Signing Day: Bulldogs, Rebels and Golden Eagles build 2020 classes

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The early signing period in college football is underway, and it was a busy day in Mississippi with the Bulldogs, Rebels and Golden Eagles looking to reload their rosters. Below, you can take a look at the players that are heading to the Magnolia State to play on Saturdays.

  • Mississippi State:ย 

Story by SportsTalk Mississippi MSU Beat Reporter Brian Hadad

It’s time once again to crank up the fax machine and pick from one of those hats on the table, National Signing Day is finally here. Follow along here for constant updates on Mississippi State’s 2020 class as players make their decisions official.

BENJAMIN KEY

Key is a 6’5″ 280 pound defensive lineman out of East Los Angeles College. He’s rated as the #14 defensive end in the JUCO ranks by 247Sports. Key finished his second year at East LA with 37 tackles (23 solos), three sacks, seven tackles for loss, three quarterback hurries, one fumble recovery returned for a touchdown and two forced fumbles. He is expected to be an immediate contributor to the young Bulldog defensive line in 2020, possibly moving inside to play tackle.

JAVORRIUS SELMON

Selmon committed to Mississippi State over a year and completed his senior year at Provine High School with 47 tackles (31 solos), 1.5 tackle for loss, two interceptions, one fumble recovery and seven PBUs, 12 kickoff returns for 283 yards and one touchdown, four punt returns for 61 yards and one catch for 25 yards. Coach Moorhead said of Selmon’s recruitment, it was one of the least dramatic he had ever been associated with, as Selmon knew very early on Starkville was where he wanted to be.

JORDAN DAVIS

Davis is another JUCO defensive lineman that will be expected to bring an immediate impact in 2020. Davis is rated the #4 JUCO player in the country by 247Sports and the #1 defensive end. He finished 2019 with 32 tackles (16 solos), 3.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, three quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles, and chose MSU over offers from Tennessee, Alabama, and Nebraska.

RODNEY GROCE

Groce committed to Mississippi State after a previous pledge to Nebraska. The three-star linebacker out of Pleasant Grove, AL finished his senior year with 134 tackles, 34.5 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks, nine PBUs, 21 quarterback hurries, four fumbles forced, one interception and one fumble recovery. Groce was rated the #24 inside linebacker in the country by 247Sports.

WILL ROGERS

Rogers had a monster senior season at Brandon High School, racking up 246 of 371 passing for 3,572 yards with 38 touchdowns and three interceptions, 20 rushes for 86 yards, leading the Bulldogs to the second round of the 6A State Playoffs. Rogers was the top-rated quarterback in the state of Mississippi, and will be an early enrollee for Mississippi State. He’ll take part in the bowl practices beginning this weekend.

CALVIN MCMILLIAN

McMillian might be Mississippi State’s biggest signee, literally. Coming in at 6’5″, 305 pounds, the Houston, MS native played both ways for the Hilltoppers, piling up 36 tackles (14 solos), four quarterback hurries, eight tackles for loss, one sack and one interception returned 60 yards for a touchdown on the defensive side of the ball.

GRANT JACKSON

A two-way star for the West Lincoln Bears, Jackson stacked up 55 tackles (20 solos), one sack, one quarterback hurry and seven tackles for loss. Jackson was one of only two offensive linemen signed on Wednesday by the Bulldogs, so that appears to be a position Joe Moorhead will continue to pursue into February.

JO’QUAVIOUS MARKS

Marks was the highest-rated signee for the 2020 class. A four-star running back out of Carver HS in Atlanta, GA, Marks rushed for 1961 yards and 23 touchdowns. A four-star top 150 player in the 247Sports rankings, Marks picked MSU over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, and Michigan.

JEVON BANKS

Banks was one of the top defensive prospects in the state of Mississippi, leading Olive Branch to a second-round appearance in the 6A state playoffs and accumulating 96 tackles (33 solos), 21 tackles for loss, three sacks, one interception, four PBUs, 10 quarterback hurries, one fumble forced and two fumble recoveries, including one returned for a touchdown. A three-star prospect, Banks pledged to MSU over offers from Nebraska and Tennessee.

BRANDON RUIZ

Ruiz arrives from Arizona State as a grad transfer, immediately eligible with two years remaining. State had a lot of issues on kickoffs a season ago, so this is an immediate impact arrival for the Bulldogs. Ruiz was 14-20 on field goals in 2017 for the Sun Devils, 30-31 on extra points.

MALIK HEATH

Heath’s long winding road to Mississippi State has finally ended, going from the state’s top high school prospect in 2017 to one of the nation’s top junior college receivers in 2019. Heath originally signed with the Bulldogs out of Callaway, and his presence is going to be greatly relied upon by Joe Moorhead next season. No position on the field is in more need of an upgrade than wide receiver, and Heath’s 33 catches for 503 yards and three touchdowns at Co-Lin will be a big addition.

EMMANUEL FORBES

A four star prospect out of Grenada HS, Forbes was the highest rated prospect in the state of Mississippi according to 247Sports. Forbes put up some big numbers as a senior, 49 tackles (23 solos), three tackles for loss, 12 PBUs and eight interceptions, including two returned for a touchdown. Forbes was possibly the most hotly contested prospect between Mississippi State and Ole Miss, but he shut down his recruitment after his December 6th official visit.

TRE LAWSON

Mississippi State needed immediate help on the defensive line, and they hope that Lawson can provide a similar presence as Montez Sweat gave them for two seasons after his time at Co-Lin. Coming in from the national champions at Mississippi Gulf Coast after a transfer from Florida State, Lawson racked up 39 tackles (19 solos), 5.5 sacks, seven tackles for loss, one fumble forced, two fumble recoveries, six quarterback hurries and three PBUs. He’ll be one that Bob Shoop is counting on for 2020.

TYRUS WHEAT

A three-star prospect out of Co-Lin Community College and rated the #1 JUCO linebacker in the country, Wheat picked State over Baylor, South Carolina, and Arkansas. Wheat compiled 37 tackles (19 solos), six tackles for loss, three interceptions (two returned for touchdown), one PBU, three fumble recoveries (one returned for a touchdown), two forced fumbles and returned one blocked field goal for a touchdown. He is another JUCO prospect that Mississippi State will rely on for an instant impact in 2020.

JANARI DEAN

Dean might be the most versatile prospect in the state, leading a resurgent South Panola team back into the playoffs with a dominant season on both sides of the ball. Dean is projected to play at safety when he arrives in Starkville, and could be a true freshman that contributes immediately.

CALEB DUCKING

Ducking comes to Mississippi State hoping to provide a downfield passing threat the Bulldogs have lacked the past few seasons. Playing for a very run-heavy offense at Holmes Community College, Ducking caught nine passes for 207 yards and three touchdowns, and added one rush for 71 yards and one touchdown. State needs Ducking to be a contributor immediately to improve that weak Bulldog passing game.

JADEN WALLEY

Walley will make the move from quarterback to receiver when he arrives in Starkville. Walley showed his versatility at D’Iberville, racking up over 1000 all-purpose yards and 10 touchdowns. Walley had a great week at the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star game, and could be another true freshman to contribute in 2020.

DILLON JOHNSON

Johnson led Greenville St. Joseph to three straight state championships, rushing for 120 carries for 1,668 yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior. With junior All-SEC tailback Kylin Hill off to the NFL, it’s very likely that Johnson could be a contributor in 2020.

ARMONDOUS COOLEY

Cooley is a player who could very easily see a ratings bump in the next few weeks. One of the top defensive players in the state, he piled up huge numbers at Wayne County, 92 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, seven sacks, 18 quarterback hurries, one fumble recovery, one blocked field goal and one PBU.

LIDEATRICK GRIFFIN

Griffin was one of the most dynamic playmakers in the state as a senior, racking up 23 catches for 413 yards and three touchdowns and 41 rushes for 438 yards and eight touchdowns. Griffin was a player who dropped off the Bulldogs commit list but came back in June. He’s another player that could contribute immediately, as the Bulldogs need some playmakers to show up on the field at the receiver position in 2020.

DECAMERION RICHARDSON

Mississippi State’s only signee that was not committed prior to Signing Day, Richardson picked the Bulldogs over offers from Tennessee and Houston. Richardson looks to be moving to the defensive side of the ball when he arrives in Starkville.

CAMERON THREATT

Threatt comes to Mississippi State from Lewisburg High School, where he provided 66 tackles (43 solos), four interceptions, two fumble recoveries and six PBUs. Threatt was a three-star prospect and a top 25 player in the state.

  • Ole Missย 

Story by SportsTalk Mississippi Ole Miss Beat Reporter Brian Scott Rippee

The early signing period begins Wednesday as newly-minted head coach Lane Kiffin pieces together his first recruiting class in Oxford. Follow along here at SuperTalk’s live blog for updates throughout the day on all of Ole Miss’ signees.

Signees:

7:11 A.M. CT –(OT) Tobias Braun: Germany (Salisbury Prep)

The consensus three-star prospect signed with the Rebels over Florida State, among others. Braun is originally from Germany and played his school football at Salisbury Prep School in Salisbury, CT

7:15 A.M. CT — (ILB) Cedric Johnson: Mobile, AL (WP Davidson)

Johnson had been committed to the Rebels since June and the three-star linebacker from Mobile, AL made it official on Wednesday morning. Johnson had offers from Tennessee and Kansas as well as a host of group of five offers. At 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, the Rebels offered Rollins last summer after a strong camp performance.

7:23ย A.M. CT –(DT) DeSanto Rollins: Baton Rouge, LA (Parkview Baptist)

Rollins committed to Ole Miss over Tennessee in June and held firm in that commitment throughout. The 6-foot-4, 282-pound prospect held offers from Oregon, Tennessee, Colorado and Virginia. The Rebels lose the likes of Josiah Coatney and Benito Jones on the interior defensive line and landing Rollins is sure to help in replenishing the depth on the defensive front.

7:29 A.M. — (TE) DaMarcus Thomas: Sarland, AL (Sarland HS)

Like Rollins and Johnson, Thomas committed to Ole Miss in June. The 6-foot-2, 228-pound three-star prospect went on his official visit last weekend and stuck with the Rebels. The tight end room loses Jason Pellerin and Octavious Cooley, two guys who were underused under former offensive coordinator ย Rich Rodriguez, ย and Thomas is a nice addition. It is worth noting that FAU tight end Harrison Bryant won the 2019 Mackey Award for best tight end in the country in Kiffin’s offense last season.

7:41 A.M. — (QB) Kade Renfo: Stephenville, TX (Stephenville)

Renfrow was a late commit. The ย pro-style signal caller pledged to the Rebels on Monday afternoon. Renfro was recruited heavily by new offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby, who offered him at UCF as we’ll. Renfro also held offers from North Texas, Arizona State, Arkansas and Florida State. Renfro is 6-foot-3, 189 pounds and is rated as a three-star prospect and is the 51st-ranked pro-style quarterback nationally according to 247Sports.

The Rebels lost long-time commit and two-sport star Robby Ashford last week, a dual-threat prospect seen as an ideal fit in Rich Rodriguez’s run-heavy spread system. Ashford’s de-commitment, along with Renfro’s signing is, perhaps, a glimpse into the future as to how Ole Miss will evaluate and recruit quarterbacks under this new coaching staff.

8:36 A.M. CT — (ILB) Austin Keys: Seminary, MS (Seminary)

Keys’ signature marked the second linebacker commit for the Rebels in this class. The Mississippi native held offers from Auburn and a host of group of five schools. Keys is a 6-foo-2, 242 pound ย three-star and is the 22nd-ranked prospect in the state.

8:53 A.M. CT — (S) Derek Bermudez: Sandalwood, FLA (Sandalwood High)

Bermudez is a three-star safety that should help a young secondary that struggled last season. He’s a long, rangy safety at 6-foot-1, 180 pounds and has the ability to play corner as well. Bermudez was committed to Florida State until the Seminoles fired Willie Taggart. Kiffin made a strong push for Bermudez and it paid off as the Rebels add a versatile piece to their defensive backfield. Bermudez had an extensive offer list that included the likes of Auburn,ย Florida, Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma and Oregon among others.

9:31 A.M. CT — (RB) Kentrel Bullock: Columbia, MS (Columbia HS)

Bullock originally committed to the Rebels in June, only to announce his de-commitment after Matt Luke was fired and then commit again earlier this week. The 5-foot-10, 190 pound running back made it official on Wednesday and is the No. 6 player in the state according to 247Sports, which has him rated as a four-star prospect. Bullock is the lone running back commit so far in Ole Miss’ 2020 class and joins a talented young backfield that includes the likes of rising sophomores Jerrion Ealy and Snoop Connor. The Rebels lost senior Scottie Phillips and Bullock will be a welcomed addition.

9:45 A.M. CT — (OLB) Jakivuan Brown: Horn Lake, MS (Horn Lake HS)

Brown is rated as a three-star by 247Sports composite rankings and is the third linebacker to join the Rebels’ 2020 class. He and Keys took official visits to Ole Miss last weekend. Brown committed to the Rebels in August. Ole Miss lost out to Kentucky on Brown’s teammate, four-star defensive tackle and the state’s no. 3 overall prospect Josiah Hayes, earlier Wednesday morning, but managed to add one defensive piece from Horn Lake to this 2020 class.

 

12:50 p.m. CT — (OT) Eli Acker: Columbus, MS (Heritage)

Three-star offensive tackle Eli Acker became is the 10th member of Ole Miss’ signing class. The 6-foot-6 and 285- pound tackle is the top-ranked offensive lineman in Mississippi, according to 247Sports. He is the the fourth in-state prospect to sign with the Rebels today, along with Brown, ย Bullock and Keys.

  • Southern Miss
Courtesy of USM Athletics

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