With a full year to prepare for the recruiting onslaught at the FBS level, the Southern Miss Golden Eagles landed a very impressive 2017 class for head coach Jay Hopson and company. Among the 25 total signees were a few surprises, including the higest rated player of the entire class.
First, let’s talk about Jaylond Adams. He always seemed like a player that would flirt with USM, but never actually make a commitment to the program. Even on NSD, every was certain that Adams would sign with Troy to the point that multiple media members started reporting his signing with the Sun Belt program. Only later in the day did everyone find out that Adams flipped and decided to join the Golden Eagles.
Adams was the Alabama Gatorade player of year as a senior and a player that will need to find a spot on the field this season. Think of him as the Keon Howard of this season’s class, but at a less impactful position. I could see him starting his career as a wide receiver, but also moving to running back after Ito Smith leaves for the NFL. He is literally a blank slate for the USM coaching staff to mold.
247 whiffed with coverage:
To put it gently, recruiting services are not all that good or accurate when it comes to Conference USA. 247 Sports is usually a reliable outlet for coverage, but badly mangled the recruiting class on their site. They do not currently have Jaylond Adams (247 3-star), Woodlyson Alcius, Tyler Barnes (247 2-star), Travion Clayton (247 3-star), or Bryce Foxworth listed as signees. Alcuis and Foxworth were not even found when searching the overall recruit list.
The site also has Jacoby Feliciano (headed to Iowa Central CC), Robert Reeves (not part of class), T’Rod Daniels (not sure of his status), Xavion Allen (unknown status), and Kevontaye Caston (unknown status). It could be that any of that group will end up as walk-ons or greyshirted for the next recruiting class. It will take time to sort out the status of those players as all but one were high school recruits.
Going after needs:
Anyone that paid any attention to Southern Miss in the offseason could tell you that they needed lots of offensive linemen and defensive backs. Hopson and company landed nearly half of the entire class from those two units.
The offensive line, looking to replace multiple starters, brought in six new recruits to help reinforce the trench. Several of the incoming freshmen have impressive size, but need time to adjust to the college game before possibly making an impact. Very rarely do true freshman offensive linemen immediately start or even contribute.
Instead, look for Justus Satterfield and Jimmie Terry to fight for playing time. Satterfield spent one season at Coffeyville CC before making the jump to Southern Miss. He has a similar build to departing center Cameron Tom and should find himself in a battle for an inside position. Satterfield will have some competition from former Louisville player Jimmie Terry. He is a much more NFL type of inside blocker that could play outside if needed. It wouldn’t surprise me if Terry was a starting guard this fall.
On the other side, it was defensive back derby with five prep stars and one JUCO transfer making the move to Hattiesburg. Tyler Jack, the JUCO transfer, has shown flashes during his two years a Pearl River. He played his best game of the season against the #1 JUCO team in the nation, but failed to record another interception during that season. His size is a worry at 5-9, but Jack has quality speed and quickness that could help him see the field soon. A nickel cornerback would be a good starting spot for him.
WyDale Flott is a name to remember. The Alabama native will be a safety at the next level and has a chance to play immediately after departures at the back-end. I would expect Flott to see limited playing time early in the season, but possibly making some starts in October and November.
Cajun at kicker:
Southern Miss loses one (Ragin’) Cajun kicker and finds another in the recruiting cycle. Not only can the incoming freshman kicker play, but he has quite possibly the most French Louisiana name of all: Briggs Bourgeois. Do not expect the two-star kicker to play this season unless needed as Parker Shaunfield still has two years of eligibility remaining.
Sunshine state signal callers:
With last season’s JUCO transfer messing up in the classroom and missing the 2016 season, Southern Miss had to go with true freshman Keon Howard when Mullens went down. Howard struggled, but gained valuable game experience during that time. Hopson does not want to have to go down the freshman starter route again anytime soon, so he brought in a couple of signal callers from Florida.
Steven Anderson and Marcelo Rodriguez both have the ability to run with the ball, an essential skill in Hopson’s offensive philosophy. Rodriguez is more nimble at only 192 pounds, while Anderson is more of a bulldozer at a hefty 242 pounds.
Neither should end up anywhere near playing in a real game this fall, but will be the future of the position after likely redshirting in 2017. That would leave the 2018 quarterback class looking like: Keon Howard, Tyler Russell, Andrew LaBruna, Steven Anderson, and Marcelo Rodriguez.
Overall grade: A-
The Golden Eagles filled many needs and pulled out some impressive signings like Flott and Adams. They didn’t truly knock it out of the park with a wild four-star signing, but did exactly what was needed in a crucial signing class for Hopson. I would expect several of these signees to start down the line with at least 2-3 starting at some point this fall.