JUCO signing day recap, analysis

Will Sammon
The Clarion-Ledger
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Former Co-Lin defensive end Montez Sweat (3) has shined this spring for Mississippi State.


Click here for a recruiting analysis on Mississippi State

Click here for a recruiting analysis on Ole Miss

Click here to read about Grenada safety C.J. Avery's commitment


6:50 p.m.: MSU made another addition as EMCC defensive end Chauncey Rivers decided to join the Bulldogs and improve what has the makings of a very strong 3-4 defense next season. Rivers is a four-star and his commitment was the 22nd for MSU.

2:11 p.m.: The good day for Mississippi State continues in a big way as the Bulldogs landed the No. 1 rated JUCO safety in the country.

Johnathan Abram of Jones County, a four-star defensive back, tweeted that he decided to stay in Mississippi over offers from South Carolina, Ole Miss and Alabama, among others. Abram is an East Marion alum.

Mississippi State now has 21 commits for 2017, including six announced signees.

1:50 p.m.: Co-Lin safety Jaquarius Landrews said he was not 100 percent sure what he was going to do until Tuesday night and chose Mississippi State because of his familiarity with the program, opportunity to play with former Co-Lin teammates and ability to make an immediate impact.

“It was real stressful and I had a lot of people calling me,” Landrews said. “Minnesota was nice when I went on my visit there, but Mississippi State was always family and you just can’t beat that. Why not put on for your state? They see me playing a nickel back because that is what I played at junior college. They didn’t recruit me to mess around; they recruited me to play and make an impact early. I have two years left and I want to put those two years toward work. I am going to be a big impact on that team in helping to get an SEC championship.”

1:45 p.m.: Good news for Ole Miss, as both Javien Hamilton and Markell Winters from Jones County Junior College have signed with the Rebels. Winters is the bigger name of the two; a defensive end, he had not publicly announced his decision until today and was also considering Mississippi State. Winters, who had 16 sacks, was a longtime commit for the Rebels, but then decommitted before announcing his final decision. Hamilton, a corner, has been committed since August.

12:06: Three-star tight end Ravian Pierce, a Mississippi State target, tweeted that he will announce his decision and sign Thursday.

11:46: Co-Lin safety Jaquarius Landrews will sign with Mississippi State, according to sources. Landrews was originally committed to MSU in July, but then flipped to Minnesota in September. Still, MSU's staff stayed on Landrews as a target and the Bulldogs felt good about their chances after Landrews took an official visit on December 3, sources said. Landrews is MSU's 20th commit for 2017. He joins Pope, Sweat, Champion, Autry and Phillips as guys who have signed with the Bulldogs.

10:50: Ole Miss officially announced Northeast linebacker Brenden Williams' signing.

10:45: Jones County will have its players announce their decisions during a ceremony that is expected to start at 1 p.m. Markel Winters is a target to watch, particularly for Ole Miss.

10:00: In high school recruiting news, Grenada linebacker JJ Russell announced his commitment to Memphis. Russell was once committed to Mississippi State. The three-star 2017 prospect impressed during last week's Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game with seven tackles.

9:30: As reported earlier, it still seems likely Co-Lin safety and former MSU commit Jaquarius Landrews flips back to MSU from Minnesota, according to sources. Landrews will announce his decision live this afternoon at the High School Football Network's event in Jackson.

9:10: EMCC quarterback De'Andre Johnson committed to Florida Atlantic University, becoming the first player to choose the Owls under Lane Kiffin. Madison Central quarterback Jack Walker is also committed to FAU, which now currently has three quarterback commits. Both Johnson and Walker are pro-style quarterbacks.

8:45: Northwest defensive back Kaleb Chalmers committed to South Carolina over Ole Miss, a source confirmed. 247Sports first reported Chalmers' decision. Chalmers is signed to South Carolina, a source said, and is expected to have a ceremony at 3 p.m. at his former high school in South Carolina.

8:40: Co-Lin defensive lineman Montez Sweat and offensive lineman Tommy Champion have signed with Mississippi State. Both were longtime verbal commits.


Mississippi State has six junior college players committed to its program heading into Wednesday, the first day JUCO players can sign with four-year schools, and there was a growing belief Tuesday night the number will grow.

The Bulldogs, who have 19 players committed, added EMCC safety Brian Cole as a hard-hitting and physical defensive back on Tuesday. Cole, a three-star prospect, joined Lions teammate Tyre Phillips, a 6-foot-6, 330-pound offensive lineman, Co-Lin defensive lineman Deion Pope, defensive end Montez Sweat, offensive lineman Tommy Champion and Itawamba defensive lineman Lee Autry as JUCO players committed to MSU.

Who else may join the group?

  • There is a decent chance that former MSU commits Southwest Mississippi tight end Ravian Pierce and Co-Lin safety Jaquarius Landrews end up back with the Bulldogs, according to sources. One source particularly liked MSU’s chances for Pierce after he took a visit there on Dec. 2. Pierce also visited LSU last weekend. Landrews is currently committed to Minnesota.
  • EMCC defensive end Chauncey Rivers is another name to watch for MSU, sources said. Rivers also has an offer from Louisville.

More to keep an eye on …

  • Jones County four-star safety Johnathan Abram has offers from MSU, Ole Miss, Alabama and South Carolina and is expected to announce a decision at 1 p.m.
  • Markel Winters is another significant name from Jones County. The high-end three-star defensive end visited Ole Miss, where he was formerly committed to, over the weekend and seemed poised to officially join the Rebels, but it is unclear how likely that is at this point. Winters, a strong pass-rusher, is particularly important from Ole Miss' perspective; the Rebels have only 12 commits and would need to add to its defensive line. 
  • Outside of its targets, Ole Miss has three committed players expected to sign. Those are New Mexico Military Institute quarterback Jordan Ta'amu, Northeast linebacker Brenden Williams and Jones County defensive back Javien Hamilton. Williams and Ta’amu committed on Saturday night, and Hamilton committed over the summer.


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