College Football In Mississippi: Who Is Winning The Recruiting Battle?

By: Tony Thomas

September 14, 2019



I was born in Mississippi and I am a Southern Miss graduate (class of ’95). While doing a little research for this article on high school football recruiting, I noticed a pattern that concerns me.

According to and their listing of the Top 300 high school football recruits in the country for 2020, only 3 players from the state of Mississippi made the list.

Of those 3, none were offered scholarships by Southern Miss.

However, all 3 were offered scholarships by Ole Miss and Mississippi State, with 2 committing to Ole Miss. Two other recruits on the list outside of Mississippi also committed to Ole Miss, bringing their total number of ESPN 300 commitments to 4.

In fact, Ole Miss has offered scholarships to at least 15 ESPN 300 players, and 8 of the top 25 recruits, including the #1 recruit Zach Evans, running back out of Northshore H.S. in Houston, TX.

Mississippi State is also actively recruiting players on the ESPN 300 list, receiving a couple of commitments as well.

Southern Miss has offered a scholarship to 1 player ranked on the list, a wide receiver from Tampa, Florida ranked #257. No commitments.

In addition to recruiting within Mississippi’s borders, Ole Miss is also actively recruiting on a national basis, offering scholarships to recruits in Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Colorado, and Florida, to name a few.

And all of this has been accomplished by an Ole Miss team that has a 26-23 record over the last 4 years. 3 wins over .500. Not exactly a stellar win-loss record is it?

The Golden Eagles have a 30-21 record over the last 4 years.

The New Orleans metro area has been a base of recruiting for Southern Miss over the years. There are at least 2 players from New Orleans on the list and neither have received scholarship offers from the Golden Eagles.

According to, the Golden Eagles have only 9 commitments for the 2020 recruiting class. The class is ranked #104 in the country, and #8 in C-USA.

They have recruited players from Louisiana, Florida, Texas, and California. And, they have recruited for every position group except for running back and kicker. Each of the 9 commitments are rated as 3-stars or lower.

The Golden Eagles have recruited just 3 players from Mississippi for the 2020 class.

Recruiting is the lifeblood of every football program. Aside from locking down your home state, you have to recruit nationally, even if you don’t get a commitment. At least make the effort.

That’s where hiring good assistant coaches who are excellent recruiters comes in. You never know what a recruit might do. They could fall in love with the school, there could be a family connection to the school that may influence a recruit’s decision.

Sometimes a recruit’s decision comes down to what position the school projects that recruit to play at the college level. You just never know unless you make the effort and perform some due diligence. Also, assistant coaches have to correctly evaluate the talent level of the recruit.

Southern Miss needs to step up their game in recruiting if they are going to be successful in the future.

Thanks for reading.


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