GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Football fans have a golden opportunity to watch future Division I players this weekend in Perkinston.
The 2016 Mississippi Bowl is set to kick off 2 p.m. Sunday at A.L. May Stadium pitting No. 3 ranked East Mississippi and No. 13 Kilgore, Texas.
Both junior college teams arrived on the coast Friday night and attended a banquet on the Jeff Davis campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College this evening.
The guest speaker was Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema.
He says he has recruited JUCO players to fill the gaps on his Razorbacks football team.
Coach Bielema said, "My first class had seven junior college players and really have evolved since then. We've done a nice job. I believe of our last four junior college players, three of them have been drafted and playing in the NFL."
East Mississippi head coach Buddy Stephens and Kilgore head coach J.J. Eckert respect each others football program and are looking forward to Sunday's showdown in Perkinston.
Coach Stephens said, "For us playing anybody with a star on the side of their helmet, it means something. It means something to them. To represent the state of Mississippi means a tremendous amount."
Kilgore coach J.J. Eckert said,"One of the best junior colleges in the nation and I think that give us an opportunity to go out and compete. I think that's one thing our guys are excited about as having the opportunity."
In the eight previous Mississippi Bowl games, the Mississippi representative has won seven games.
East Mississippi has won all three previous Mississippi Bowl games having captured the NJCAA 2013 and 2014 National Championships in Biloxi.
Tickets for the 2016 Mississippi Bowl, $10 for adults and $7 for students.