The first early signing period was a busy one for Southern Miss football.
With at least 13 players signing on Wednesday, the USM football staff picked up a good mix of high school and junior college players on the first day of the signing period.
J.J. Jones, a cornerback from Brookhaven High School, can easily be considered the biggest name of the group thanks to an impressive offer sheet that includes Mississippi State, Tennessee, Florida State, Georgia, Louisville, Ole Miss and Oklahoma.
Jones is listed at 6-foot-1, 170 pounds and rated a 3-star prospect by 247sports.com.
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“He’s a long, athletic corner,” USM defensive line coach Derek Nicholson said of Jones in a video posted on the Southern Miss football Twitter account. “He has great cover skills and can flip his hips. He’s very good at pressing, competing at the line of scrimmage versus bigger wideouts and athletic enough and quick enough to go against smaller guys.”
Jones was one of two Brookhaven standouts who signed with USM on Wednesday. Senior center Trace Clopton, son of head coach Tommy Clopton, also inked with the Golden Eagles. He chose USM over Air Force, Marshall, Memphis and Navy.
Scottsboro, Alabama, defensive end Ethan Edmondson was a late commit, announcing his plan on Monday to sign with USM. The 6-foot-3, 255-pound Edmondson chose USM over Rutgers, South Alabama and Troy. He played in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game last week.
“He has tremendous upside, really versatile,” USM receivers coach Scotty Walden said Wednesday. “He’s a guy that can play inside and outside, give us a great pass rush off the edge.”
The other high school signees are:
▪ Marshall, Texas, offensive lineman Kameron King (6-2, 275) – Signed with USM over North Texas, Memphis, UTSA and Tulane.
▪ New Orleans defensive back Curry Benn (6-0, 170) – Cornerback who chose USM over Arizona, Troy, Tulane and South Alabama.
▪ Oak Grove linebacker Hayes Maples (6-2, 235) – Picked the Golden Eagles over Memphis, FAU, Troy and South Alabama.
▪ Atlanta defensive back Nicario Harper (6-1, 180) – Chose USM over Appalachian State, Arkansas State, FAU and Middle Tennessee.
Northwest Mississippi Community College quarterback Jack Abraham was among the junior college signees on Wednesday. He will immediately compete for playing time this spring along with redshirt junior Kwadra Griggs, sophomore Keon Howard and redshirt freshman Marcelo Rodriguez.
Abraham, who signed with Louisiana Tech out of Oxford High School, chose USM over Georgia State and South Alabama and will have three years of eligibility remaining.
“We’re very fortunate to get Jack,” USM offensive line coach Erik Losey said. “He’s an older guy, we really like what he does as far as when he gets the ball in his hands. He has great velocity on all his short throws. He does a great job as far putting the ball in play.
The other junior college signees are:
▪ Hinds CC receiver DeMichael Harris (5-7, 175) — A return guy that can play running back or slot receiver. Chose USM over Marshall.
▪ Southwest Miss. CC defensive lineman Von’Darius Freeman (6-2, 331) — Chose USM over Colorado State, Florida Atlantic and UTSA.
▪ East Mississippi defensive back Ty Williams (5-11, 175) — Cornerback who will be expected to compete immediately for playing time.
▪ Jones County JC receiver Neil McLaurin (6-2, 195) — Originally signed with Minnesota out of West Jones.
▪ East Mississippi CC Ty’Ree Evans (6-2, 210) — Brings length and size to an undersized USM linebacking corps.