High School Sports

Meet the Sun Herald’s Preseason All-South Mississippi Football Team for 2019

D’Iberville’s Jaden Walley is like a big brother to whole team

D'Iberville junior quarterback Jaden Walley has been attracting attention with his impressive numbers on the field and character off the field. His family plays a big role, including his younger brother, Justin, who is a cornerback/receiver.
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D'Iberville junior quarterback Jaden Walley has been attracting attention with his impressive numbers on the field and character off the field. His family plays a big role, including his younger brother, Justin, who is a cornerback/receiver.

South Mississippi will continue its trend of featuring some of the best high school football talent in the state entering the 2019 campaign.

Of the 27 players included on this High School Football Preseason All-South Mississippi Team, 15 hold Division I scholarship offers.

This year’s offense is led by D’Iberville senior quarterback Jaden Walley, who is being recruited by SEC West programs, including Auburn, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.

On defense, George County senior defensive tackle McKinnley Jackson leads the way. The former LSU commit continues to receive the attention of many of the nation’s top college programs. The 6-foot-2, 327-pound lineman holds offers from a long list of schools that includes Alabama, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and USC.

Here’s a look at the entire preseason squad for the 2019 season:

OFFENSE

QB — Jaden Walley, D’Iberville senior — Six-foot, 175-pound athlete holds offers from Auburn, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Arkansas and others. He ran for 1,214 yards and 16 touchdowns while throwing for 660 yards and 10 scores a year ago.

QB — Blake Noblin, Ocean Springs senior — 2018 stats include 1,533 yards passing, 18 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 207 yards rushing, 3 rushing TDs, 38.8 yards a punt. Holds Southern Miss offer.

RB — Chase Shears, Poplarville senior — Big-play running back averaged 17.5 yards a carry last year, rushing 75 times for 1,316 yards and 19 touchdowns. Holds multiple junior college offers.

Poplarville celebrates 33-14 4A South State championship win over East Central on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018.

RB — Jay McGee, St. Martin senior — Ran for 643 yards and seven touchdowns on 94 carries last season. Holds multiple junior college offers.

RB — Dylan Grinsteinner, East Central senior — Ran 210 times for 1,401 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2018.

East Central running back Dylan Grinsteinner discusses the difficulties of playing football with a large cast on his left hand. The Hornets won 6-0 at Biloxi.

OL — Deonta Reed, Picayune — 6-2, 330-pound member of the 2018 All-South Mississippi Football Team, Class 5A First-Team All-State. Holds a Jackson State offer.

OL — Ryan Spiers, Biloxi senior — 6-4, 280-pound offensive tackle holds offers from Georgia Tech, UAB, South Alabama, Louisiana-Monroe, Southeastern Louisiana and Jacksonville State.

OL — J.T. Zakkak, Gulfport senior — 6-foot-3, 290-pound South Alabama commit.

OL — Christian Sapp, Hancock senior — 6-foot-2, 320-pound South Alabama commit.

OL — Andrew McMillan, Long Beach senior — 6-foot-4, 280-pound South Alabama commit.

WR — Jacobi Moore, Harrison Central junior — 6-foot-3 standout who holds scholarship offers from Auburn, Mississippi State and Ole Miss. He caught 38 passes for 613 yards and four touchdowns last year.

WR — Deshun Shields, Gulfport senior — Senior caught 39 passes for 617 yards and seven touchdowns in 2018. He also had seven carries for 100 yards and a TD.

WR — Chanton Millender, Moss Point junior — Five-foot-10 receiver caught 48 passes for 719 yards and nine touchdowns in 2018.

DEFENSE

DT — McKinnley Jackson, George County senior — One of the nation’s top senior defensive linemen, holding offers from schools like Alabama, LSU, USC, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Auburn. Made 91 tackles, including 32 for negative yardage in 2018.

Gulfport took on George County in the Port City Bowl on Friday. They kept them scoreless with a 14-0 victory.

DT — Chandler Norris, Poplarville senior — 6-foot-2, 276-pound defensive tackle who had 84 tackles a year ago.

DE — Lee Negrotto, St. Stanislaus senior — Six-foot-3, 215-pound senior made 88 tackles and five sacks in 2018, holds offers from multiple junior colleges. Averaged 35.2 yards a punt.

DE — Devin Hart, Poplarville senior — 75 tackles and seven sacks for the 2018 Class 4A South State champions.

LB — Zach Jones, East Central senior — Six-foot-2, 220-pound South Alabama commit. Had 89 tackles and three interceptions in 2018.

LB — Drake Thornton, Gautier — 6-foot-1, 215-pound senior linebacker who holds offers from Southern Miss, South Alabama, Louisiana-Lafayette and Troy. Had 103 tackles and had four rushing touchdowns on offense.

Gautier senior linebacker Drake Thornton has drawn the attention of college coaches due to his outstanding speed. -- Hudl/Gautier High School

LB — Anthony Crouse, Biloxi senior — Registered 97 tackles despite missing time in region play.

DB — Elijah Sabbatini, Biloxi junior — Had 88 tackles, one interception and had 262 yards on eight kickoff returns. Holds Southern Miss, UAB and South Alabama offers.

Biloxi defensive back Elijah Sabbatini had a big sophomore year and is set to have an even bigger role as a junior. The offers are beginning to roll in.

DB — Justin Walley, D’Iberville junior — 5-foot-10 junior cornerback holds offers from Arkansas, Mississippi State and Southern Miss. Had 4 interceptions and 43 tackles in 2018.

DB — Jervin Smith, Biloxi senior — 6-foot-2, 185-pound senior holds offers from Southern Miss, UAB, South Alabama and Louisiana-Monroe.

DB — A.J. Petty, Stone High senior — Registered two interceptions, 42 tackles and 13 pass deflections in 2018.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker — Austin Hyde, Hancock senior — Made 6 of 7 field goals and 22 of 27 extra points in 2018, holds Mississippi Delta Community College offer.

PR/KRTommie Johnson, Gulfport senior — Receiver caught 37 passes for 626 yards and six touchdowns a year ago.

AthleteChad O’Neal, Biloxi junior — After battling through injuries at receiver last year, O’Neal will start at QB. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound athlete has offers from Southern Miss and South Alabama.

HONORABLE MENTION: Stone High OL Zach Bond, St. Stanislaus RB/DB Brandon Bordelon, Moss Point junior RB/LB Savion Burkes, Gulfport senior QB Cade Crosby, Hancock OL Quintin Fowler, Picayune DL Elijah Jenkins, Moss Point QB Ruben Lee, Gulfport DB Jamison Lindsey, Harrison Central junior RB Jaidon McClain, Picayune senior OL Timothy Mickle, St. Stanislaus receiver Dallas Payne, St. Martin junior LB Easton Wynn, East Central senior QB Will Young.

Patrick Magee is a sports writer who has covered South Mississippi for much of the last two decades. From Southern Miss to high schools, he stays on top of it all.
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