High on Nov. 9 for a non-conference game against the defending Class 6A state champion Yellowjackets.