Dan Mullen vehemently denied a report Tuesday night that linked him to offering a position to Alcorn State coach Jay Hopson.
“I haven’t talked to Jay Hopson,” Mullen said. “I haven’t offered anyone a contract. We’re going to wait until after signing day.”
FootballScoop.com first reported the offer. A SWAC league source also told The Clarion-Ledger of a potential offer.
Mullen said Tuesday night that he had yet to even narrow a list of candidates down to finalists. His primary concern for the next eight days is national signing day.
Hopson, a Vicksburg native, has been at the helm of Alcorn State since 2012. He guided the Braves to back-to-back first-place finishes in the SWAC’s Eastern Division, and the Braves played in the Celebration Bowl in 2015. It’s still uncertain how much interest Hopson would have transitioning from head coach to a position coach without any titles.
Mullen hopes to fill the vacancy left by Deshea Townsend with someone who has close ties to Mississippi to help in recruiting. Townsend accepted a position with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans to coach their defensive backs.
Hopson played at Ole Miss before coaching defensive backs at Delta State, Southern Miss and his alma mater. He was the Golden Eagles’ defensive coordinator from 2005-2007. After spending two years at Michigan working with the linebackers, Hopson was the defensive coordinator at Memphis until 2011.
Mississippi State already hired a coach within its secondary this offseason. MSU announced the hiring of Terrell Buckley last week. He will work within the secondary and as recruiting coordinator. The program didn’t officially label Buckley as a safeties or cornerbacks coach, which grants Mullen some freedom when making his next hire.
It’s been a hectic offseason for Mississippi State. The Bulldogs first lost safeties coach and recruiting coordinator Tony Hughes, who accepted the head coaching position at Jackson State. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz then left to take the same position at Miami. After the Bulldogs hired Buckley and defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon to fill those spots, Townsend accepted the position with the Titans.
The Bulldogs also promoted Nick Savage to head strength coach this offseason. He replaced Rick Court, who spent the last two seasons at MSU.