Keeping Score

Southern Miss bolsters defense through Power 5 transfers

With the recent addition of two more players from Power 5 programs, Southern Miss head coach Todd Monken has made moves to bolster depth on the defensive side of the ball.

Former Auburn linebacker Anthony Swain and former Miami/Oklahoma State defensive end Naim Mustafaa both recently signed with the Golden Eagles, the Sun Herald has confirmed.

Both players are immediately eligible to play. Swain has one year remaining after graduating from Auburn.

The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Mustafaa joins USM after sitting out the 2014 campaign. He attended Oklahoma State in the spring of 2013 before transferring to Miami. He sat out the 2013 campaign and left school there without playing a down for the Hurricanes.

Swain appears to be the player best prepared to make an immediate impact for the Golden Eagles. At 6-foot-2, 249 pounds, he will be the biggest player in USM's linebacking corps.

Swain, a native of Gadsden, Ala., served as a backup linebacker at Auburn the last two seasons after playing on special teams as a redshirt freshman in 2012. He played in all 13 games last year and registered 18 tackles, three for lost yardage.

A player of Swain's stature will likely be relied upon to try to slow down the power ground games of 2015 opponents like Mississippi State, Nebraska and UTEP.

Southern Miss is also waiting on Coffeyville, Kan., Community College linebacker Sherrod Ruff to complete his summer coursework so he can join the Golden Eagles for the 2015 season with three years of eligibility remaining.

Ruff stands 5-foot-11, 220 pounds and also held offers from Louisville, Buffalo, Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee.

It's been an active summer for the USM staff in terms of transfers. Former Michigan running back Justice Hayes could prove to be a big pickup for the Golden Eagles. 

Hayes announced in May that he will join the Golden Eagles as a graduate transfer, making him immediately eligible to play. The 5-foot-10, 192-pound Hayes rushed 48 times for 213 yards and caught 11 passes for 65 yards last season.

USM returns its top four rushers from a year ago, but junior George Payne's health was in question after the spring and senior Jalen Richard had to sit out the spring due to academic issues.