Nation's most sought after juco defensive lineman will graduate in December

The race for DL Isaiah Buggs out of Mississippi Gulf Coast CC remains between the same four schools. Has one emerged as the leader?

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"No, I get that question a lot," Buggs said. "It's still even between those four (Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Ole Miss). I've been to games at all of those schools but Alabama."

Colleges began lining up for the 6-foot-5, 293-pound defensive lineman after his freshman season at MS Gulf Coast CC.

"When I first arrived at MS Gulf Coast CC nobody knew who I was. I didn't have any offers coming out of Ruston (La). The coaches at MS Gulf Coast CC came into the picture during my senior season. They told me if I came over there I would have a chance to play big time D1 ball. They were right. My freshman season I became a dynamic playmaker for our defense. At the end of spring training I started getting a lot of calls and then Auburn offered me. They were the first school to offer me. After that I started getting offers from all over the country."

Isaiah enrolled at MS Gulf Coast CC as a 6-foot-4, 220-pound defensive end. He hit a major growth spurt after arriving.

"Yea, you could say that (laugh). I grew an inch and put on about 73 pounds (laugh). I was a string bean coming out of high school but I was always strong. Now I'm benching 395 pounds and squatting 625 pounds. I've just gotten a lot bigger, stronger and faster since I got here. My coaches know my strengths on the field and play to my strengths. I owe so much to these guys over here. It was the start of my career."

Buggs has 43 tackles, five for a loss, two sacks, and two pass breakups so far this season. MS Gulf Coast has a few unexpected losses on the season but Buggs is not giving up.

"We still have a shot at the playoffs. The first two losses were not in our district. If we can win South and make it to the State Finals and win that we still have a chance. We just have to treat every game from here on out like it's the playoffs."

The preseason All-American took in his first Ole Miss game this fall when they faced Georgia.

"It was a good trip. I met a lot of the people, saw the campus for the first time, and their staff is great. It was an overall great trip. Everybody has great facilities so it really was not about that. I just wanted to make sure it was exactly what they were telling me. It was which was good to know. Right now it's kind of where I'm going to play at and get ready for the next step."

Is the depth chart at each school a major factor?

"I'm going to play wherever I go. In the SEC you don't recruit jucos to come in and sit. Every SEC program has defensive linemen. You just have to believe in your abilities and come in and compete. I'm not really worried about depth charts or who has this or that player. All of my four finalist have great defensive linemen on their team."

What stood out about the Ole Miss visit?

"A whole lot, actually. The facilities and staff. It was just what I was expecting it to be. Exactly like the coaches told me. I just want the coaches to be real to me. That's the biggest thing. I talk to coaches (Chris) Kiffin and Barney (Farrar) two or three times a week. They have always kept it real with me. That's the biggest thing I like about Ole Miss."

Many media people have pegged LSU as the favorite for Buggs since he's from the Bayou state, but don't discount Auburn.

"It's just a great school. They have a great program. I have been there multiple times. It's a family atmosphere. Their coaches told me what to expect and it's what I was told. They were also the first school to recognize my talents, so."

Buggs expands on the Auburn coaching staff.

"I get new info on them everyday, if they are going to be there or not next season. If the staff does change that would be a big deal, but as long as my primary coaches who recruit me are there next season, they will stay on my list. I've got a great relationship with those guys."

There has already been a coaching change at LSU, but they have kept the two main coaches who are responsible for Buggs' recruitment on their staff.

"Right now I'm just taking a wait-and-see approach. Are they going to keep my primary recruiters in coaches (Ed) Orgeron and (Bradley) Peveto? If they do they will still on my list with Ole Miss and Auburn, but I have to make sure they will be there. I'm just taking a day-by-day until the season is over. I'll know who is staying and who is going at the end of the season. The picture will become much clearer."

Yancy Porter is the recruiting analyst for the Ole Miss Spirit and he can be reached at

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