The state of Mississippi is turning out a bumper crop of talent for the 2011 signing class. Over 50 players are expected to sign scholarships with Division 1 programs.
There are several players throughout the state that have college level talent, but so far they have not seen a lot of options come there way.
Chandler Rogers, Kendrick Market and Joe Price are names fans and college scouts are all familiar with. I believe those players have the exposure and ability to land a college option or two prior to signing day.
There are several more tucked away in smaller programs and under recruited areas with the ability to make things happen under the Friday night lights.
Pat Malone of Byhalia, Mississippi is one of the most versatile players the average fan does not know. Malone serves as his team's quarterback and patrols the BHS secondary with bad intentions.
Malone projects as a defensive back on the next level. He did not spend a lot of time at camps this summer and I believe that has prevented his name being more prominently mentioned.
Cortez Frizell of Durant, Mississippi is the top returning ground gainer in the state. Frizell is one of the main reasons fans believe Durant is a bona find state title contender.
Cortez does not have blazing speed, but he is shifty and an intelligent runner. He makes the most of every play and he will end up on a college roster somewhere.
Chris Hughes of McComb, Mississippi burst onto the scene after an MVP caliber performance at the MVP camp at Auburn. The talented defensive tackle was dominant during the event.
Hughes is a name to really watch this fall. He holds an offer from Arkansas State, but look for several additional programs to get in the mix now that Chris has made a bit of a name for himself.
Devontay Barnett of West Jones High School is one of the most gifted offensive players in the state. Not many people outside of Soso, Mississippi know a lot about him.
Barnett plays Robin to QB Ben Stevens' Batman and the duo have the Mustangs firmly in the title talk mix. A strong year by Devontay will lead to some options.
Stone Underwood of Brookhaven, Mississippi had two great showings at the Southern Miss summer football camps. Stone won OL MVP honors at the Golden Eagles' Elite prospect camp.
It is a pretty good year in state for offensive lineman in Mississippi. In an average year, Stone probably gets a little more attention. His video is as impressive as any offensive lineman in the state. Someone will sign him.
Josh Gaston made the move from DeSoto Central to Olive Branch and that may prove to be a good decision. Gaston was one of the top playmakers in Southaven, so if he is able to build on that showing this year good things should happen.
True linebackers in Mississippi are often hard to come by. More times than not they play out of position out of necessity. In Josh's case, he has played linebacker most of his career. He has a good understanding of the position.
D.J. Jordan of Starkville, Mississippi is a fun player to watch. D.J.'s level of exposure may have suffered due to a coaching change at Starkville High, but you can rest assured new head man Jamie Mitchell will put Jordan in a place he can succeed.
D.J.'s top end speed may be the one thing that is holding him back from picking up a BCS level scholarship offer. He has a nose for the ball and he is a sure handed tackler. He will help someone win a lot of games.
Shaquille Smith of Lanier High School in Jackson, Mississippi is the definition of a sleeper. Smith first caught my eye as a sophomore against Canton High School. Even back then he was delivering huge hits and always running to the ball.
Shaq likes to mix it up, but he does not have ideal size. He will probably end up as a weakside backer in most schemes because of his ability to run and cover.
Frank Richardson of New Hope High School in Columbus, Mississippi is a very talented defensive back. He has a penchant for the big play and he brings a load at the point of impact.
Richardson has good speed and great instincts. It is a very deep year in Mississippi for defensive backs, so there is a good chance a smaller school may land Frank which would be an absolute steal.
Markeyus Johnson of Forrest County Agricultural High School in tiny Brooklyn, Mississippi can absolutely fly. He turned in a low 4.4s time in the 40 at the UL-Lafayette camp which started a bit of a buzz.
Johnson can play on either side of the ball, but it appears his skill set is best suited for corner. He has good length and a frame that should allow him to add some bulk without hurting his top end speed.