Earlier this fall, Lee Witherspoon visited Mississippi State for the Bulldogs’ SEC showdown with Auburn.
The atmosphere during Mississippi State’s 23-9 win made quite the impression on the North Jackson running back.
“I already liked it there, liked the coaches and everything,” he said. “After seeing that [atmosphere], I wanted to be there.”
Witherspoon will be there next fall. Less than a month after committing to Mississippi State, Witherspoon officially signed his letter of intent with the school Wednesday during a signing ceremony at North Jackson High School.
“I’m excited about Mississippi State,” Witherspoon said. “I can’t wait to get started.”
Witherspoon chose Mississippi State over offers from Virginia Tech, UAB, Troy, Louisville, Alabama A&M, Arkansas State, Middle Tennessee and Tulane. He had also had interest from Tennessee and Iowa.
Witherspoon put together a record-setting season after transferring to North Jackson from Parker High School in Birmingham.
Witherspoon ran for a school-record 2,846 yards on 148 carries (19.3 yards per carry) and totaled a state-record 53 rushing touchdowns. He scored a state-record 59 touchdown in all this season for the Chiefs, who averaged 56 points per game, went 11-1 and won the Class 4A Region 7 championship. Witherspoon, whose been clocked at 4.3 seconds in the 40-yard dash, is also track and field standout in the 100- and 200-meter dash. He was the Class 4A runner-up in the 100 last spring.
Witherspoon did not have a single scholarship offer until North Jackson head coach Mark Rose took him to some camps this past summer. He began receiving offers to play defensive back, but Rose believed recruiters would soon recruit Witherspoon for offense after seeing him play running back, a position he had never played before arriving at North Jackson.
“Once we got some offensive film on him, people started wanting him as a running back,” Rose said. “One step — he’s gone. Mississippi State recruited him as running back all the way.”
Witherspoon described the recruitment process as a whirlwind, saying he leaned on his parents, Diana and Larry Witherspoon, as well as other family members and coaches during the process.
He also thanked his North Jackson teammates for helping him reach this point in his football career.
“They accepted me with open arms and treated me like family from the first day I got here,” Witherspoon said. “It was great playing with them.”
Witherspoon plans to major in computer engineering at Mississippi State. He called it a “dream come true” to play in the SEC.
“I know it’s going to be intense,” Witherspoon said. “I’m going to go in and compete and work hard every day. I’m just excited to play in the SEC.”