This weekend, the Magnolia State and the Yellowhammer State will fight for the right to brag for another year about an all-star game that is played every December. The teams are comprised of various prep players from each state and this year, and despite only two Ole Miss commits taking part on the Mississippi squad, there are several commits competing for team Alabama.
Hattiesburg will play host once again for the 31st annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game at M.M. Roberts Stadium on December 16th at noon CT and can be seen on Raycom Network (NOSTALGIA) on these local channels.
The all-time record is in favor of Alabama (22-8 overall) but some familiar names played a big part in snapping their most recent win streak. In 2015, Mississippi tasted victory after riding the broad shoulders of our sons, A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf, who ran all over the Alabama secondary to a 28-21 victory, breaking the seven-year drought for Mississippi. Aside from that, the game has been supremely dominated by our neighbors from the East.
Madison Central’s Cam White and Wayne County’s Quentin Bivens will compete for the ‘ssip, and Lee’s JaKorey Hawkins, Hillcrest’s Jacquez Jones, and Eufaula’s K.D. Hill will suit up for Roll Eagle. Before the game kicks off, let's take a look at each of those prospects.
(You can check out the full roster for both teams right here.)
3-star ATH Cam White
The Madison Central athlete committed to the Rebs last week and will be playing defense for head coach Lance Mancuso of Jefferson Davis Co. (wow really, Mississippi?). The 6’1, 190-pounder will be more than likely be playing corner but could also flex his versatility on offense at running back or slot receiver if the ‘ssip needs a jolt.
3-star DL Quentin Bivens
The interior lineman from Waynesboro committed way back in April and was Ole Miss’ first commit for 2018. Since then, he has been steady and has stayed loyal despite all the NCAA hoopla.
Ole Miss DL commit Quentin Bivens (92) pic.twitter.com/6jrsPd5U4Z— Barton Simmons (@bartonsimmons) December 12, 2017
At 6’4 and 285-pounds, he will be working in the trenches to slow down former Ole Miss target and Auburn commit Asa Martin.
3-star DB JaKorey Hawkins
The first Alabama commit we will look at is the 6’0, 190-pound defensive back from Lee High School. The No. 66 cornerback in the country has been a pledge since October and seems intent on staying that way. He will also be presumably wearing a recruiting hat, notably going after his teammate, four-star Tank Jenkins from Park Crossing High School.
3-star LB Jacquez Jones
Staying on the defensive side of the ball, we move on to the linebacker croot from Tuscaloosa. The 6’1, 215-pounder committed at the beginning of the college football season and has stayed true despite flirtations from LSU, Mississippi State, and Tennessee. He should be chasing TCU commit Fabian Franklin and Mississippi State commit Marcus Murphy all afternoon.
3-star DL K.D. Hill
The defensive tackle is another early commit for the 2018 class who has been a vocal leader this fall on Twitter. The 6’2, 285-pounder will also have his hands full in the trenches chasing around Franklin and Murphy. He will be lining up next to recent defector Allen Love on the defensive line.
4-star WR Malik Heath
The Rebels and wide receivers coach Jacob Peeler haven’t talked much with Heath lately but the 6’4 210-pound pass-catcher from Callaway High School seems to be rethinking his destination, according to his 247Sports Crystal Ball. The Under Armour All-American committed to Dan Mullen’s staff in the Spring, but he could be seeing if Ole Miss has room for him.
This is Mississippi State WR commit Malik Heath, who is having a great first day of practice at Alabama-Mississippi. pic.twitter.com/qfwEPdvs4M— Rob Cassidy (@Cassidy_Rob) December 12, 2017
And they certainly will need to sign a few receivers in 2018 with A.J. Brown, DaMarkus Lodge, and possibly D.K. Metcalf moving on after next season. The No. 1 player in Mississippi could be getting a call soon. And it might be from A.J. Brown.
4-star OL Tank Jenkins
The aforementioned Jenkins will most likely be playing tackle for Alabama on Saturday and is still being pursued by Luke and offensive line coach Jack Bicknell, but he is an offensive guard at the next level. The No. 14 guard in the country is being courted by Hawkins and could possibly be visiting Oxford officially soon.
Tank Jenkins out here making a statement at AL-MS practice. Multiple pancakes in inside run drill.— Barton Simmons (@bartonsimmons) December 12, 2017
The 6’3, 331-pounder holds notable offers from Auburn, Arkansas, Louisville, and Oklahoma and favors the Cardinals according to 247Sports.
4-star ATH Marcus Murphy
The 6’0, 185-pound athlete from West Point is still committed to State and it might stay that way. Ole Miss is looking at some other running back targets and Murphy is from big-time CLANGA territory. But, he is someone to watch if he might back off his verbal pledge from MSU because he can flat out tote the rock. He will be one to watch on Saturday as he goes head-to-head against the Rebel commits on the defensive side.
3-star DB Jaylon Reed
Recent State defector and Olive Branch native is now back on the market and Ole Miss was quick to get in his ear once he told Joe Moorhead thanks but no thanks. His offer sheet goes from 0-to-100, real quick. From Arkansas State to Georgia, Alcorn State to Oregon, Marshall to South Carolina, South Alabama to Tennessee. The 6’1, 180-pounder could break an 11-year drought of signing someone from Olive Branch High School, but that remains to be seen if the Rebels still want him.
3-star DL Fabien Lovett
Speaking of OB, Reed’s teammate is another target for Ole Miss in DeSoto County. His verbal pledge to State is still holding strong but the Rebels are staying vigilant in their pursuit. The 6’3, 285-pounder is a top target for Maurice Harris and Freddie Roach since the big uglies up front will lose some key depth to graduation.
MS State commit Fabian Lovett showing some push-pull strength pic.twitter.com/AkE3cioSeD— Barton Simmons (@bartonsimmons) December 12, 2017
He currently holds offers from Alabama, Memphis, Purdue, Southern Miss, and UCF. Lovett will officially visit Ole Miss January 19th.
3-star LB Jett Johnson
As soon as Dan Mullen left Starkville in the rear-view mirror, Matt Luke and staff were out headhunting State commits. Johnson was one of the first they visited. The 6’3, 230-pounder committed to the Bulldogs back in May, but could potentially be rethinking what he wants to do now that Mullen and Todd Grantham are no longer in Oktibbeha County.
3-star ATH Kenny Gainwell
Being a tad selfish here, I am personally including Gainwell here because he is one of the more underappreciated players in the Magnolia State. The 5’10, 185-pounder from Yazoo County committed to the Tigers back in the summer, but I think he could be convinced to stay home. He did it all for the Panthers this season, throwing for 1,114 yards and 10 touchdowns and running for 1,791 yards and 32 touchdowns. If Ole Miss needs to fill a spot with an athlete who can make plays, my vote goes for Kenny. He officially visits Ole Miss January 26th.
3-star LB Kevontae Ruggs
The jumbo athlete is a teammate of Ole Miss commit JaKorey Hawkins and will be playing alongside another Rebel commit, Jacquez Jones, at the second level. One has to think that Hawkins will be trying to get his buddy to visit Oxford with him in January but that remains to be seen. He holds offers from Alabama, FAU, Louisville, Maryland, Southern Miss, UCF, Wake Forest, West Virginia, and WKU. The Tide are the favorite, but they may not have room.