Photo/James Pugh

Charles Cross finalized his move to stay in “The Sip.”

Previously committed to Florida State, then switching to Mississippi State, Laurel’s four-star OT signed his National Letter of Intent with the Bulldogs on Wednesday as a part of the NCAA’s early signing period. 

“It’s been a long and I wouldn’t say stressful, but an interesting process,” said Cross inside the Laurel High School Auditorium. “I’ve enjoyed it.”

Upon his decision to decommit to Florida State in late November, Mississippi State became the obvious choice for Cross after a 19-day decision process.

“It felt like a family environment, and I felt comfortable with it,” said Cross added. “I enjoyed my visits there. They care about their football players. I felt that it was the best place for me.”

“He’s such an outstanding young man,” said Laurel head coach Todd Breland. “Everything good that comes to him, he deserves it. He works hard, and he’s a humble young man. We here at Laurel are certainly proud of him. Mississippi State has a good one coming.”

Accolades and awards seemed non-stop of the nation’s No. 194 overall player as rated by ESPN300. Back in September, Cross was selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl along with another Jones County standout Byron Young from West Jones. Young is currently committed to Alabama and will sign his NLI in February. The All-American Bowl is set for early January.

Cross played in last Monday’s Mississippi-Alabama All-Star football game in Montgomery, Alabama. He was also selected to Sports601’s All-Area Team for the 2018 season. 

Mississippi State finished Wednesday ranked No. 14th in the nation according to On, Mississippi State is currently ranked one spot in front of rival Ole Miss at No. 23. The Bulldogs have six four-stars in its 2019 class, including Cross. 

“I’m happy to be able to stay in the state [of Mississippi],” said Cross. “I love Mississippi, and I’m not ashamed of where I come from. I’ll keep on representing.”

Cross added that he loves playing nearby where family and friends can easily watch him play. 

Note: Former Laurel teammate Dontario Drummond, who played the past two years at East Mississippi Community College will remain in Mississippi as well. The nation’s fourth-best JUCO WR signed with Ole Miss on Wednesday.