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Hopson Pulls Together A Solid Recruiting Class At Southern Miss

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Despite a few academic casualties and flips, Southern Miss pulled in a solid recruiting class considering the situation of a new coach so late in the process.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Southern Miss Golden Eagles experienced a day of highs and lows on the first National Signing Day under new head coach Jay Hopson.

So, getting less than two weeks to work with before NSD, how did Hopson and company do with the 2016 recruiting class? Let's look at who signed with Southern Miss.

  1. Kwadra Griggs, QB (Itawamba C.C.): Griggs is a 6-4, 230 pound pro-style quarterback out of Mississippi. Griggs is a three-star JUCO product, ranked #202 nationally among JUCO players. His is the #31 player in the state of Mississippi and is already enrolled at Southern Miss.
  2. Demetrius Market, CB (South Panola HS): Another early enrollee, Market is a 5-9, 165 pound cornerback out of Batesville, Mississippi. The three-star recruit is also the #48 player in the state of Mississippi.
  3. Isaiah Jones, WR (East Mississippi C.C.): A Milton, Florida native, Jones is one of four wide receivers to sign with Southern Miss in the 2016 recruiting class. Jones is a three-star recruit and the #234 JUCO player in the nation.
  4. Shannon Smith, WR (Northeastern Oklahoma A&M): A 6-4, 208 pound signee out of Macon, Georgia, Smith comes to Southern Miss from the JUCO ranks. He is a two-star recruit and the #283 ranked JUCO prospect in the nation.
  5. Allenzae Staggers, WR (East Mississippi C.C.): The 6-1, 180 pound wide receiver out of East Mississippi CC is a native of Woodville, Mississippi. Staggers is a two-star recruit and the #49 player in the state of Mississippi, #340 nationally among JUCO recruits.
  6. Tarvarius Moore, S (Pearl River C.C.): A 6-2, 190 pound safety out of Poplatville, Mississippi, Moore is another JUCO product. Moores is the #361 ranked JUCO player in the nation and a two-star recruit.
  7. Racheem Booth, ILB (Bassfield HS): The 6-1, 215 pound inside linebacker out of Massfield, Mississippi is the only linebacker signed to the 2016 class. Booth is a three-star recruit and the #30 player in the state of Mississippi.
  8. Jacob Johnson, OT (Spanish Fort HS): A 6-5, 300 pound monster offensive tackle, Johnson is one of four players in the signing class to come from Alabama. The Spanish Fort, Alabama native is a three-star recruit and the #50 player in the state.
  9. Lorenzo Dantzler, DE (Starkville HS): The 6-2, 240 pound defensive end out of Starkville, Mississippi is one of four defensive linemen signees for Southern Miss. He is a three-star recruit that is also the #49 player in the state.
  10. Wyatt Richthofen, OT (Catholic HS): The 6-4, 315 pound tackle out of New Iberia, Louisiana is one of two signees to come from Louisiana. He is a two-star recruit and the #99 player in the state.
  11. Andre Hale, RB (Lake Nona HS): The 5-10, 200 pound running back out of Orlando, Florida is the only running back signed to the 2016 class. He is a two-star recruit and the #326 player in the state of Florida.
  12. T.J. McGinnis, ATH (Pisgah HS): The 6-3, 195 pound athlete out of Satartia, Mississippi is one of twelve in-state signees. McGinnis is a two-star recruit that is also the #58 ranked player in the state of Mississippi.
  13. Cru Birdyshaw, OT (Walker School): The 6-7, 296 pound offensive tackle is one of four players in this recruiting class to come from Alabama. He is a two-star recruit and the #117 player in the state of Alabama.
  14. Demarrio Smith, DE (Canton HS): A 6-2, 264 pound defensive end out of Canton, Mississippi, Smith is a project that could turn into a special player over time.
  15. Quez Watkins, WR (Athens HS): The 6-1, 170 pound wide receiver out of Athens, Alabama is one of four wide receivers to sign with Southern Miss. He is a two-star recruit and the #80 player in the state of Alabama.
  16. Keon Howard, QB (Laurel HS): A very late commit to the Golden Eagles, Howard is one of two quarterbacks in this recruiting class. Howard is a 6-2, 205 quarterback that holds a three-star rating and is also the #24 player in the state of Mississippi.
  17. Jacques Turner, DE (D'Iberville HS): The 6-3, 225 pound defensive end out of Biloxi, Mississippi is one of three defensive linemen in the 2016 signing class. He is a three-star recruit and the #41 player in the state of Mississippi.

Unknowns:

Alonte Alford, Arvin Fletcher, and Rachaun Mitchell have not been announced as part of the recruiting class. Fletcher has signed with both Southern Miss and East Mississippi CC. He will be part of the class if he get in to Southern Miss. Alford and Mitchell were Alcorn State commits under Hopson and look to be wanting to flip to the Golden Eagles. Neither has been reported by the school as a signee yet.

Any Surprises?

A few. Some players that Southern Miss hoped to get signed did not pan out. Jeriko Morris (JUCO) and KaDerrion Mason (Louisiana Tech) were the two biggest losses. There were also a couple of players that no one saw coming to Southern Miss end up signing. The flip of Vada King to Arkansas State also was a bit unexpected.

Top Recruit?

Keon Howard. He is the top ranked quarterback in Mississippi and turned down Mississippi State and Ole Miss. Hopson has to be licking his chops waiting to get Howard into the fold.