Though reeling a bit from the decommitment from Marquez McNair, the Southern Miss Golden Eagles have done a great job of holding together a very good recruiting class. The loss of head coach Todd Monken could have been devastating, but the coaching staff kept things together for Conference USA's #4 ranked and #86 nationally ranked class one day in advance of National Signing Day.
Wide receiver was a position that the coaching staff targeted in recruiting and it has paid off handsomely. The Golden Eagles currently have the commitments of Isaiah Jones (East Mississippi CC), Shannon Smith (NE Oklahoma A&M), Allenzae Staggers (East Mississippi CC), Terrance Watkins (Athens, AL), and Brandon Rodgers (Mobile, AL). That is five wide receivers headed to Hattiesburg. Even with the loss of McNair, Southern Miss racked up at that position in advance of NSD.
The transfer of Tyler Matthews to New Mexico State has made the enrollment of pro-style quarterback Kwadra Griggs (Itawamba C.C.) even more important. The Fulton, Mississippi native comes in with experience at the JUCO level and should compete for the backup spot behind Nick Mullens . He is already enrolled and will participate in spring practice.
Running back Andre Hale (Orlando, FL) could turn into quite the player for the Golden Eagles. He is 5-10, 200 pounds and shift, reminding many of current running back Ito Smith . Hale is sitting on offers from Appalachian State, Florida Atlantic, Iowa State, and Temple among others.
Losing part of a group of experienced linemen that made every start in 2016, reinforcements are needed moving forward. Southern Miss has racked up multiple commitments in the trenches led by offensive tackle Jacob Johnson (Spanish Fort, AL). The 6-5 tackle is a three-star recruit and the #50 player in the state of Alabama. Wyatt Richthofen (New Iberia, LA), Vada King (Smiths Station, AL), Cru Birdyshaw (Jasper, AL), and Larry Robinson (Metairie, LA) round out the offensive line commit group.
Compared to 12 commits on the offensive side of the ball, the Golden Eagles only have six defensive commitments.
Defensive line was the biggest need moving forward and Southern Miss took care of that. They landed four commitments, led by three-star defensive end KaDerrion Mason (Mccomb, MS). The #25 player in the state of Mississippi, Mason is holding 10 offers that include Kentucky, Mississippi State, and West Virginia. Fellow three-star commits Jacques Turner (Biloxi, MS), Jordan Beaton (Gulfport, MS), and Lorenzo Dantzler (Starkville, MS) make out a defensive line group of nothing but Mississippi natives.
There is a bit of a worry that the Golden Eagles only hold the commitment of one linebacker heading into NSD. Mississippi native Racheem Booth (Bassfield, MS) is a three-star recruit that is also the #30 player in the state of Mississippi. It would not be a surprise if Southern Miss made one last attempt at another linebacker late in the process.
Losing Kalan Reed is tough, but a couple of talented defensive backs should help ease things. South Panola product Demetrius Market is a three-star cornerback that enrolled for the spring semester. He will participate in spring drills. JUCO transfer Tarvarius Moore (Pearl River C.C.) will join him from the safety spot. Moore is a two-star recruit that is saw interest from Louisville.
Rounding out the prospective class is a pair of athletes from in-state programs. Jeriko Morris (Crystal Springs, MS) and T.J. McGinnis (Satartia, MS) have the ability to play multiple positions. Morris is the top rated player from this recruiting class and will have the Southern Miss faithful holding their breath until he signs. South Carolina and Mississippi State have both offered and he visited Columbia, South Carolina last weekend.
Overall, the Golden Eagles have ten of the top 50 players in the state of Mississippi and 12 overall in-state commits.