Bowl victories have given both Ole Miss and Mississippi State a big boost in their pursuit of the state’s Top football recruits.
The Rebels (8-5) and Bulldogs (7-6) combine for 16 of the Sun Herald’s Top 25 recruits. Ole Miss is ranked 14th by Rivals.com and 16th at Scout.com. MSU ‘s current freshmen crop is rated 46th by Rivals.com and not ranked among the Top 25 classes at Scout.com.
Despite the heavy volume of commitments, Steve Robertson of Scout.com sees the Class of 2014 as average.
“We have a great group of prospects, but the in state class lacks headliners and true difference makers,” Robertson said. “Most of the highly recruited guys in the class will need some refinement before they make an impact on the college level.”
BigGoldNation.com Publisher Lanny Mixon agrees.
“This year the high school crop in Mississippi doesn’t have the overall depth that we usually see,” Mixon said. “There are some great players in this class, but the number of high quality players isn’t what we’re used to seeing.”
Coming off a 25-17 win over Georgia Tech in the Music City Bowl, the Rebels have verbals from the state’s top three players: Callaway offensive lineman Rod Taylor, Meridian cornerback C.J. Hampton, and Lafayette running back D.K. Buford. Overall, the Rebels have secured verbals from nine of the 25 players.
Other Ole Miss verbals from the Top 25 are Purvis wide receiver Markell Pack, Callaway defensive end Breeland Speaks, Callaway wide receiver Dayall Harris, DeSoto Central offensive lineman Tyler Putman, Olive Branch linebacker Alfred Dickens and Bassfield linebacker Alvin Moore.
The Bulldogs have four verbal pledges in the Top 10: Petal wide receiver Jesse Jackson, Greenville linebacker Gerri Green, West Point running back Aeris Williams, and Newton County wide receiver Jamoral Graham.
MSU’s other Top 25 commitments are FCAHS running back Dontavian Lee, Tunica cornerback Brandon Bryant and Madison-Ridgeland Academy offensive lineman Sean Rawlings. The Bulldogs have six of the state’s Top 25 prospects.
Callaway safety Ronald Walker has already enrolled at Co-Lin.
The two Egg Bowl rivals continued their recent trend of keeping top recruits within the state’s borders. Just four players are headed out of state: Wilkinson County cornerback Devin Voorhies (LSU), Harrison Central cornerback Tito Windham (Oklahoma), North Pike offensive tackle Ethan Firth (Florida State), Grenada linebacker Genard Avery (Louisiana-Lafayette) and Brandon defensive end Kyle Strickland (Arkansas State).
Three players are undecided: Greenville tight end Sammie Epps, Clinton defensive end Grant Harris and Clarksdale linebacker J.T. Gray.
National Signing Day is Feb. 5, the day players can sign national letters of intent with their schools of choice.