East Central tight end Brad Cumbest officially signed to join the Mississippi State football program Wednesday morning.
The 6-foot-6, 235-pound senior took the chance to sign early with the Bulldogs with the NCAA instituting an early signing period for high school players.
Surrounded by family, Cumbest signed his National Letter of Intent at home.
“It feels great,” he said. “I’m truly blessed. I’m excited and I cannot wait to get to Starkville.”
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Cumbest’s signing is a significant accomplishment for East Central High School, which is not typically known for its football team. The tight end is the first football player from the school to sign with Mississippi State.
He was fully aware of the history he made when he signed with MSU Wednesday.
“That’s pretty special,” he said.
Cumbest is the first East Central player to sign with an SEC school since running back Darrell Clark signed with Ole Miss in 1976.
“It just validates how special this team is and shows the quality of the senior class,” East Central head coach Seth Smith said. “You had a kid like Tony Brown being named the Gatorade Player of the Year and All-USA, and Brad Cumbest signing with an SEC program. It shows you how special this group is and it shows future Hornets how possible these things are.”
Alabama and Arkansas made contact with Cumbest late in the recruiting process, but he never really wavered after verbally committing to Mississippi State in June.
Even when MSU head coach Dan Mullen left for Florida in late November, Cumbest stayed focused on MSU.
“That’s just where I wanted to go to school,” he said.
Cumbest plans to enroll at Mississippi State this June and prepare to play for new head coach Joe Moorhead. He hopes to bulk up and get to 250 pounds before the 2018 season begins.
“With his frame, he can hold between 250 and 265 pounds and still run good,” Smith said. “He’s got a ton of God given ability.”
“Tony Brown and Brad Cumbest are similiar in that they have a ton of ability and they’re humble kids. He’s always the same.”
Cumbest caught 36 passes for 766 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior, helping lead East Central to a Class 4A South State title and to a 13-1 record. He took part in the Bernard Blackwell All-Star Classic and the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game.