HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WJTV) – Southern Miss signed 19 players Wednesday, including Northwest Rankin running back Dee Baker and Canton athlete Antavious Willis.
RB | 6-0 | 170
Flowood, Miss./Northwest Rankin HS
Prep: Rushed for 586 yards and added eight touchdowns for Northwest Rankin HS during senior year…Added 22 catches for 374 yards and five scoring catches along with an 89-yard kick return for a score against Germantown HS…Named second-team 6A All-State by the Mississippi Association of Coaches…Played in the 70th annual Bernard Blackwell game for the North squad…A three-star product by both 24/7 and Rivals…Lost to Madison Central in the second round of the 6A state playoffs finishing the year 11-2.
TE | 6-5 | 217
Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast HS
Prep: A three-star tight end who played his high school football at Gulf Coast High School for Head Coach Tom Scalise…Played both the tight end and wide receiver positions…Totaled 673 receiving yards, 47 catches, 13 touchdowns and an average of 14.3 receiving yards over the span of his three year high school career…Additionally, he averaged 39.6 receiving yards per game and 11 of his 13 touchdowns were receiving touchdowns…Longest reception of Baker’s career came during his junior season when he logged a 59-yard reception…Saved his best season for last as he tallied 489 yards on 36 receptions in nine games played as a senior at Gulf Coast High School in 2018…Also averaged 54.3 yards per game during his senior season … A very athletic tight end who boasts impressive combine times including: a 4.83 40-yard dash time, a 4.28 20-yard shuttle time, a vertical jump of 36.0 and a SPARQ rating of 96.24…A three-sport athlete at Gulf Coast High School, participating in football, baseball and basketball.
LB | 6-3 | 200
Flora, Miss./Copiah-Lincoln CC
Junior College: Spent the two previous seasons at Copiah-Lincoln Community College…Played a total of 19 games for the Wolves and registered 133 tackles…Had 86 tackles that were solo tackles and 47 were assisted tackles…Averaged 7.0 tackles per game, recorded one sack, 8.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and five broken up passes…His 91 total tackles during his sophomore campaign marked a team best for the 2018 season…Capped off his JUCO career by earning NJCAA All-Region XXIII and All-MACJC First Team honors…Prep: Starred at Tri-County Academy… Led Tri-County Academy to two MAIS AA football state championship appearances (2016 and 2015)…Was a two-way player for the Rebels, playing both defense and running back…One of five players to be named to the MAIS Football Fab 5 Underclassmen list in 2015 along with his former Co-Lin teammate Hayden Davis and current Ole Miss running back Isaiah Woullard…Earned BankPlus Blitz 16 Player of the Week honors as a junior in 2015 for his outstanding running back play…Was also a multi-sport athlete at Tri-County Academy who competed in basketball and track and field in addition to football.
TE | 6-3 | 240
Griffin, Ga./Highland CC
Junior College: Comes to Southern Miss by way of Highland Community College (Highland, Kan.)…Notched 118 total yards, two touchdowns, one receiving and one rushing and 10 receptions during his sophomore season at Highland Community College…His longest reception of the 2018 season went for 41 yards…Named a KJCCC All-Conference second team selection after the conclusion of the 2018 season…A former dual-threat quarterback in high school, Driver has been clocked running an impressive time of 4.56 in the 40-yard dash…Prep: Played his high school football at Spalding High School (Griffin, Ga.).
OL | 6-6 | 305
Peoria, Ariz./Glendale CC
Junior College: Finds his way to Southern Miss after spending the previous season at Glendale Community College (Glendale, Ariz.)…Began his collegiate career at Purdue University in 2016 … Redshirted at Purdue in 2017 and transferred to Glendale Community College after the season…Prep: Attended Centennial High School (Peoria, Ariz.) where he was a four-year letter winner…Named first team all-state and all-district his senior year…Earned second team all-state and all-district honors as a junior…Helped guide Centennial High School to two state championships during his junior and senior seasons (2014 & 2015).
QB | 6-2 | 208
Memphis, Tenn./Kirby HS
Prep: A four-star prospect according to ESPN and a three-star prospect according to 247Sports and Rivals … Rated the No. 20 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 18 prospect in the state of Tennessee … Led a Kirby offense that averaged 43.1 points per game at the 5A level and made its first quarterfinal appearance since 1998.
OL | 6-7 | 295
Orlando, Fla./Iowa Western CC
Junior College: Most recently attended Iowa Western Community College (Council Bluffs, Iowa)…Played in seven games for the Iowa Western Community College Reivers in 2018…Started his collegiate career at the University of Miami and was a part of Head Coach Mark Richt’s first signing class in 2016…Redshirted as a freshman at Miami in 2016 and did not play in any games for the Canes during the 2017 season…Prep: Attended high school at First Academy (Orlando, Fla.) and was rated as a three-star prospect.
DL | 6-2 | 250
Batesville, Miss./East Mississippi CC
Junior College: Two-year defensive starter who helped lead head coach Buddy Stephens’ East Mississippi Community College Lions to back-to-back national and state championships with a 23-1 composite record…Totaled 105 career tackles, including 33 stops behind the line of scrimmage for 137 total yards lost (14.5 QB sacks for 87 yds)…Ranked third among EMCC’s leading tacklers with 72 stops this past year…Tied with teammate Everitt Cunningham for eighth place among NJCAA leaders with 20.5 tackles for loss (-87 yds) as a sophomore…Also credited with 8.5 sacks (-61 yds), three pass breakups, an interception (vs. Copiah-Lincoln in state playoffs) and a fumble recovery (vs. Northeast Mississippi) in 2018… Career-best, single-game tackle totals came during EMCC’s championship victories over Jones College (State/MACJC) and Garden City (NJCAA)…Capped EMCC career with 13 tackles (2.5 TFLs) vs. Garden City (10-9 win) in national championship game…Had 11 stops (4.5 TFLs for 18 yds/2.5 QB sacks for 11 yds) vs. Jones (19-14 win) in state title game…Made 10 tackles (2 sacks for 19 yds) vs. Holmes…Led the 2017 Lions with 12.5 tackles for loss (50 yds) and six sacks (26 yds) as a freshman…Recorded 33 total tackles in 2017… Had season-high five tackles vs. both Mississippi Gulf Coast and Northwest Mississippi (state championship)…Made four stops during back-to-back weeks against Northeast Mississippi and Itawamba…Freshman-year sacks came against Jones (1 each meeting), Northeast (8 yds), ICC (9 yds) Holmes and Hinds… Had three TFLs (15 yds) vs. Itawamba…Prep: A 2016 MAC Class 6A All-State First Team, Bernard Blackwell North All-Star and All-USA Mississippi First Team selection as a senior at South Panola High School.
DB | 6-3 | 175
Houston, Texas/Texas Prep Academy
Prep: Attends Texas Prep Sports Academy in Houston, Texas…Has posted impressive combine times that include: a 4.5 40-yard dash time, a 4.08 shuttle time, a 10.8 100 meter dash time, a 51.2 400 meter dash time and a vertical jump of 35.0…Before attending Texas Prep Sports Academy, Leonard played his high school football at Lamar Consolidated High School (Rosenberg, Texas).
ATH | 5-11 | 175
Collins, Miss./Collins HS
Prep: Attends Collins High School where he rushed for 164 yards and three touchdowns, while catching 37 passes for 867 yards and three touchdowns as his squad went 11-2, losing in the third round of the state playoffs as a senior…Added 34 tackles (16 solo) with four interceptions…Earned First team All-State honors by the MAC…Played for the South squad at the 70th annual Bernard Blackwell All-Star game…Caught 42 passes for 1,059 yards and six touchdowns and three of his eight punt returns went for touchdowns as he also threw a touchdown pass in helping lead Collins to the 2A state title game as a junior…On defense, the cornerback made 37 tackles (32 solo) while picking off a pair of passes and recovering fumble…A three-star performer for 24/7.
ATH | 6-1 | 215
Gulfport, Miss./Gulfport HS
Prep: A second-team 6A All-State selection by the MAC for Gulfport High School on the strength of 1,923 passing yards on 130-of-192 passes this fall with 19 touchdowns and only three interceptions…Added 921 rushing yards with 14 scoring runs…Played quarterback for the South squad at the 70th annual Bernard Blackwell All-Star game…Named to All-South Mississippi football team by the Sun Herald…Ran 135 times for 916 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2017 while also throwing for 633 yards and four touchdowns…Also plays baseball for the Admirals…A three-star athlete by both 24/7 and Rivals.
QB | 6-0 | 179
Mansfield, Texas/Lake Ridge HS
Prep: Rogers passed for 2,233 yards, rushed for 1,176 yards and scored 34 total touchdowns en route to leading Mansfield Lake Ridge to an appearance in the third round of the state playoffs…Ranked as the No. 45 dual-threat quarterback in the country and No. 265 overall prospect in the state, per 247Sports Composite…A three-star prospect by 24/7 and a two-star by Rivals…Finished 9-3 making the Regional Final in the 6A Division 2 state playoff…Threw game-winning pass with six seconds remaining to beat DeSoto 34-29.
OL | 6-8 | 280
Purvis, Miss./Purvis HS
Prep: Played at Purvis High School, where he was a Class 4A first-team All-State selection by the Mississippi Association of Coaches…Played in the 70th annual Bernard Blackwell All-Star game for the South squad…Listed as the tallest addition in the 2019 class…Earned Region 7-4A honors during his junior campaign…A three-star offensive lineman by 24/7… Son of former Golden Eagle Chris Ryals, who lettered from 1988-91…Also plays competitive golf.
OL | 6-4 | 300
Mobile, Ala./Davidson HS
Prep: Played both offensive, including tight end, and defensive line for Davidson High School…Helped team reached the first round of the AHSAA Class 7A Playoffs…A three-star prospect by 24/7.
WR | 6-2 | 175
Clearwater, Fla./Superior Collegiate Academy
Prep: Played at Superior Collegiate Academy…Caught 19 passes for 307 yards, averaging 16.2 yards per catch and 51.2 yards per contest…Earned honorable mention Tampa Bay Times all-Pinellas team honors…Caught 32 passes for 725 yards and 13 touchdowns for a 22.7 per catch and 80.6 per game averages as a junior…A three-star recruit by both 24/7 and Rivals.
OL | 6-3 | 294
D’Iberville, Miss./D’Iberville HS
Prep: A Class 6A first-team All-State selection by the Mississippi Association of Coaches…Played for the south squad in the 70th annual Bernard Blackwell All-Star game…Named to All-South Mississippi football team by the Sun Herald for the third time…Had 84 pancake blocks over 40 games in his high school career…A four-year starter on the offensive line…Made the Class 4-6A all-region team as a junior as well as an All-USA Mississippi second-team selection.
OL | 6-5 | 320
Lebanon, Pa./Dodge City CC
Junior College: A three-star junior college prospect from Dodge City Community College and No. 23 ranked offensive tackle by 24/7…Voted No. 38 overall junior college player in the state of Kansas…Prep: Attended Lebanon County High School in Pennsylvania and played in the Big 33 Football Classic following his senior campaign…Named an Preps.com PA Class of 2017 Top 50 honorable mention pick…Also played basketball and track and field.
ATH | 5-10 | 175
Camden, Miss./Velma Jackson HS
Prep: Played at Velma Jackson High School (Camden, Miss.) for coach Bernard Euell…Considered Velma Jackson’s Mr. Do-It-All, Willis primarily played quarterback at Velma Jackson High School but also saw action as a wide receiver, defensive back and placekicker…Played a total of 43 games for Velma Jackson High School and amassed 3,337 passing yards and 27 passing touchdowns during his high school career…Logged 422 pass attempts and 220 pass completions and averaged 77.6 passing yards per game over the course of his career…Through 10 games as a senior, Willis recorded 701 passing yards and six passing touchdowns, completing 39 of his 69 pass attempts…Additionally, he rushed for 1,705 yards on 161 carries for an average of 10.6 yards per carry and an average of 170.5 yards per game…Totaled 31 rushing touchdowns and nine 100+ yard rushing games…Longest run of the season was 85 yards…Added 539 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns on 25 receptions for an average of 21.6 yards per catch and an average of 53.9 receiving yards per game…Longest reception of season was 67 yards…Boasts a 40-yard dash time of 4.42…Competed in the 2018 Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Football Game…Named SportsDeck Fox 40 Player of the Week in September of 2018…Also participates in basketball and track and field.
OL | 6-4 | 275
Brookhaven, Miss. / Brookhaven HS
Prep: Attended Brookhaven High School where he lettered three years for the Panthers…Named first-team Class 5A by the Mississippi Association of Coaches…Played mostly defense in his junior and senior seasons, but also played offense as a sophomore and junior…Recorded 41 pancake blocks as a junior on offense…Tallied 21 solo tackles on defense and 14 assisted for a total of 35 tackles his junior and senior seasons, 29 of them coming in his senior year…Had 4.5 sacks as a senior…Also recorded one fumble recovery and one touchdown…Was named 5A All-State Region 3-5A First-Team in 2017 … Played in the 2018 Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Game … A three-star prospect by both 24/7 and Rivals.