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Southern Miss loads up on JUCO transfers

The new faces on Southern Miss’ 2020 roster will be a lot of old hands.

Southern Miss signed 13 players on Wednesday, the first day of college football’s early signing period. Eleven of them are junior college transfers.

The only two high school recruits in the 2020 class are linebacker Mike Pleas, Jr., and wide receiver Brandon Hayes. Pleas is from Tallahassee, Florida, and Hayes is from Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg.

Southern Miss signed five offensive and eight defensive players during the early signing period.

Southern Miss’ junior college transfers are from six different schools. They include Hinds Community College running back Don Ragsdale, and East Mississippi’s Jason Brownlee and Terence Cherry.

Brownlee, a receiver, and the defensive lineman Cherry were NJCAA All-Americans this season. Brownlee led the country with 75 receptions and ranked second nationally with 1,055 receiving yards in 10 games played. Cherry had 12 tackles for loss, including eight sacks.

Ragsdale ranked fifth in the NJCAA in rushing yardage (971), and third in attempts (203) this season. He also scored eight touchdowns.

Don Ragsdale

In two seasons at Hinds, the Pisgah native rushed for 1,796 yards and 21 touchdowns, and averaged 5.0 yards per carry.

Brownlee and Cherry were joined in the 2020 signing class by East Mississippi teammate Austin Todd, a 6-foot-5, 310-pound defensive lineman. Todd had 23 total tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss this season.

Coming from Copiah-Lincoln Community College were defensive back Natrone Brooks and wide receiver Antoine Robinson.

East Central CC contributed 6-foot-5, 348-pound offensive lineman Tykeem Doss, while cornerback Fred Smith is coming from Jones College.

Three out of state juco transfers rounded out the class — defensive back Eric Scott, Jr. from Butler CC in Kansas; and linebacker Averie Habas and defensive lineman Dominic Quewon, both from Iowa Western CC.

Habas, Todd and Scott each have three years of eligibility remaining. The rest of the junior college transfers will have two years left to play.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured sports reporters in the paper's 137-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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