Rivals.com released the initial Rivals Junior College Top 40 rankings on Wednesday, setting the stage for the best JUCO prospects that the cycle has to offer.
To no surprise, the state of Mississippi is well-represented in the rankings. From the No. 1 overall recruit on down, talent from the Magnolia State can be found all over. Mississippi traditionally produces strong junior college talent and that’s again the case this year.
Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Cole Patterson highlights some of the notables to land inside the initial rankings.
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Goodman (Miss.) Holmes CC wide receiver Deion Smith takes the top spot in the rankings for Rivals. The one-time Mississippi State commitment and former LSU signee has put together an impressive fall, leading to several programs offering the playmaking wideout.
Smith, who was in the same Tigers class as Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas, has turned 40 receptions into 909 yards and nine touchdowns this year. He is averaging over 20 yards per catch and nearly 130 yards receiving each time that he suits up.
Ole Miss is the program to watch for Smith, as the Rebels were a serious factor for him in high school and continue to recruit him aggressively. Auburn is another to keep an eye on with Hugh Freeze looking to upgrade the offensive firepower.
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An Ole Miss commit since the early spring, Collins is an impressive player on the second level of the defense. He has put together consecutive seasons of more than 40 tackles, including leading the team in that category this season. He’s added a half-dozen sacks and figures to be a plug-and-play prospect at linebacker on the next level.
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Beavers announced his pledge to Lane Kiffin and the Rebels back in August, choosing Ole Miss over Louisville in his recruitment. The 5-foot-10 and 175-pound corner is a little on the smaller side in the secondary but he has showcased strong ball skills. Beavers has three interceptions this fall.
Mississippi has especially been strong at producing defensive line talent on the high school and junior college levels, and that is where Hamlin fits in. The massive defender out of Southwest Mississippi has recorded nearly 30 tackles and a sack. Multiple SEC programs are in pursuit.
Another defensive back prospect and a teammate of Smith, Robinson makes his debut inside the top-15 of the initial rankings. The 6-foot-2 and 185-pound safety features good size on the back end of the defense. He’s a hard-hitting safety that looks like a heat-seeking missile. Arkansas, Auburn, Mississippi State and more are in the mix.