Gautier offensive lineman Paul Gainer announced Wednesday afternoon that he will sign with Southern Miss.
The addition of Gainer, who dropped his commitment to Mississippi State in January, was a significant boost to the class of 2017 for the Golden Eagles.
“I feel like at Southern Miss it starts with their coaches,” Gainer said. “They have great coaches and a great environment to be around. (Tight ends coach) Desmond Lindsey is a good guy. He’s been recruiting me ever since I was committed to Mississippi State. I feel like that was the best decision.”
Gainer said Southern Miss’ great coaching staff and facilities were factors in his decision. He said he plans to major in communications at the Hattiesburg campus and that, too, was part of his decision to head to USM.
He hopes to make the starting lineup as a left guard.
Gainer kept coaches at Southern Miss, Tulane and Louisiana-Lafayette in suspense in recent weeks, making visits to all three campuses.
Gainer, who is considered one of the best offensive linemen in the state, dropped his commitment to Mississippi State on Jan. 4, making him one of the more coveted football prospects in the state over the last month.
The 6-foot-4, 285-pound Gainer was named to the Sun Herald All-South Mississippi Team after the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
Gainer also received scholarship offers from Memphis and Middle Tennessee.