Todd Monken has recruited the junior college level hard this year, with 12 of the Golden Eagles' 24 current recruits coming from the JUCO ranks. While Southern Miss has struggled recently, Monken went out and recruited players that can help eliminate some of Southern Miss' weaknesses.
Many considered that Monken and his staff needed to recruit some offensive linemen and defensive backs in this year's class. He responded to those concerns by adding seven offensive linemen with five of those players coming from a junior college. He also added multiple players (DeShadrick Truly, Paxton Schrimsher) who can play in the secondary. Andrew Peterson and Tylor Pollard (both OL commits) are key signees in this year's class. Ricky Parks also was an important commit, he was a highly touted prospect out of high school, and committed to Auburn but later had to leave the team.
Peterson was a highly recruited tight end in 2011 and later signed with Arkansas out of high school. However, he had some disciplinary issues and was booted off the team by Bobby Petrino. He then played at Kilgore Junior College and changed his position from tight end to offensive lineman. His verbal commitment to Southern Miss came in late December and he later signed his letter of intent.
Tylor Pollard played high school football at Oak Grove HS on the west side of Hattiesburg and helped them win a Mississippi 6A South State title. Pollard was recruited by several group of five schools and had offers from Kentucky, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, and Troy. His dad is Lytrel Pollard, who is a Southern Miss alum and is currently an assistant coach on Todd Monken's staff. Pollard, like Peterson, has also already signed his letter of intent.
On defense, junior college players such as DeShadrick Truly and Ricky Parks lead the way. Truly started at safety for JUCO powerhouse East Mississippi CC (Scooba, MS) and won two NJCCA championships with the Lions. Ricky Parks is a defensive tackle and played JUCO ball at Coffeyville CC (Coffeeville, KS) and had offers from group of five schools like UL-Lafayette, Arkansas State, and Toledo along with a power five offer (Iowa State). Before playing at Coffeyville, he was a top recruit who committed to Auburn out of high school but was later kicked off the team for violating team rules.
Other notable commits/signees include HB Ricky Parks (Plant, FL), TE Taylor Marini (Wesson, MS), and OL Drake Dorbeck (Vicksburg, MS). It is tough to recruit when you have compiled a 4-32 record over the past three years but Todd Monken knew what gaps he had to fill to improve his team and he went out and recruited players to do that. Only time will tell, but I don't think this is a bad class, especially given Southern Miss' recent struggles.