ETHAN TURNER: Bulldogs, Rebels fill the gaps



By Ethan Turner

Special to the Chickasaw Journal

The first Wednesday in February is a holiday for some college football fans around the country. National Signing Day has come and gone once again and new college players hoping to make an impact next season have signed on with their college choice.

For the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Ole Miss Rebels, both teams not only added talented players on Wednesday, but both squads filled positions of need.

For the Bulldogs, according to, MSU finished with the 27th ranked signing class in the country.

The Bulldogs added key players Willie Gay, a four-star linebacker from Starkville, Noah Elliss, a four-star defensive tackle from Colorado, Kylin Hill, a speedy three-star running back from Columbus, along with many others.

The Bulldogs went heavy on the defensive side of the ball with this class as 15 out of the 24 signings play on the defensive side.

With all of the defensive signings, the Bulldogs are looking to shore up a defense that struggled at times last fall. MSU will look to Willie Gay to play early, alongside Leo Lewis in the linebacker core. Also, with the numerous defensive line signings, the Bulldogs will look to put more pressure on the quarterback next season.

On the offensive side, the Bulldogs signed Keytaon Thompson, a four star QB from New Orleans, to play behind Nick Fitzgerald after numerous quarterback transfers in the offseason.

Along with Kylin Hill and other signees, MSU will look to add explosiveness on the offensive end to keep pace in the tough SEC.

The Bulldogs signed a great class that should get the fanbase in Starkville excited, and only time will tell if these signees take the Bulldogs to the next level.

For the Ole Miss Rebels, their class was heavy on the defensive side, too.

The Rebels’ recruits finished as the 39th ranked class in the nation according to Rivals. Some were surprised at the success of this class considering the coaching turnover in the offseason, and more importantly the cloud of the NCAA investigation and it’s unknown consequences.

But even with these roadblocks in the way, the Rebels were able to haul in quality.

Leading the way in this class for the Rebels is four-star linebacker Breon Dixon from Georgia, four-star linebacker Mohamed Sanogo from Texas, three-star linebacker Josh Clarke from Louisiana and three- star wide receiver D.D. Bowie from Morton.

The Rebels main struggle last season was on defensive, so the Rebs have to hope these new signings can come in and contribute immediately, especially the linebackers.

Ole Miss signed five linebackers in the class to bolster their weakest spot on defense from last season.

Along with tons of defensive help, Ole Miss added wide receivers D.D. Bowie and Braylon Sanders to help give quarterback Shea Patterson more help and more weapons on the edges.

As a whole the Rebels’ class wasn’t as star-powered as in years past because of the looming NCAA investigation, but even with that, the Rebels achieved their goals in getting tons of defensive help, and the Rebs hope these signees will produce and benefit the team for years to come.

As both the Bulldogs and Rebels put bows on this signing class, no matter the team ranking or how many stars a player has, the players that signed with the Bulldogs and Rebels will need to produce to help their team succeed next season.

Ethan Turner is a special correspondent for the Chickasaw Journal. He can be reached via the Chickasaw Journal at 456-3771 or just look for him at the game this week.

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