Keys to the Game
Both team strengths lie with their skilled players as neither team is exactly
blessed with a plethora of talent up front, but after seeing both teams up close
this week, I believe this is where Mississippi might hold a slight edge.
If Mississippi can shut down the run, and turn Alabama into a one dimensional offense, their chances of winning greatly goes up.
Mississippi has so many weapons on offense. The tailback duo of Thunder (Qyen Griffin) and Lightening (Joe Price) should be fun to watch during the game. Rueben Duckworth out of Mount Olive and Marino Daggan also have some punch and bring different qualities to their game.
Joe Morrow is a great possession receiver and his 6' 4" frame gives him an advantage on a jump ball. Josh Pinkston is another great possession receiver who will run middle routes and take the lick. Devin Fosselman is very quick and has good ball skills. Nicholas Brassell comes in and out of his cuts as hard or harderas anybody on either team and is the most competitive player these eyes have ever laid eyes on. And if you are looking for someone to throw the deep ball too, there is no one better than Tobias Singleton who looks like another Mike Wallace to these untrained eyes..
The strength of the offensive line no doubt lies with their starting tackles in RT Aaron Morris and LT James Maiden. The key to Mississippi's success on offense will be the interior line's ability to block Alabama's front. That will be handled by OC Chris Frigo (6' 2", 275) out of St. Stanislaus, RG Stone Underwood (6' 3", 275) out of Brookhaven, and LG Justin Booth (6' 1", 325) out of Taylorsville. While they might not be long in size and talent all three have been giving great effort this week in practice and all work well together.
The quarterback duties will be handled by Ben Stevens (6' 0", 175) out of West Jones and Jazuez Johnson (6' 1", 215) out of Starkville. Ben will most likely be the starter in the game and his strength is in the passing game while Johnson's lie in the running game. Ben has a really strong and accurate arm for someone his size and Johnson will be used out of the Wildcat and in the running game in general as he runs the ball hard and effective.
There is no question that this might be the most underrated group out of the bunch. P.J. Jones (6' 4", 270) brings you size, strength, and speed coming off the edge, and in some formations, he will play nose guard as the Mississippi defense basically plays a "50" defense. Playing on the end will be Lauren Jackson (6' 2", 260) out of Meridian. He is relentless in his pursuit of the ball and plays with good leverage. The defensive tackles will be manned by Cortez Hartzog (6' 2", 280) and Justin Hamilton (6' 2", 330). Cortez has a really good get off which means he gets up and out of his stance in a hurry and Hamilton is quicker than you think when you first look at him. He can be effective. Another tackle to keep your eyes open for is Christian Ringo (6' 1", 250) as the Forest Hill product lacks size but is extremely quick off of the ball.
Again, in my opinin, this is where the game will be won or loss for the Mississippi squad as Alabama's weakness is their offensive line and the Mississippi squad must exploit those weaknesses in order to win the game.
If you are looking for some rough and tough and physical headhunters then you will love the Mississippi linebackers in C.J. Johnson, Trae Johnson, Corey Williams, and Jacoby Eason. All four are thick, powerful, and love to play between the tackles. But the one area I continue to worry about is speed. There are too many linebackers with the same attributes and this could be exploited by Alabama's offense.
What a talented group! It certainly rivals the wide receivers as the team's strengths. The cornerback position is loaded with tall cover corners in Jaylen Collins (6' 1", 175), Jermaine Whitehead (6' 0", 180, and Justin Cox (6' 1", 180). It is very unusual to have three corners with this size that can all flip their hips on a dime and get after the receiver. It is a good thing because Alabama has some size at the wide out slots in Sammie Coates (6' 3"), Kyreek Brown (6' 4") and Marvin Shinn (6' 4")
The talent does not stop at the corner slots. The safety position is loaded as well as Chelarvez Brown (6' 1", 195), Darion Arrington (6' 0", 190), and Kendrick Market are all three big time players. Brown is athletic and rangy. Dee Arrington just has a "it". He always knows where the ball is going and will put you flat on your back. Kendrick is the playmaker of the secondary as he is sneaky quick and is a great competitor.
There is plenty of depth in the defensive backfield as S Shaquille Fluker (5' 10", 200) out of Meridian and CB Taveze Calhoun (6' 1", 175) out of Morton will be there if needed.
Best Player you have never heard of
This award easily goes Olive Branch's CB Jaylen Collins. One
might ask how someone from Olive Branch that is committed to LSU can go unnoticed?
Great question. The answer would lie in the fact Jaylen played for DeSoto Central
and did not transfer to the high profile program (Olive Branch) until this season.
Jaylen has size (6' 1"), light feet, flexible hips, and is as competitive as any person on the field. Some coaches and players even whispered that he was the best corner at the event. When you take into consideration that Jermaine Whitehead is also in attendance, you are talking about some pretty high cotton.
You will see Collins' stock shoot straight up, and you will most likely see the college recruiters start to knock on his door. LSU is his only offer to date but look for that to change and in a hurry.
These five players are not sexy around the recruiting circles but you better
get to know them.
CB Jaylen Collins (6' 1", 175) out of Olive Branch, CB
Tarveze Calhoun (6' 1", 175), DL Lauren Jackson
(6' 2", 260) out of Meridian, RB Marino Daggan (6' 0",
180) out of Bassfield, QB Ben Stevens (6' 0", 175) out
of West Jones.
These players are ranked on where they project on the next level, in no particular
WR Snoop Brassell (6' 0", 175) out of South Panola, WR Tobias Singleton (5' 11 1/2", 185) out of Madison Central, OT Aaron Morris (6' 5", 330) out of Jackson Callaway, S Dee Arrington (6' 0", 200) out of Stone County, CB Jermaine Whitehead (6' 0", 180) out of Amanda Elzy, DL P.J. Jones (6' 4", 270) out of Tupelo, CB Jaylen Collins (6' 1", 175) out of Olive Branch, OT James Maiden (6' 4", 260) out of Wilkinson County, WR Joe Morrow (6' 4", 200) out of Ocean Springs, S Chief Brown (6' 1", 195) out of Winona, and LB C.J. Johnson (6' 1", 235) out of Philadelphia
These players are high D1 material and just missed the dandy dozen
RB Qyen Griffin (5' 10", 215)} out of South Panola, WR Devin Fosselman (5' 10", 180) out of Wilkinson County), Joe Price (5' 9", 185) out of Madison Central, Josh Pinkston (6' 2", 185) out of Forest, and Ath Kendrick Market (5' 9", 175) out of South Panola
If you were worried that most of the action was ove, since the majority of the prospects are already committed, think again, as most of the commits are taking their official visits.
CB Jermaine Whitehead (commit to MSU) - Visits MSU (1/14),
Ole Miss (1/21) and is in the middle of setting up a visit with Auburn for 1/28.
Has already visited Stanford in October.
OL Aaron Morris (commit to OM)- Visits MSU (1/14), Ole Miss (1/21) and is in the middle of setting up a visit with Auburn. Visited Alabama last weekend.
LB C.J. Johnson (commit to MSU) - Visits USM (1/14), OM (1/21), and LSU (1/28).
S Chief Brown (commit to OM) - Visits OM (1/21) and said he is setting up a visit with Alabama.
WR Nick Brassell (commit to MSU) - Said he will MSU, Alabama, Ole Miss, Arkansas, and LSU or Tennessee.
RB Joe Price (commit to MSU) - Visits MSU (1/14), Ole Miss (1/21), and is scheduling a visit with Memphis.
OL James Maiden (commit to MSU) - Has not scheduled any visits but said he will visit MSU and Southern University.
CB Jaylen Collins (commit to LSU) - Is open to taking some visits but nobody has called. He has not scheduled his visit to LSU yet.
S Dee Arrington (commit to MSU - Said he will only visit MSU (1/14).
DL Cortez Hartzog (commit to USM) - Said he will only visit Southern Miss (1/21)
WR Devin Fosselman (commit to MSU) - Will only visit MSU.
Ath Kendrick Market (commit to MSU) - Is unsure of his visit schedule.
DL P.J. Jones - Visits MSU (1/14), OM (1/21), Arkansas (1/28)
WR Tobias Singleton - Visited UCLA (12/3) and will visit MSU, Ole Miss, and Arkansas in January.
LB Corey Williams - No visits lined up but is receiving interests from OM, MSU, and JSU.
CB Taveze Calhoun -No dates set up but receiving interests from La Tech, S' East LA, Arkansas State, and Central Arkansas
RB Marino Daggan - No visits set but is receiving interests from MSU and USM. State is closest to offering.
DL Justin Hamilton - Only junior college interest up to this point.
DL Lauren Jackson - Visits MSU (1/14) and is receiving interests from Alabama, Auburn, and Arkansas.
DL Christian Ringo - OM, Memphis (offer), MSU, and N' West LA are showing the most interest.
Where are they?
Each year there is a group of players who are mysteriously left off of the
roster and this year was no different. Dandy Dozen members Ath Cody
Prewitt, TE Malcolm Faciane
(knee injury), LB Marcus Mayers, WR Donte
Moncrief, and CB Senquez Golson
are not in attendance and several other highly rated players were left off in
QB Maikhail Miller, QB Dominique
Harris, OL Justin Bell,
OL Nick Redmond, DL Woodrow
Hamilton, OL/TE Daniel Knox.
That is simply too much talent that is staying at home. Alabama continues to do a better job at getting their top dogs to play in the game. Until Mississippi follows suit, we will keep talking about stopping losing streaks.
WR Photo Gallery
LB Photo Gallery
Nick Brassell interview
P.J. Jones interview