The Southern Miss Golden Eagles are three players richer heading into the 2015 season with Kansas transfer Andrew Bolton, Oklahoma transfer Quincy Russell, and Coffeyville CC transfer Sherrod Ruff all officially joining the program today.
Bolton, a former junior-college transfer who chose to continue his career at Kansas was redshirted in the 2013 season before seeing his only season of action as a redshirt junior in 2014. During the 2014 season, Bolton made 16 tackles, 1.5 sacks and had 3.5 tackles-for-loss from the defensive line. Bolton was expected to be one of the main contributors to the Jayhawks defense that needed major help for the 2015 season.
A Mississippi native, Bolton is believed to have left Kansas due to a combination of frustration from injuries and feeling homesick. The redshirt senior is eligible immediately and should be able to find his way into the rotation at defensive tackle and may even work himself into the starting lineup.
Russell, a transfer from Oklahoma, is a boom or bust type of transfer for the Golden Eagles as he proved on the high school and JUCO level that he has significant talent but saw personal issues end his career at Oklahoma. The 6-4, 310 pound defensive tackle was a 4-star recruit out of high school and played in the Army All-American Game before heading to Trinity Valley Community College.
The San Antonio native was a 2012 NJCAA First-team All-American on the JUCO ranks but only played in two games for the Sooners in 2013. It was announced after the second game of the 2014 season that Russell was booted from the team. Russell himself noted on his Facebook account that his dismissal was due to the coaching staff calling him a team cancer.
Eligible immediately, Russell has the chance to become a good player for the Golden Eagles but has to prove that what happened at Oklahoma will not happen again in Hattiesburg.
The duo of defensive tackles should give preseason first team All-Conference USA defensive lineman Michael Smith and company help on a defense that gave up 35.4 points per game, 111th nationally.
Finally, Coffeyville Community College linebacker Sherrod Ruff made the jump from the JUCO ranks to the FBS as he officially joined the team Monday.
The 5-foot-11, 220-pound Ruff is eligible immediately and has three years left to play after playing only his freshman season at Coffeyville while accumulating 71 tackles and five sacks for the Red Ravens.
Southern Miss beat out offers from Arkansas State, Middle Tennessee, Georgia Southern and Buffalo for his services. Ruff previously played alongside current Golden Eagles Devonta Foster and Ricky Parks with the opportunity to play with former teammates helping to secure Ruff's services.