HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - If you take a look at the 2017 Southern Miss football roster, you'll find five Bassfield High School graduates.
If you look at the depth chart, you'll see that four of those former Yellowjackets are starting for the Golden Eagles in week one against Kentucky.
Perhaps, it's a coincidence that the town of Bassfield produces such football talent. On the other hand, maybe there's something in the water over in Bassfield.
"It's a talent-rich area for sure," said USM head coach Jay Hopson. "And those guys have been playmakers here. It's kind of amazing a town of that size, that spit out a lot of good football players."
Bassfield products Jomez Applewhite, Cornell Armstrong, Curtis Mikell and Racheem Boothe will all start for the USM defense this season.
Junior running back T'Rod Daniels has impressed the Southern Miss coaches throughout fall camp as well after transferring from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Daniels is even giving those speedy Bassfield cornerbacks a run for their money.
"I knew T'Rod was fast but when he broke loose and Curtis got him, I was like, 'Good gosh,'" Hopson said. "There was probably only one guy on the football team that could've caught him and that was Curtis. There's a lot of speed in Bassfield. It's amazing."
Applewhite will start at the rover position while Armstrong and Mikell play across the field from one another at cornerback. Boothe enters his freshman season as a starting linebacker.
There seems to be a pipeline from Bassfield to Hattiesburg. With nearly half the USM defense hailing from the same high school, chemistry comes naturally.
"It gives you more confidence," Armstrong said. "Just being out there with a guy you've been out there since junior high with, just playing together. Me and [Mikell] have been playing a long time together, since pee-wee. Playing corner together, each on different sides. It's a lot of confidence and I just like the way it's going."
The bottom line is the "Bassfield Boys" can play football. When they put on the black and gold on Saturday's, they're not only playing for Southern Miss but for Bassfield, Mississippi as well.
"We have a lot of talent in Bassfield," Daniels said. "We're putting on. We're really putting on for little 'ole Bassfield, making everybody proud."
"We've got a lot of talent in Bassfield," Mikell said. "Everybody from Bassfield just works. We work very hard for where we're at now. You can't tell nobody that. Everybody from Bassfield just grinds every day and you get what you deserve like coach [Hopson] tells us. The work's going to pay off."