Expect some intense recruiting battles in Mississippi, which is loaded with top-fight prospects

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The state of Mississippi has a bumper crop of prospects in the 2019 recruiting cycle, which should make for some wild times on the recruiting trail.

Over the past six cycles, the state produced 42 total players who were rated as four- or five-star prospects; that’s an average of seven per year. At this point in the 2019 cycle, there are 13 four- and five-star prospects; that’s on the heels of a 2018 class that had just four.

“It’s the best crop of football prospects we’ve had in Mississippi in a decade. There are several guys in this class with NFL potential,” said Steve Robertson, a recruiting analyst for 247 Sports who covers Mississippi State.

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“Mississippi has had very talented classes before, but I cannot recall one as deep as the 2019 group,” said David Johnson, a recruiting analyst for 247 Sports who covers Ole Miss.

Four of the 13 already have committed: two to Mississippi State, one to Ole Miss and one to Alabama. Keeping that talent at “home” could be difficult for Bulldogs coach Joe Moorhead and Rebels coach Matt Luke.

“Ole Miss and State will have to beat out an out-of-state invasion from other SEC programs,” Robertson said.

Johnson said this class potentially could have 30-35 SEC-caliber players. “This state will be the hunting grounds for all of the blue bloods of college football this year,” he said.

The state’s top-ranked player is inside linebacker Nakobe Dean, a five-star recruit from Horn Lake High, about 25 miles south of Memphis. Dean is both a high-level player and a solid student.

“Recently, a Power Five head coach came by the school and Nakobe told the coach he would have to finish the visit after his next class,” Horn Lake coach Brad Boyette said. “That’s the type of kid he is.”

The four who already have made pledges: Running back Jerrion Ealy from Flowood Jackson Prep has committed to Ole Miss, athlete Diwun Black from Forest High and defensive end Charles Moore from Louisville High have pledged to Mississippi State and athlete Brandon Turnage of Oxford Lafayette County has committed to Alabama.

Dean and defensive end Nathan Pickering of Seminary High are Mississippians who currently are among the nation’s top 50 prospects overall. Ealy, Black, Moore and Turnage are among the top 100 overall.

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Ole Miss leads in the number of commitments from the state’s top 25 with four; other than Ealy, defensive end Jamond Gordon from Meridian High, wide receiver Jordan Jernigan from Tupelo High and cornerback Jalen Jordan from Lake Cormorant High have pledged to the Rebels. Baylor and Miami are other schools with commitments from top 30 players in the state.

(You can follow Brad Logan on Twitter @BradLoganCOTE)

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