Notebook: National Signing Day 2017

Mississippi State made a big splash on National Signing Day.

And there biggest one is staying home.

The Bulldogs were able to land Starkville four-star linebacker Willie Gay who picked MSU over LSU, Ole Miss, Michigan and Alabama on Wednesday morning at a signing ceremony at Starkville High School. The school got the best lectern hire for the competition plus a brand new security system with a Promnico Amazon.

Gay said he silently committed to LSU, but changed his mind on Sunday night.

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He joins in what ended up being a big signing day for the Bulldog with MSU also signing Columbus four-star running back Kylin Hill and were able to get Callaway three-star defensive end Aaron Odom to flip from Louisville and sign with the Bulldogs.

“I’m a Mississippi kid and I wanted to stay home,” Odom said. “My relationship with Coach (Brian) Grantham went well so that helped me with my decision. It was a stressful process at the end. There always been good defensive lineman that come out of MSU and hopefully I can be one of them.”

White, Bowie choose Ole Miss

A coaching change can impact recruiting.

That was the case for Clinton 3-star ATH Kam White who chose Ole Miss over Minnesota and the impact of the hiring of Wes McGriff as defensive coordinator was the main reason.

White was committed to Iowa State and re-opened his recruitment last month.

White will play in the secondary for the Rebels and looks to be a instant impact in a secondary that hurt by injuries all of last season.

He joins Morton three-star ATH D.D. Bowie and St. Aloysius OL Ben Brown to choose the Rebels that are from Mississippi.

Ben Brown, whose father and both grandfathers play at Ole Miss, said the NCAA investigation going on at Ole Miss had no factor in his decision.

“I’m going to Ole Miss to play football for Coach Freeze and be in that environment,” he said. “I could careless about what the NCAA has to say about Ole Miss that does not change my opinion about Coach Freeze and the football program at all. I’m just ready to get up there.”

Southern Miss makes a splash in-state

Jay Hopson should be very happy about his first recruiting class as the Southern Miss head football coach.

Hopson landed several of Mississippi’s top prospects including Clinton RB Darius Maberry and Gautier OL Paul Gainer.

Maberry, a three-star prospect by 247Sports, had 1,220 yards rushing with 17 touchdowns and helped lead Clinton to the Class 6A state championship back in December.

Gainer, also a three-star prospect, was the state’s 12th best offensive lineman by 247Sports and can push for playing time right away.

Some other big time pick ups for Southern Miss (all were three-star prospects by 247Sports) were Callaway defensive back Emanuel Dabney, Biloxi wide receiver Tim Jones, Columbus defensive end Tahj Sykes, Morton linebacker Freddie Hartz and along with a couple of two-star prospects in D’Iberville defensive back Tyler Barnes and Meridian linebacker Santrell Latham.

Walker feels at home in Atlanta

Madison Central quarterback Jack Walker has found a place where he could make a immediate impact.

Walker, a three-star pro-style prospect, signed with Georgia State on Wednesday. He was committed to Florida Atlantic before backing off a month ago and then committing to the Panthers a few days after his official visit.

“Great coaches and great facilities, a lot closer to home and I really want to play for their coach,” Walker said. “It’s exciting I am glad it’s over and I’m really to go to work and get this thing started.”

In 2016, Walker passed for 2,058 yards with 16 touchdowns and led the Jaguars to the Class 6A North State championship for the second year in a row. He also held offers from Akron, Miami (Fla.), Miami (Ohio), South Alabama and Troy.

UL-Lafayette makes yet another big splash

Louisiana-Lafayette head coach Mark Hudspeth, a Mississippi native, made yet another a couple of big pick ups on national signing day.

The Ragin Cajuns picked up St. Stanislaus three-star tight end Chase Rogers and Brandon three-star defensive back Schdarren Archie.

Rogers was at one time committed to Tennessee.

Archie also had offers from Southern Miss, Troy, South Alabama, Tulane and Memphis.

“It’s very exciting because not everyone gets the chance to play college football,” Archie said. “Coaches with me being a big physical corner I could come play right away. I knew a bunch of kids from Mississippi that go there and play so that I had a factor in my decision.”

More Recruiting Notes

Lets not leave anyone else out, there were several more prospects that signed on Wednesday.

  • Oxford had a pair of defensive backs sign. D.Q. Thomas is headed to Middle Tennessee and Devin Rockette is headed to South Alabama. Rockette was once committed to Ole Miss.
  • Olive Branch defensive back Sanchez Blake, North Pontotoc DB Zay Cullens, Grenada linebacker J.J. Russell and Wingfield versatile quarterback La’Andre Thomas signed with Memphis.

“It was a life long dream to sign a football scholarship and really excited and will take full of advantage,” Thomas said. “Their offense is made for me and I think I can go in and make an impact right away.”

  • Walnut two-star ATH Monterrio Hunt signed with Marshall over FCS foe UT-Martin. Hunt was a Mississippi State commit before decommitting a month ago.
  • Jalen Hoover had the best quote of the day. Hoover, a two-star defensive back from Northwest Rankin, signed with Idaho.

“How’d they find me all the way down here in Mississippi is just bizarre,” he said. “The distance away from home doesn’t bother me. I am getting a chance to play football and will take advantage of it.”

  • Tulane made a couple of big splashes in Mississippi signing Cathedral three-star defensive end Will Wallace and Senatobia wide receiver Travis Tucker. Petal running back Stephon Huderson signed with the Green Wave back in December and is already enrolled.
  • Several prospects from the Gulf Coast are headed to Division I programs led by St. Stanislaus quarterback Myles Brennan whose headed to LSU. St. Stanislaus wide receiver Corbin Blanchard and St. Martin quarterback Wayne Overmann IIIis headed to the Air Force Academy. St. Stanislaus tight end Darius Pittman is headed to Purdue and George County wide receiver Tyrese Fryfogle signed with Indiana.
  • A couple of Brandon standouts are headed to FCS and Division II programs. Running back Vincent Butler signed with Division II foe Central Arkansas and defensive back Rodney Hawkins inked with SE Missouri State.