Tennessee football: 2018 Mississippi State team could hinder Dan Mullen to Vols

Dan Mullen is a top candidate for Tennessee football head coach. But the 2018 Mississippi State Bulldogs roster may keep him from going to the Volunteers.

If you’re Dan Mullen, it makes sense to want to go to a bigger program at this point. He would seem to have maxed out what he can do with the Mississippi State Bulldogs. And with a program like Tennessee football potentially interested, you could see why Mullen would reciprocate the interest.

However, if he has any patience, he may wait a year to do it. And that could be devastating for the Tennessee football program if they go hard for him.

Right now, Mullen is in a solid position at Mississippi State. Next year, he has a chance to massively increase his value on the open market. That’s simply due to the talent the Bulldogs have coming back.

This team is already 8-3 and in the Top 25, and they’ll likely finish 9-3. But they return eight starters on offense, including four of five offensive linemen, their leading rusher in Aeris Williams, most of their leading receivers, and of course, Nick Fitzgerald at quarterback.

But it doesn’t stop there.

The Bulldogs really only lose two key players on defense, J.T. Gray and Dez Harris. However, outside of them, a ton of guys are back.

Their front seven is loaded with playmakers like Jeffery Simmons, Montez Sweat and Gerri Green coming back. And in the back seven, they just have to figure out how to replace the corners.

If that wasn’t enough, Mississippi State now has the No. 12 ranked recruiting class on Rivals. That’s third in the SEC for 2018. Yes, they’re on pace for arguably their best recruiting class ever.

Combine that with the returning talent, Mullen is set to have a historic year for Mississippi State in 2018. Remember the 2014 team? The 2018 guys should be significantly better.

You could legitimately see them losing to everybody but the Alabama Crimson Tide on the road next year at this point. In fact, I’d pick them in every other game looking that far ahead.

And Alabama may be a winnable.

As a result, it might be best for him to not entertain the Tennessee football offer at this point. Could you imagine his marketability coming off a 11-1 season at Mississippi State? He could command a much higher price for any other job he takes.

Meanwhile, without waiting, he’d take a pay raise not as high as it could have been, and he’d have to go back to rebuilding if he joined the Tennessee football program. It’s not the best setup, and it’s why he may seriously consider returning to Starkville for at least a year.