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Pascagoula's Collins commits to Southern Miss

Pascagoula defensive tackle Jauan Collins verbally committed to Southern Miss Wednesday night less than a week after receiving a scholarship offer from head coach Todd Monken.

Collins visited the campus Thursday of last week along with a pair of Pascagoula teammates, receiver Jaylen Smith and linebacker Randy Hogan.

Monken offered Collins that day and the 6-foot, 295-pound defensive tackle didn't take long to decide it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

“It's a great place to play football,” Collins said. “They have a great tradition. I'm looking forward to completing my senior year and playing for them.

“The coaches there made me feel welcomed.”

Collins called Monken Wednesday night to inform him of his decision.

“He was super excited,” Collins said. “He welcomed me to the family.”

Collins was dominant as a junior in 2013, registering 70 tackles, including 21 for lost yardage.

Collins moves very well for his size and has been timed at 5.0 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

He also has scholarship offers from Louisiana-Monroe and Alabama A&M, but Collins decided the time was right to go ahead and commit.

“I just felt like I could go ahead and get it over with and focus on the season,” Collins said.

Collins, typically an even keel personality away from the field, was enjoying a low key evening at home with the family following his verbal commitment.

“It was a great thing,” he said. “We're not really celebrating. We're just happy.”

Smith, who is considered one of the best receivers in the state, also counts USM among a dozen scholarship offers to this point, including Ole Miss, Louisville, Nebraska and Arizona State.

Smith remains uncommitted and has said he plans to take a while before deciding.