The Coast has its best college football recruiting class in a decade.
Nine members of the Sun Herald's Elite 11 prospects in South Mississippi already have Football Bowl Subdivision scholarship offers. Between now and National Signing Day in February, other players could land with a major college.
"The Class of 2015 is shaping up to be a solid group for the Gulf Coast with several sure-fire FBS prospects," BigGoldnation.com Publisher Lanny Mixon said. "Several others that could earn FBS offers with solid camp showings this summer."
Pascagoula is the only Coast school with three FBS offers: defensive end Keith Joseph Jr., wide receiver Jaylen Smith and defensive tackle Jauan Collins.
Joseph, the Sun Herald's top-ranked recruit, is headed to Mississippi State. Smith's offers are Arizona State, Cincinnati, Louisville, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Southern Miss, Temple and Tulane. Collins' only D-I offer is from Louisiana-Monroe.
"Joseph has that unique combination of size and speed, plus a frame that can hold more weight," Mixon said. "Jaylen Smith had a great showing at the RivalsCampSeries."
Admirals wide receiver Johnathan Nance has already chosen Southern Miss. Quarterback Richaud Floyd, who projects as a wide receiver in college, will choose between Cincinnati and Missouri at month's end. Defensive end Kaleb Fredericks will play at Northwestern (La.) State, a FCS school.
St. Stanislaus has become a hotspot for FBS schools in recent years. Colleges are impressed with Rockachaws bookend offensive tackles Ryan Gibson and Jordan Bradford.
Gibson has committed to California, choosing the Golden Bears from a list that includes Southern Miss, Virginia and Boston College. Southern Miss, South Alabama, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Monroe and Troy all have offered Bradford.
"Gibson has garnered a lot of interest early in the process and has a lot of potential," Mixon said. "He projects as a very nice guard prospect on the collegiate level."
Vancleave running back Walter Williams has already chosen Louisiana-Lafayette.
Steve Robertson of Scout.com wonders why no FBS school has offered St. Martin defensive end Jamal Lydie. His only offer has come from Alabama A&M, a SWAC and FCS school.
"He's a guy who shows up on film, but so far offers have been hard to come by," Robertson said. "I think he will answer any questions about his ability once people have the chance to work him out in person."
Picayune cornerback Kardarius Cross rounds out the Elite 11. His small height, 5-foot-9, has kept schools away.