HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - University of Southern Mississippi football coach Jay Hopson figures if something isn’t broke, then don’t fix it.
So, for the second consecutive year, USM followed the same strategy when it came to signing incoming players: heavy in December’s early period before putting on the finishing touches in February.
“We’ll probably bring in, I don’t know, maybe five or six,” Hopson said. “Kind of like last year. Maybe one or two less, but very similar.”
Last year, USM signed 16 in December, then added six more players in the February signing period. This past December, the Golden Eagles brought in 19 players.
The final signing period opens Wednesday.
The NCAA allows programs to sign a maximum of 25 players in any one class, though, in some cases, scholarships can be carried into the future or counted toward the past. Players can sign letters-of-intent, though a corresponding scholarship from the university may not be forthcoming that year.
Until 2017, college football only had one signing period for high school players, which commenced on the first Wednesday in February.
Junior college players had two signing periods, one for early graduates who would sign in December and enroll for the spring semester. Junior college players also could sign in the February period.
Two years ago, the NCAA decided to give prep players an early signing period as well. USM’s December signing classes have skewed toward early enrollees, both junior college players and high school.
Eleven of USM’s 19 signees in December have enrolled for the semester and will take part in spring drills.
SOUTHERN MISS FOOTBALL - CLASS OF 2019:
- Dee Baker, RB, 6-0, 170, Fr., Northwest Rankin HS/Flowood
- Luke Baker, TE, 6-4, 198, Fr., Gulf Coast HS /Naples, Fla.
- Swayze Bozeman, OLB, 6-3, 210, Jr., Copiah-Lincoln CC/Tri-County Academy/Flora
- Naricuss Driver, TE, 6-3, 246, Jr., Highland (Kan.) CC/Spalding HS/Griffin, Ga.
- Tanner Hawthorne, OT, 6-6, Jr., 300/Glendale (Ariz.) CC/Centennial HS/Peoria, Ariz.
- Jaden Johnson, QB, 6-2, 208, Kirby High School/Memphis, Tenn.
- Tre Johnson, OT, 6-7, 296, Jr., Iowa Western CC/First Academy/Orlando, Fla.
- Eriq Kitchen, DE, 6-2, 247, Jr., East Mississippi CC, South Panola HS/Batesville
- Khalen Leonard, CB, 6-3, 175, Fr., Texas Prep Academy/Alvin, Texas
- Markel McLaurin, ATH, 5-11, 175, Fr., Collins HS/Collins
- T.Q. Newsome, ATH, 6-1, 205, Gulfport HS/Gulfport
- Chandler Rogers, QB, 6-0, 179, Lake Ridge HS/Mansfield, Texas
- Matthew Ryals, OT, 6-7, 280, Fr., Purvis HS/Purvis
- Gerquan Scott, OL, 6-4, 300, Fr., Davidson HS/Mobile, Ala.
- Chris Scruggs Jr., WR, 6-2, 175, Superior Collegiate Academy/Clearwater, Fla.
- Louis Smith, C, 6-3, 294, Fr., D ‘Iberville HS/Biloxi
- Khalique Washington, OL, 6-5, 320, Jr., Dodge City (Kan.) CC/Lebanon County HS/Lebanon, Pa.
- Antavious Willis ATH, 5-10, 175, Fr., Velma Jackson HS/Camden
- Coker Wright, C, 6-4, 275, Fr., Brookhaven HS/Brookhaven
- Kendrick Brown, WR, 6-2. 195, Fr., Meridian HS/Meridian
- James Dall, P, 6-0, 200, Garden City (Kan.) CC
- Tahveon Nicholson, ATH, 5-11, 170, Robert E. Lee HS/Jacksonville, Fla.
- Andrew Stein, PK, 5-9, 165, Northside HS/Slidell, La.
- Avery White, OLB, 6-4, 195, East Central HS/Kiln
- Jakyrus Williams, 5-10, 175, Saraland HS/Saraland, Ala.
- Corey Wilson, RB, 6-0, 175, Warren Central HS/Vicksburg