By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
Mississippi State and Ole Miss got their men Wednesday, but there’s still one more big target out there for both of them.
MSU added two players to its fold on the first day of the junior college signing period, while Ole Miss added three. Both schools, as well as Washington and reportedly Auburn, are still awaiting word from Lavon Hooks, a defensive tackle from Northeast Mississippi Community College.
The 6-foot-4, 295-pound Hooks, who has a five-star rating from 247Sports, has delayed his decision several times this week. Both teams would be able to use him immediately to shore up their defensive lines.
Hooks recorded 20.5 tackles-for-loss and 9.5 sacks this past season for Northeast.
The Bulldogs did address a couple of big needs with Wednesday’s signings: cornerback and wide receiver, where graduation is taking a big toll.
Justin Cox, of East Mississippi CC, is a safety who originally signed with State out of high school. He had 11 interceptions in two years at EMCC and could be moved to cornerback.
Jeremey Chappelle, of Tyler (Texas) CC, is a 6-2 receiver who had 801 yards and nine touchdowns this fall.
“Our defensive backfield with a lot of guys leaving and at the receiver position with five seniors, it’s huge for us to get guys coming in the spring, that they’ll make a contribution,” head coach Dan Mullen said.
The Ole Miss haul is headlined by Quadarias Mireles of Delray Beach, Fla. The nation’s No. 8 rated athlete by ESPN.com signed with the Rebels out of high school but went to Hinds Community College, where he had 828 all-purpose yards this season.
Also joining Ole Miss in January will be a pair of high schoolers, running back Mark Dodson (Memphis) and tight end Christian Morgan (Plano, Texas). Dodson was the Tennessee Gatorade player of the year, rushing for 3,295 yards and 37 touchdowns.
Morgan is a converted offensive lineman who had 497 yards and five TDs as a senior.
“All three have shown great love for Ole Miss and will help build on the momentum we have established,” said first-year coach Hugh Freeze, whose Rebels are 6-6 and headed to the BBVA Compass Bowl against Pittsburgh.