By John L. Pitts/NEMS Daily Journal
Rebuffed by Auburn, Lavon Hooks is taking his talents to Oxford.
The standout defensive tackle at Northeast Mississippi Community College delayed his decision for a day before signing with Ole Miss on Thursday. He’ll enroll in January and be eligible for the 2013 season.
“It was a lot of stress, a whole bunch,” Hooks told his hometown newspaper, the Gwinnett Daily Post. “I wanted to go somewhere I knew I could make an immediate impact and play on a big stage, and go some place that would make me happy and make my family happy.”
The 6-foot-4, 290-pounder was rated the top junior college prospect by 247Sports.com and 15th overall by ESPN.com. He had 20.5 tackles for loss – including 9.5 sacks – this season for the Tigers.
focus on football
He was a standout basketball player before turning his sole focus to football.
“It was a difficult recruiting battle, and we could not be more excited,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said in a statement. “It’s always special to sign a player from one of our outstanding Mississippi junior colleges. Lavon is an explosive player who will make an immediate impact on our defensive line.”
Hooks took official visits to Washington, Baylor, Arizona State, Ole Miss and Nebraska. He also took unofficial visits to Auburn and Mississippi State.
Hooks told the Gwinnett paper that he wanted to sign with Auburn on Wednesday, but he had an English class credit the school wouldn’t accept in his transfer.
“The SEC accepted it, but the institution didn’t. Ole Miss and Mississippi State accepted it,” Hooks told the paper.
Hooks is the fourth player in the Rebels’ early signing class.
Ole Miss hopes to land another defensive lineman from Gwinnett County – Grayson senior defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, the nation’s top recruit, who’ll sign in February.
“Ole Miss is on the rise,” Hooks said. “They’ve got great coaches and players that want to win.”