Kylin Hill receives the MVP Award at the 2016 Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game (Photo by Jason Caldwell)

Which school won the Mississippi football recruiting war?

When looking at the Mississippi high school football players that signed over the past month and stayed in Mississippi I wanted to assess which Mississippi university won the state.

There were only six players in Scout.com's top three hundred that came out of Mississippi this past year and only two of them stayed in state. D.D. Bowie signed with Ole Miss and could develop into a talented wide receiver in the upcoming years. The second player was Willie Gay who signed with Mississippi State and is arguably one of the best outside linebackers in the country.

Ole Miss, during the past few years, developed excellent wide receivers like Laquon Treadwell and Evan Engram. D.D. Bowie, who is 6'1" and about 190 pounds, could become a possible big-time playmaker receiver the next few years. Bowie is from Morton, MS and decided to stay in his home state. Bowie, was also had offers from Alabama, Auburn, LSU, and Mississippi State, probably chose Ole Miss based on their recent tendency to produce excellent receivers. Ole Miss also signed Kam'ron White the 6'2" 205 pounds wide receiver out of Clinton, Mississippi. Ole Miss beat out Iowa State, who was a close second in his decision. White is a very physical player just like his former teammate Cam Akers who went to Florida State to replace Dalvin Cook. Overall, Ole Miss recruiting was quieter this season than in recent past; however, they were still able to sign some good receivers out of Mississippi.

Southern Miss had success this recruiting season signing in-state players. They kept home a total of six in-state players this season. They signed Paul Gainer, an offensive guard coming out of Gautier, MS who is 6'3" 280 pounds. Besides Southern Miss, Gainer also had offers from teams like Louisville, Memphis, and Mississippi State. Southern Miss signed cornerback Emanuel Dabney who is 6'0" 150 pounds. He has good height to play corner but is extremely light and will need to add twenty or more pounds. Southern Miss was also able to sign Freddie Hartz who also had an offer from Alabama. Hartz, from Morton, MS, is a big 6-foot-1, 250-pound inside linebacker who should be able to fill up run lanes with his great size. Overall, Southern Miss did a good job of recruiting in-state players who should make a positive impact to their future success.

As mentioned earlier, Mississippi State signed Willie Gay, one of the top outside linebackers in the country and who just so happens to live five minutes from the school. Gay was the one player when signing day came around that no one really knew where he would sign until he made his decision. Besides Mississippi State Gay was being heavily recruited by other top teams in the country such as Michigan, Alabama, LSU, and Ole Miss for his great size at 6'2" 220 pounds and his elite speed. Gay made a verbal commitment to Ole Miss until he visited LSU in late January. When Gay made the decision to play for the team he grew-up cheering for, you could feel the excitement in the air in Starkville, MS. Mississippi State also signed Columbus High School running back Kylin Hill who is 5'11" 205 pounds. Look for Hill to be in the rotation very early in his career. He has the ability to run through tackles and also has great vision and quickness. Mississippi State did a great job keeping players from Mississippi in state. The new additions to the team should make an immediate impact next year.

The group of players that made the best decision to stay in state were linebacker Willie Gay and wide receiver D.D. Bowie. Gay should be in the rotation very often, if not start during his freshman year. The Mississippi State defense that struggled last season needed a playmaker and that's exactly what State got in Willie Gay. D.D. Bowie, the tenth best wide receiver in the county according to Scout.com, has the chance to be one of the next great Ole Miss receivers because of his speed and quickness.

In my personal opinion, I feel like Mississippi State won the Mississippi recruiting battle this year. Mississippi State filled more of their team's needs with the players that came out of Mississippi. According to Scout.com, Mississippi State had the twenty-fourth best recruiting class this year because of Mississppi players like Willie Gay and Kylin Hill. When asked "which school won the state?" I will answer Mississippi State every time.


Gene's Page Top Stories