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Mississippi State plays a challenging schedule this season, as is the norm in the SEC West. Where are the opportunities though, and where are the trouble parts? Hugh Kellenberger and Will Sammon discuss.
Hugh Kellenberger and Will Sammon

Mississippi State has valued versatility and the ability to play on either side of the ball in its 2018 class lately with West Point’s Marcus Murphy and Pearl’s Johnquarise Patterson being two in-state examples.

That trend continued on Thursday.

Three-star athlete Nathaniel Watson out of Maplesville, Ala., announced his verbal commitment to Mississippi State after being a top target for the Bulldogs throughout the summer.

Watson is expected to play wide receiver at the next level, but he can also play safety and linebacker. He will be given an opportunity to compete early as a wide receiver at MSU, sources close to the program said.

Watson had 45 catches for 1,070 yards and 12 touchdowns, and he also rushed for 376 yards and five touchdowns for Maplesville, which went undefeated in capturing the 1A state title in Alabama last season. Defensively, Watson recorded 70 tackles and four interceptions. He returned two of those picks for touchdowns.

At 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, Watson is rated as the nation’s No. 40 athlete and Alabama’s No. 18 overall prospect by the 247Sports Composite rankings. Watson is the third 2018 player from Alabama to commit to Mississippi State, joining Beauregard running back La’damian Webb and Fort Payne Academy kicker Evan McPherson.

Watson, who also held interest from Auburn and Ole Miss, is MSU’s 21st commit for the 2018 class. Other wide receiver commits on the list are Callaway’s Malik Heath, Patterson, Co-Lin’s Nero Nelson and Starkville’s Cameron Gardner. The 247Sports Composite ranks Watson between Heath, the team’s top commit, and Patterson.

This story will be updated.