SuperTalk Mississippi

Ole Miss, MSU, and USM finalize 2018 classes – Signing Day Wrap

Photos courtesy of Telesouth Communications Inc.

In the first year of the early signing period format, NSD may not have been quite as electric as it has been in years past, but with that being said, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and USM were all able to fill out their 2018 recruiting classes and add talent and depth across the board. The players, coaches and fans can now begin to prepare for the 2018 season which can’t get here soon enough. Below you’ll find a break down of each class, and quotes from coaches discussing how these new recruits fit on their respective teams.

Ole Miss: 

Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke. Photo courtesy of Telesouth Communications Inc.

The Rebels began the day with the 28th ranked class according to 24/7 sports and moved back a few spots to #31 which is still a vast improvement from where they stood in early December. After the early signing period, the Rebels still look to be in a good spot moving forward with a class headlined by 4-star QB Matt Coral. On NSD, the Rebels were able to add several intriguing prospects including ATH Tylan Knight who played nearly every position on the field on his way to becoming the 6A player of the year with the Pearl Pirates. As far as where Knight will line up for Ole Miss, head coach Matt Luke says that has yet to be determined.

“Probably the steal of the class is Tylan Knight. Everywhere I went in the state of Mississippi they were `This kid’s the best player in the state,’ `This kid’s the best player in the state.’ `If we picked the Mississippi Alabama game over again, this guy would be first.’ State champion, MVP of the Miss-Al game, and just a kid I’m very, very excited about. We had a lot of discussions in our staff meeting similar to what we did when we had Dexter McCluster. This kid is a very dynamic player and I’m really excited about him,” Luke said. “We’ve got him on the bus, now we’ve just got to find him the right seat.”

Ole Miss was also able to add depth on the DL and at the linebacker position where they continued to struggle at times in 2017. Luke discussed the added talent and highlighted DL Noah Jefferson who comes to Oxford as a JUCO transfer. Jefferson was initially a 4-star recruit who played his freshman year at USC and could make an immediate impact with the departure of Breeland Speaks.

“On the defensive line, I think it was important for us to add size, and we definitely did that with Noah (Jefferson). He is a big guy that can anchor in the middle. Quentin (Bivens), KD (Hill), and Hal (Northern) we got in mid-year and also James (Williams), so really we’re able to address the need of size at that position, so I’m really proud of that…Top to bottom, we’re just able to address a bunch of needs in this class, and we’re really, really excited,” Luke said.

In total, Ole Miss’ class consists of 21 players with eight from Mississippi. With just 5 players on offense, Ole Miss was clearly looking to rebuild their defense in this class, but the few offensive players they did pick up have a chance to be impact players for the Rebels. WR has been a strength for Ole Miss in the past and that shouldn’t be any different moving forward with the addition of 4-star recruits like Elijah Moore (early) and Miles Battle along with 3-star Demarcus Gregory. There was only one OL in this class, so Ole Miss may feel that they already have the needed depth, but in the course of a season, injuries take their toll. While everyone knows the questions surrounding the 2018 bowl ban, this class helps the Ole Miss program with Matt Luke at the helm, begin to turn the page to a new era.

As previously mentioned, Ole Miss ended the day with the 31st ranked class nationally. Their class ends as the 10th rated class in the SEC.

Below you can see the running log of players who sent in their LOIs to Oxford throughout the day.

OL Hamilton Hall from Atlanta, GA is the first one to sign with the Rebels this morning.

TE Dawson Knox’s little brother LB Luke will keep the family tradition going as he will make his to Oxford.

DB JaKorey Hawkins commits to Ole Miss. The Montgomery, AL native will help sure up the Rebels’ defensive backfield.

Hawkins’ teammate from Lee HS in Montgomery, LB Kevontae’ Ruggs has also committed to Ole Miss.

While he announced his decision yesterday, WR Miles Battle made things official and has sent in his LOI to Ole Miss.

The in-state recruiting battle continues as ATH Tylan Knight from Pearl has committed to Ole Miss. Knight was named the 2017 6A Player of the Year.

Coming all the way from Las Vegas to Oxford is DT Noah Jefferson. Jefferson played at Arizona Western CC last season after playing his freshman season at USC.

Ole Miss’ final class can be seen below:

Mississippi State:

photo courtesy of Mississippi state university

After finishing December’s early signing period with a plethora of offensive talent, Mississippi State when all in on improving the defensive side of the ball. As the faxes began to come in, it was clear that the Bulldogs were able to emphasize in-state recruiting ahead of NSD with six of the nine players hailing from the state of Mississippi, bringing their total to 13 for the entire class. The Bulldogs were able to secure the commitment of the #1 player in the state WR Malik Heath back in December, and new head coach Joe Moorhead discussed how they were able to bring some of the state’s top talent to Starkville.

“Our message to the coaches in-state is there is no reason why the best of the best have to go anywhere else to play ball and telling them why staying here and playing at Mississippi State is a great opportunity academically, football-wise and socially and great things can happen here and we can championships. The response has been tremendous,” Moorhead said.

Like the Rebels, MSU found a player that can line up anywhere on the field and make an impact. Nathaniel Watson from Maplesville, AL is listed as a linebacker on the MSU website, but once the pads go on, it may come down to where the Bulldogs need him most.

“Nathaniel is a three-time state champion out of Alabama. He’s a big, strong, physical guy who can run, play wide receiver, play safety. He played some linebacker. He’s a guy that kind of likes to lead. He’s got a lot of versatility and can do a lot of things, but I don’t think it was anything incredibly unique that, very similar to what we did with the initial 15. We went in and continued to develop relationships and stay consistent with what our message is and what the culture’s going to be and how we see them fit in our scheme and how we’re going to develop them on the field, in the classroom and out in the community,” Moorhead said.

The Bulldogs are coming off an intriguing year which concluded with a win in the Taxslayer Bowl over Lousiville, and Coach Moorhead must be anxiously awaiting to get his squad on the field and begin implementing his system. He will eventually get QB Nick Fitzgerald back, and has now provided him with a significant amount of talent.

MSU’s class jumped a few spots and ended the day at #27, good for 9th in the SEC.

Below is the thread of players who committed on NSD:

Mississippi State began their day with an in-state recruit committing to the Bulldogs. CB Esaias Furdge from Clarksdale High is the newest member of MSU’s 2018 class.

Another Mississippi product and another WR for Mississippi State as Johnquarise Patterson from Pearl is officially a Bulldog.

CB Jaylon Reed has become the latest to commit to MSU. Reed is another Mississippi native from Olive Branch who will stay in-state to play his college ball.

LB Nathaniel Watson from Maplesville, AL has become a member of the Bulldogs 2018 class.

The MSU defense continues to get stronger as they add DT Fabien Lovett from Olive Branch.

Another new member of the MSU defense as LB Aaron Brule has sent his LOI.

DT Cameron Young from Meadville, MS will stay in state to play for MSU.

OL Kameron Jones won’t have far to travel as he stays home in Starkville.

Here’s the Bulldogs final class.

Courtesy of MSU Athletics

Southern Miss:

M.M. Roberts Stadium at Southern Miss. Photo courtesy of Telesouth Communications Inc.

In December, USM brought in 12 players, and head coach Jay Hobson said that they wouldn’t bring anyone in early that they “didn’t just really want.” He went on to say that they would look to add a running back as they try to find a replacement for Ito Smith. Hopson also mentioned linemen and the defensive backfield as areas of need heading into NSD. The Golden Eagles’ class of 25 includes 11 players transferring from JUCOs so the experience they bring to the team could gel with younger players and help make up a strong class in Hattiesburg. One of those players is Nick Dawson DL a JUCO transfer from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M. DL coach for the Golden Eagles, Derek Nicholson says that Dawson can make an immediate impact.

“He’s a great football player. We look forward to him making an immediate impact for us. An end that’s dynamic and get to get the passer in a variety of different plays. He’s an every down football player. He plays the run just as good as he gets after the quarterback,” Nicholson said. “In my opinion, he’s one of those NFL-caliber players.”

Another huge pick up for the Golden Eagles was DE Deuntra Hyman from Meridian. Hyman held offers Ole Miss, FSU, MSU, and several other schools but chose to head to Hattiesburg to play his college ball and DC Tony Pecoraro is excited to see him develop.

“He’s a big-time pass rushing specialist. He was definitely a big-time get for us. He’s big, he’s tall, he’s fast. He’s definitely a very physical football player and we are extremely excited to have him,” Pecoraro said.

After facing off with FSU in the Independence Bowl, USM has been able to make themselves into an attractive destination for recruits so this season will be crucial. If they can make it back to a big stage and continue to show improvment, good things are sure to come in Hattiesburg.

USM ended the day with the 81st ranked class in the country, and 5th in C-USA.

Here is running list of players who committed throughout NSD.

Southern Miss had a busy day, and DB Ky’el Hemby kicked things off as he sent in his LOI.

It’s not a position that you often think about on NSD, but long snapper T.J. Harvey from Shaw, GA has committed to the Golden Eagles.

DE/LB Nick Dawson has also committed to USM. Dawson is a JUCO transfer from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M. Dawson is the 8th JUCO transfer in the Golden Eagles’ class.

Dawson’s teammate from NO A&M DT Isiah Johnson will also make his way to Hattiesburg after announcing his commitment on Twitter.

Meridian native DE Deuntra Hyman has sent his LOI in and is officially a Golden Eagle. Hyman held offers from Ole Miss, FSU, Kentucky and others.

As USM looks for Ito Smith’s replacement at RB, Trivenskey Mosley from Shreveport, LA has signed with the Golden Eagles.

USM continues to bolster their interior line as DL Junior Carswell has committed and will make his way to Hattiesburg.

DB Malik Shorts from Bassfield was the Golden Eagles’ final recruit of the day.

Take at USM’s final class:

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