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Early signing day 2020 in South Mississippi

Published: Dec. 16, 2020 at 10:48 PM CST
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SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Signing day started out with a bang, as George County star and All-American MJ Daniels flipped his commitment from Mississippi State to Ole Miss. The defensive back was originally committed to the Rebels, before switching to Mike Leach and the Bulldogs in September, until eventually sticking with his first choice. A decision 18 years in the making that all came down to this week.

“The past couple days have been back and forth between Ole Miss and Mississippi State,” Daniels said. “Last night I sat down with my family to look at the pros and cons and what I want to do. My dream is to make it to the NFL, and I think I have a better opportunity if I go to Ole Miss.”

Just moments after his announcement, Lane Kiffin tweeted a picture of a t-shirt that said ‘Merry Flipmas.’ An early holiday gift for Kiffin and his staff, in the form of a 6-foot-3-inch star.

“The night before last, I told him (Kiffin) I was going to come and get on the Kiffin Train,” Daniels said. “He said he was excited for me to get there and get to work. Land Shark nation, I’m coming.”

Joining him in Oxford is Biloxi’s Elijah Sabbatini, who put pen to paper just 12 days after tweeting his commitment to Ole Miss. And, as any good future teammate does, he even offered MJ some help with his signing day attire.

“I talked to him this morning right before he signed, I helped him pick out his outfit. It was clean,” Sabbatini said.

“Knowing that I’ll be putting on for my city and my state, it just feels good to be going up there and doing all this. Not a lot of people come from down here, I just want to put on and make a big name for myself from Biloxi.”

Five other Indians joined Elijah this afternoon to play at the next level. Jake Allen and Kamri Huy are off to Meridian for baseball and softball respectively, Chrysten Bradford is heading to Miles College for softball, Ryan Smith will be a short drive up the road at Southern Miss to play soccer, and Tristan Pearson will play baseball for Jones.

Last, but most certainly not least, joined by over a dozen family members - including a virtual visit from older brother and MSU star Jaden - D’Iberville standout Justin Walley made his pledge to Minnesota official.

“It’s a great feeling that it’s all over with, it’s a relief off my shoulders,” Walley said. “I’m just blessed to be in this situation, I just thank God and my coaches for it.”

Despite numerous power 5 schools making a run at the Magnolia State’s Mr. Football winner, Walley stood firm on his 4-month old decision, and never wavered.

“Just the coaching staff, I love coach (PJ) Fleck and coach (Paul) Haynes, I knew I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to play for a guy like him,” Walley said. “It was the most stressful six months of my life. Everyday I thought, did I make the right choice? And I really think I did.”

A combined eight stars from Pearl River and Mississippi Gulf Coast pledged their commitments to the next level, too.

PRCC:

Stetson Moore - Liberty

Noah Mitchell - UTSA

MGCCC:

Diwun Black - Florida

Malik Jones - UTSA

Brian Merritt - Houston

Hayden Shook - Tulane

Carson Williams - Mississippi State

Navonteque Strong - LSU

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