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Here are the Mississippi players invited to the NFL combine

Frank Gore, Jr.
Photo courtesy of USM Athletics

The NFL released the list of players invited to the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday with a handful of Mississippians being given the opportunity to boost their draft stock.

The combine, which will be held in Indianapolis from Feb. 26 through March 4, will be one of the last opportunities for prospects to showcase their talents prior to the NFL Draft held April 24-26. Below is the list of Mississippi guys set to participate.

Daijahn Anthony – CB, Ole Miss

The Liberty transfer played in all 13 games for the Rebels in 2023, leading the team with three interceptions and eight pass breakups. The senior safety added 61 total tackles, easily surpassing his tackle count during two years playing for Hugh Freeze in Lynchburg. Anthony’s biggest game came in the final regular season performance when he notched a career-high 15 tackles in a win over archrival Mississippi State.

Trey Benson – RB, Florida State

Considered the No. 2 running back in this year’s draft, Benson made the most of his two years in Tallahassee after transferring from Oregon. In 2022, the Greenville native racked up 990 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. In 2023, he increased his touchdown number to 14 while gaining 905 yards rushing the ball. More impressively, he averaged over six yards per carry in 26 games for the Seminoles.

Jaden Crumedy – DT, Mississippi State

Arguably the most consistent piece of Mississippi State’s defensive line over the last five seasons, Crumedy ended his career with 39 consecutive starts. Over 53 games in Starkville, he recorded 119 tackles (16 for loss), 8.5 sacks, five pass deflections, one fumble recovery, and one blocked field goal. The Hattiesburg native had his best season in 2023, finishing with a career-high 35 tackles.

Frank Gore, Jr. – RB, Southern Miss

Even after some speculation that Gore might return to Hattiesburg for one more year, the son of NFL Hall of Famer Frank Gore, Sr. is looking to continue the family lineage at the next level. Gore finished the 2023 campaign with 1,131 rushing yards, 221 receiving yards, and 13 touchdowns. He accounted for 38 total scores throughout his career at Southern Miss.

Lideatrick “Tulu” Griffin – WR, Mississippi State

One of the more explosive players coming out of the SEC, Griffin can be a menace when the ball gets in his hands. In 2023, he had 658 receiving yards on 50 receptions with four touchdowns to wrap up a career that included over 1,500 total yards. Griffin may end up finding a spot in the NFL as a return specialist. In 2022, he led the nation in kickoff return yards with a 32.2-yard average – the second-best mark in SEC history.

Cedric Johnson – DE, Ole Miss

Even though he decided to forego the Peach Bowl, Johnson wrapped up his final season in Oxford with 10 starts on the defensive line. An honorable mention All-SEC pass rusher, Johnson had 5.5 sacks and 40 tackles in 2023 to finish out a career that included 111 tackles and 19 sacks.

Dillon Johnson – RB, Washington

Transferring to Washington after three seasons at Mississippi State may have been the best decision Johnson could have made in terms of upping his draft stock. The Greenville native went from having 1,198 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns total in Mike Leach’s Air Raid to having 1,195 yards and 16 touchdowns during his lone season in Seattle. The biggest positive from Johnson’s time in Starkville was the pass-heavy offense allowed him to showcase what he can do as a receiver, going for 422 yards and one touchdown in 2021.

Jarrian Jones, CB, Florida State

Like Benson, Jones made the most of his time in Tallahassee after transferring from Mississippi State. The Magee native’s best season came in 2023, recording 25 tackles, three pass breakups, three interceptions, and one sack. In 2022, he was named Florida State’s most-improved player after a season that included 19 tackles, one interception, and four pass breakups.

Deantre Prince – CB, Ole Miss

Prince, who arguably took a step back in 2023, still had a solid career during his time in Oxford. After a nice freshman campaign in 2019 that included 25 tackles and two interceptions, Prince had to go the JUCO route for one season to get his grades back on track. Upon his return to Oxford in 2021, he had 45 tackles, two interceptions, and one forced fumble for what would be his best season on paper. In 2022, he had 39 tackles and one interception followed up by a 2023 campaign that consisted of 36 tackles and one interception. He finished his career with 21 broken-up passes.

Decamerion Richardson – CB, Mississippi State

After a whirlwind of an offseason in which Richardson initially announced his intentions to transfer from Mississippi State to Ole Miss, the senior defensive back shifted gears and announced that he would be declaring for the draft. In four years in Starkville, Richardson appeared in 45 games while making 26 starts. He led all SEC corners in tackles in both 2022 (85) and 2023 (79) en route to 177 career tackles. The only possible knock on his resume is that he was unable to find an interception during his four years on the collegiate level.

Nathaniel “Bookie” Watson – LB, Mississippi State

Probably the most decorated player on this list, Watson was the Associated Press’ SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2023 after leading the conference in both tackles (137) and sacks (10). In his final campaign, Watson added seven quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles, a pair of pass breakups, and an interception. Over five seasons in Starkville, he amassed 358 tackles, 21 sacks, two interceptions, and three forced fumbles in 56 games.

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