There was no question that recruiting in South Mississippi was on an upswing in 2017 with more than 50 players signing football scholarships. I traveled to D'Iberville High School where three players signed on the dotted line and one of those players inked a scholarship with Southern Miss.
Warriors defensive back Chris Thompson signed with Southeastern University in Florida, defensive back D.J. Polk is heading to Mississippi Gulf Coast and safety Tyler Barnes chose the Golden Eagles of Southern Miss.
Barnes said, "When I got the offer, it was a no-brainier. I just immediately wanted to play for them. I wanted to be an Eagles since I was young."
Family, friends, teammates, coaches and students jammed the Harrison Central High School cafeteria, where offensive linemen Jacob Shoemaker and Calvin Hunter officially became Mississippi Gulf Coast Bulldogs.
Southeastern Louisiana received the signature of defensive lineman Noah Vance.
It's great, "stated Vance. " know where I'm going. I love everything about it and I'm ready."
Harrison Central quarterback Tavis Williams will continue his football career at Jackson State. He said, "I love everything about Jackson State. I'm ready to get on a roll. I'm ready to go.
Most players signing Division I football scholarships on the coast knew exactly which school they would sign with. There was one exception, Paul Gainer an offensive lineman at Gautier.
The former Mississippi State commitment had to decide between Southern Miss, Tulane and UL-Lafayette. There was no announcement, he just quickly slipped on a Golden Eagle ball cap.
"I knew I had to make the right decision for me, not only for the next five years but for the next twenty, "said Gainer. "I feel like that was best for me."
Three other Gautier Gators are bound for Mississippi Gulf Coast, linebacker Dominic Blankenship, offensive lineman Justin Scott and running back Deandre Torrey.
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