College football recruiting has become a year-long business.
The Big Three schools have firmly established themselves in the aggressive recruiting market, landing several high-profile commitments during the summer. A combined 20 players have committed to either Ole Miss, Mississippi State or Southern Miss.
Steve Robertson of Scout.com believes social media is the main reason for the Big 3 changing their recruiting strategy.
“The recruiting process has become more of a year-round undertaking especially over the course of the last decade,” Robertson said. “Just about everything programs do now is to attract better talent.
“The way the internet has showcased recruiting has been a game changer for college programs. Everybody knows what everybody else is doing and when they’re doing it now. You can’t hide players anymore. If a kid in Mississippi gets a big offer, everybody in the state knows about it within an hour or so. That keeps everyone involved on the coaching end of it on their toes. Junior days and summer camps have become major and well-orchestrated events now.”
BigGoldNation.com Publisher Lanny Mixon says the Rebels, Bulldogs and Golden Eagles all have made an emphasis on keeping players within the state borders.
“What you have in Mississippi right now is three programs who see the importance of recruiting the best athletes close to home and they’re doing it well,” Mixon said. “In-state recruiting in Mississippi is as competitive as it is anywhere in the country.”
Ole Miss (7-6 in 2012) has positioned itself for a second straight Top 10 nationally signing class in February.
The Rebels have 10 verbal commitments from the Magnolia state. Should the players keep their word and sign on National Signing Day, Ole Miss will win the in-state recruiting battle.
Ole Miss raided two schools for half of its in-state haul: Bassfield and Callaway.
Three Chargers are bound for Oxford: offensive guard Rod Taylor, safety Ronald Walker and wide receiver Dayall Harris. Taylor is widely considered the state’s top prospect.
Identical twins Alvin and Calvin Moore represent Bassfield for the Rebels. Both are projected as defensive backs for the Rebels.
MSU (8-5) has done most of its early recruiting through the South Mississippi region. Three of the Bulldogs’ six verbal pledges are either from the Pine Belt or the Coast.
Harrison Central cornerback Lashard Durr is headed to Starkville. The two Pine Belt representatives going to MSU are Forrest County AHS running back Dontavian Lee and Columbia Academy punter Logan Cooke.
Southern Miss (0-12) has changed its recruiting tactics under first-year coach Todd Monken. The Golden Eagles usually wait until after the season to aggressively recruit players, but they’ve landed four commitments.
Southern Miss has three cornerback pledges: Cornell Armstrong (Bassfield), Brandon Bryant (Rosa Fort) and Xavier Marion (Ridgeland).
“Monken is doing many of the same tactics that former coach Larry Fedora used with such success such as the travelling camps,” Mixon said. “It’s paying off.”