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2008 Southern Miss Golden Eagles Season
Southern Miss RB Damion Fletcher
Southern Miss RB Damion Fletcher
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 17, 2009


2008 Southern Miss Golden Eagles Season, Game Recaps, Scores and Reviews

2008 Southern Miss Golden Eagles

Dec. 21
2008 New Orleans Bowl
Southern Miss 30 ... Troy 27 OT

Southern Miss, got a blocked field goal from Michael McGee in overtime to overcome an awful start, and the loss of its star WR DeAndre Brown to a broken leg, for the win. The offense rallied with the final 13 points of the game including a 39-yard Britt Barefoot field goal in overtime that doinked off the upright and through. To get into the extra time, USM got a 35-yard touchdown catch from Jonathan Massey with :20 top play and a 46-yard field goal from Barefoot to tie it with just under three minutes to play. Troy had one final shot in regulation, but a potential Hail Mary attempt was stopped by a sack. Troy started out well with
Jorrick Calvin batting down a bad USM option pitch and taking it 17 yards for a score on the first drive of the game, and got up 10 in the second half on a six-yard run on a direct snap to Jernel Jernigan before USM took over.
Player of the game: Southern Miss PK Britt Barefoot hit all three of his field goal attempts from 38, 46 to tie the score in the fourth, and the game-winner from 39. He hadn't hit a field goal longer than 29 yards all year.
Stat Leaders: Southern Miss - Passing: Austin Davis, 30-24, 276 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Damion Fletcher, 14-78, 1 TD. Receiving: Gerald Baptiste, 5-88, 1 TD
Troy - Passing: Levi Brown, 26-43, 255 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: DuJuan Harris, 19-52. Receiving: Jernel Jernigan, 9-65
Inside The Boxscore ...
Boris Lee made 13 tackles and two sacks for Troy, while Southern Miss star LB made 11 stops with a sack. ... Third down conversions: Troy 10-of-18 - USM 6-of-15 ... Net yards per punt: Troy 40.3 on three punts - USM 16 on four punts. ... Each team had four sacks ... First quarter time of possession: USM 10:16 - Troy 4:44, but Troy led 14-7 going into the second.

2008 USM Preview
- 2007 USM Season

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
8-4
2008 Record: 7-6

Aug. 30 UL Lafayette W 51-21
Sept. 6 at Auburn L 27-13
Sept. 13 at Arkansas St W 27-24
Sept. 20 Marshall L 34-27
Sept. 27 OPEN DATE
Oct. 4 UTEP L 40-37 2OT
Oct. 11 Boise State L 24-7
Oct. 18 at Rice L 45-40
Oct. 25 at Memphis L 36-30
Nov. 1 UAB W 70-14
Nov. 8 at UCF W 17-6
Nov. 15 East Carolina W 21-3
Nov. 22 OPEN DATE
Nov. 29 at SMU W 28-12
New Orleans Bowl
Dec. 21 Troy 30-27 OT

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
9-3
2007 Record: 7-6

Sept. 1 UT Martin W 35-13
Sept. 8 at Tennessee L 39-19
Sept. 15 at E Carolina W 28-21
Sept. 22 at Boise State L 38-16
Oct. 3
Rice L 31-29
Oct. 13 SMU W 28-7
Oct. 21 at Marshall W 33-24
Oct. 28 UCF L 34-17
Nov. 3 at UAB W 37-7
Nov. 10 Memphis L 29-25
Nov. 17 at UTEP W 56-30
Nov. 24 Arkansas St W 16-10
PapaJohns.com Bowl
Dec. 22 Cincinnati L 31-21

Nov. 29
Southern Miss 28 … SMU 12
Southern Miss became bowl eligible by overcoming a sluggish first half to get a 44-yard Gerald Baptiste touchdown catch in the third and a three-yard Damion Fletcher run as part of a 21-point outburst to put the game away. SMU managed two Thomas Morstead field goals in the second quarter, but it didn’t get into the end zone until late in the fourth on a four-yard Justin Willis catch. The two teams combined for 20 penalties with SMU committing 11.
Player of the game: Southern Miss QB Austin Davis completed 15-of-26 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns with an interception, and he ran 11 times for 50 yards.
Stat Leaders: SMU - Passing: Bo Levi Mitchell, 26-49, 253 yd, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Chris Butler, 8-17. Receiving: Justin Willis, 11-88, 1 TD
Southern Miss - Passing: Austin Davis, 15-26, 212 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Damion Fletcher, 19-59, 1 TD. Receiving: Gerald Baptiste, 4-65, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... As disappointing as Southern Miss was over the first half of the season, that’s how good it was over the final four games as the team rolled through the late schedule to bowl eligibility. The defense picked things up big-time after an injury plagued first half of the year, and Austin Davis became more and more a major factor at quarterback. Beating SMU isn’t any big deal, and yeah, UAB and UCF were part of the four-game streak, but USM also shut down East Carolina, and now, if nothing else, the Larry Fedora era has taken a positive turn up going into next year.

Nov. 15
Southern Miss 21 … East Carolina 3
Justin Wilson picked off two passes including one to snuff out a late drive, and DeAndre Brown scored on a 97-yard pass play as USM kept East Carolina from clinching the East. The Pirates scored first on a second quarter 32-yard Ben Hartman field goal, but that was it as the offense came up with just 255 yards of total offense including 66 on the ground. USM came up with a decent pass rush throughout and got a big day on the ground from Damion Fletcher, who ran for a four-yard score.
Player of the game: Southern Miss RB Damion Fletcher ran 23 times for 121 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: East Carolina - Passing: Patrick Pinkney, 20-34, 189 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Norman Whitley, 14-71. Receiving: Dwayne Harris, 6-28
Southern Miss - Passing: Austin Davis, 18-30, 239 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Damion Fletcher, 23-121, 1 TD. Receiving: DeAndre Brown, 8-124, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... USM is starting to kick it in at just the right time. With Damion Fletcher back from a hamstring injury and running almost as well as he did before getting hurt, and with decent pop from the passing game with DeAndre Brown having a special year, a bowl bid is likely if the Golden Eagles don’t cool off with two weeks to prepare for SMU. The extra time should help Fletcher get even healthier. The defense came up with three fantastic efforts in a row; head coach Larry Fedora and his staff have had a great November.

Nov. 8
Southern Miss 17 … UCF 6
Austin Davis ran for an eight-yard touchdown and threw a five-yard scoring pass to DeAndre Brown as part of a 17-point run to put UCF away. The Knights came up with a 91-yard scoring drive early in the game finishing with a three-yard Kyhmest Williams touchdown catch, but the offense stalled form then on. UCF converted just 1-of-11 third down chances and turned it over two times.
Player of the game: Southern Miss QB Austin Davis completed 21-of-34 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown, and he ran 25 times for 73 yards and a score.
Stat Leaders: UCF - Passing: Rob Calabrese, 12-30, 141 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Brynn Harvey, 7-34. Receiving: Kamar Aiken, 5-63
Southern Miss - Passing: Austin Davis, 21-34, 188 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Austin Davis, 25-73, 1 TD. Receiving: Shawn Nelson, 7-57
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Austin Davis came up with a big performance to get the offense moving against UCF without Damion Fletcher, and while he got the job done with his legs as well as his arm, the win was on the defense, too. UCF might be punchless, but the Golden Eagle defense never allowed a thing after the first quarter getting off the field time and again without a problem. A bowl game is still in play, needing to beat East Carolina and SMU to close out. If Davis is able to keep running well and be efficient, and mistake-free, and the defense plays like it has over the last two weeks and not like the first half of the year, head coach Larry Fedora will have pulled off the turnaround.

Nov. 1
Southern Miss 70 … UAB 14
Southern Miss ran for 463 yards and nine touchdowns and the USM quarterbacks completed 7-of-8 passes for 147 yards and a score on the way to the blowout win. The Golden Eagles capitalized on a few of the six UAB turnovers on the way to 49 first half points highlighted by a 60-yard DeAndre Brown touchdown catch, four of Austin Davis’s five touchdown runs, and two one-yard Tory Harrison scoring runs. UAB only managed 223 yards and got two Joe Webb touchdown passes, but Harrison answered the second Blazer score in the third quarter with a 69-yard scoring run.
Player of the game: Southern Miss QB Austin Davis completed 6-of-7 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown and ran 10 times for 81 yards and five touchdowns
Stat Leaders: UAB - Passing: Joe Webb, 16-23, 127 yds, 2 TD, 4 INT
Rushing: Rashaud Slaughter, 12-65. Receiving: Rashaud Slaughter, 4-22, 1 TD
Southern Miss - Passing: Austin Davis, 6-7, 141 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Tony Harrison, 20-137, 3 TD. Receiving: DeAndre Brown, 3-97, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... USM broke a five-game losing streak by pounding away with the offensive line for 463 rushing yards and nine touchdowns, but the loss of star RB Damion Fletcher to a leg injury is a problem. Tory Harrison had few problems keeping the ground game going, while QB Austin Davis was unstoppable running the ball around the goal line. While the season has still been a disaster, it’s possible to end on a major high note with winnable games against UCF, East Carolina and SMU to close.  

Oct. 25
Memphis 36 … Southern Miss 30
With starting QB Arkelon Hall out, Memphis got quirky with a variety of trick plays and the running of Curtis Steele to get the win. Carlos Singleton caught two first half touchdown passes with the first one coming from Brett Toney, who got injured. Fourth-string QB Tyler Bass took over and ran for an 11-yard score, but it was Steele who controlled the game with 178 yards and touchdown runs of 10 and 22 yards in the fourth quarter. Southern Miss took the lead early in the fourth quarter on a 31-yard Damion Fletcher run before Steele score his first touchdown to take the lead for good, USM scored on the final play of the game to make the score look better.
Player of the game: Memphis RB Curtis Steele ran 29 times for 178 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Southern Miss - Passing: Tyler Bass, 10-13, 130 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Curtis Steele, 29-178, 2 TD. Receiving: Carlos Singleton, 7-64, 2 TD
Memphis - Passing: Austin Davis, 21-40, 186 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Austin Davis, 8-121. Receiving: DeAndre Brown, 8-110, 2 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Memphis was down to its fourth string quarterback and it still didn’t matter. The suddenly woeful Southern Miss defense couldn’t slow down a Tiger attack that rolled for over 500 yards. LB Gerald McRath had a nice game, but that was about it. The offense is doing a decent job of tying to keep pace, but this isn’t a team built to make major comebacks. It’s an offense built to maintain leads, and the defense isn’t allowing that to happen.

Oct. 18
Rice 45 … Southern Miss 40
In a wild shootout with the two teams combining for 905 passing yards, Rice’s Chase Clement threw six touchdown passes including three to Jarett Dillard from 17, 51 and 44 yards out. As good as the Clement-to-Dillard combination was, Southern Miss had a better duo of QB Austin Davis to DeAndre Brown. Brown caught touchdown passes from eight, 16, 42 and 17 yards out, with the last two coming in a wild 4:16 span to pull the Golden Eagles to within five. But Rice recovered the onside kick with 17 seconds to play to hold on.
Player of the game: Rice QB Chase Clement completed 30-of-44 passes for 444 yards and six touchdowns, and he ran eight times for 22 yards
Stat Leaders: Southern Miss - Passing: Austin Davis, 32-61, 461 yds, 4 TD
Rushing: Damion Fletcher, 17-120, 1 TD. Receiving: DeAndre Brown, 12-221, 4 TD
Rice - Passing: Chase Clements, 30-43, 444 yds, 6 TD
Rushing: C.J. Ugokwe, 18-90. Receiving: Jarett Dillard, 7-141, 3 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The Larry Fedora era isn’t exactly taking off. With a back like Damion Fletcher and an emerging star in QB Austin Davis, the offense is finally exploding, even if the loss to Boise State might seem otherwise. Now the defense needs to go back to being the Southern Miss defense. There was no pass rush on Rice QB Chase Clement and the run defense hasn’t shown up. On a four-game losing streak, it’s win out or there won’t be a bowl bid. It’s possible. Outside of the East Carolina game, there isn’t another game the Eagles can’t win.


Oct. 11
Boise State 24 … Southern Miss 7
Boise State got three touchdown passes from Kellen Moore with two short ones going to Austin Pettis, but it was the defense that stole the show. The Broncos held USM to 278 yards of total offense and only gave up a 17-yard Damion Fletcher touchdown run in the wild second quarter. All the scoring was done in the second as Boise State started out the scoring with a 28-yard pass to Jeremy Childs, and ended it with a four-yard catch from Pettis. Along the way, the defense stuffed USM on a fourth down and took control of the game. USM was 0-for-4 on fourth down tries.
Player of the game: Boise State QB Kellen Moore completed 21-of-30 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns with an interception
Stat Leaders: Southern Miss - Passing: Austin Davis, 15-34, 160 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Damion Fletcher, 14-69, 1 TD. Receiving: Gerald Baptiste, 3-53
Boise State - Passing: Kellen Moore, 21-30, 170 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Jeremy Avery 12-56 & Ian Johnson 11-56. Receiving: Jeremy Childs, 10-92, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... On a three-game losing streak, the Southern Miss season is quickly slipping away. The Boise State game was a chance to show on a national basis that USM might still be one of the kings of the non-BCS programs, but the loss emphatically showed how things have slipped a bit. The running game couldn’t get going, and the passing game, thanks to a lousy day from Austin Davis, struggled. When the team needed the really hard yards, it couldn’t get them. Now the offense has to crank it up a notch with a trip to Rice up next.

Oct. 4
UTEP 40 … Southern Miss 27 2OT
UTEP overcame a 260-yard rushing day from Damion Fletcher with a six-yard touchdown catch from Kris Adams in the second overtime for the win. Southern Miss forced the extra time with a  22-yard Britt Barefoot field goal as time ran out. Terrell Jackson caught a touchdown pass for UTEP in the first overtime, but USM answered with four-yard scoring grab from DeAndre Brown. Barefoot hit a 28-yard field goal in the second overtime, but UTEP came up with the touchdown. Trevor Vittatoe threw four touchdown passes, while Fletcher ran for a four-yard score to go along with all his yards.
Player of the game: UTEP QB Trevor Vittatoe completed 25-of-43 passes for 266 yards and four touchdowns, and in a losing cause, Southern Miss RB Damion Fletcher ran 34 times for 260 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: UTEP - Passing: Trevor Vittatoe, 25-43, 266 yds, 4 TD
Rushing:
Donald Buckram, 12-59, 1 TD. Receiving: Jeff Moturi, 5-36
Southern Miss
- Passing: Austin Davis, 21-37, 264 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing:
Damion Fletcher, 34-260, 1 TD. Receiving: DeAndre Brown, 8-110, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Damion Fletcher is amazing. The USM star back ripped through UTEP, Austin Davis was excellent, and the offense kept the chains moving … and the Golden Eagles lost. Field goals instead of touchdowns turned into a problem in the fourth quarter, and penalties were a huge issue. USM played well enough to win in a walk, but instead it’s now 0-2 in Conference USA play with trips to Rice and Memphis up next.

Sept. 20
Marshall 34 … Southern Miss 27
Marshall got a 27-yard touchdown catch and an 80-yard touchdown run from Darius Passmore, and Darius Marshall ran for an 18-yard score as Marshall held off Southern Miss. Austin Davis ran for a 12-yard score to pull the Golden Eagles within seven, but a late interception from Maurice Kitchens led to the Marshall score to put the game away. USM started the scoring with a 68-yard touchdown catch from DeAndre Brown, and ended it with a two-yard Damion Fletcher run, but penalties and problems against the run proved costly.
Player of the game: Marshall WR Darius Passmore caught nine passes for 139 yards and a touchdown, and ran twice for 76 yards and a score
Stat Leaders: Marshall
- Passing: Mark Cann, 16-25, 228 yds, 2 TDs
Rushing: Darius Marshall, 30-112, 1 TD. Receiving: Darius Passmore, 9-139, 1 TD
Southern Miss
- Passing: Austin Davis, 27-49, 308 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Damion Fletcher, 21-82, 1 TD. Receiving: Gerald Baptiste, 5-59
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Southern Miss put itself behind the eight-ball with the loss to Marshall. With UTEP up next, the Conference USA record will likely even out at 1-1, but this was a disappointing loss because Marshall was able to pound the ball so effectively and because of the penalties. USM committed 11 for 129 yards, and while they were why the team lost, they didn’t help. On the plus side, QB Austin Davis threw well outside of the key interception late in the fourth.

Sept. 13
Southern Miss 27 … Arkansas State 24
Arkansas State tried to come back late with a five-yard Jeff Blake touchdown catch to pull within three in the final two minutes, and it had a shot late to win but USM’s Eddie Willingham snuffed out the final drive with an interception. USM got the offense moving with two Austin Davis touchdown passes and a one-yard Tory Harrison score, but ASU came back with a 14-point third quarter on a 16-yard David Johnson touchdown catch and an eight-yard Reggie Arnold scoring run to tie it at 17 going into the fourth. USM’s Britt Barefoot gave USM the lead for good on a 28-yard field goal, and Damion Fletcher put it away with a 24-yard scoring play.
Player of the game:
Southern Miss CB Chico Hunter made 15 tackles, a tackle for loss, and broke up two passes
Stat Leaders: Southern Miss
- Passing: Austin Davis, 18-31, 219 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Damion Fletcher, 23-87. Receiving: Shawn Nelson, 7-110
Arkansas State - Passing: Corey Leonard, 17-34, 256 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Reggie Arnold, 15-84, 1 TD. Receiving: Trevor Gillott, 5-79

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The defense wasn’t always s rock against Arkansas State, but it was strong when it had to be at the very end and in the first half. The offense got a nice, efficient day out of Austin Davis, who appears to be growing more and more into the starter’s role. This is a good Red Wolves team that’s playing extremely well. This wasn’t just some win over a Sun Belt team.

Sept. 6
Auburn 27 ... Southern Miss 13
Auburn cranked out the first 24 points of the game with Ben Tate and Tristan Davis running for second quarter touchdowns and Kodi Burns adding a one-yard scoring run, and then Shawn Nelson went to work. The star USM tight end finished with 12 catches for 118 yards with touchdown catches from one and 17 yards out. The Tigers were able to put the game away with a 23-yard Wes Byrum field goal. Auburn held USM RB Damion Fletcher to just 29 yards.
Player of the game: Auburn CB Jerraud Powers made eight sacks and an interception
Stat Leaders: Southern Miss - Passing: Austin Davis, 33-50, 268 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Damion Fletcher, 13-29. Receiving: Shawn Nelson, 12-118, 2 TD
Auburn - Passing: Chris Todd, 21-31, 248 yds
Rushing: Ben Tate, 15-71, 1 TD. Receiving: Ben Tate, 3-51
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Considering Auburn badly outplayed Southern Miss, there are good things to get excited about. Shawn Nelson was dominant. The star tight end caught 12 passes and showed why he's a top pro prospect, while Austin Davis, even with two interceptions thrown, threw well. The running game wasn't going anywhere, with Damion Fletcher getting stuffed, but against a non-Auburn defense, Davis will be more effective. This is as bad as it's going to get until the date with the East Carolina defense in mid-November.

Aug. 30
Southern Miss 51 ... UL Lafayette 21
Southern Miss rocked UL Lafayette in the first game of the Larry Fedora era as the Golden Eagle attack cranked out 633 yards of offense and 427 rushing yards in the blowout. Damion Fletcher ran for a career-high 222 yards with touchdown runs from 14 and six yards out, while Austin Davis ran for two touchdown and threw for two others. UL Lafayette had its moments with two short touchdown runs in the second quarter and a 21-yard Pierre Hill touchdown catch in the fourth, but it never threatened.
Player of the game: Southern Miss RB Damion Fletcher ran 21 times for 222 yards and two touchdowns, and LB Gerald McRath made 15 tackles.
Stat Leaders: Southern Miss - Passing: Austin Davis, 14-21, 206 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Damion Fletcher, 21-222, 2 TD. Receiving: DeAndre Brown, 4-92, 1 TD
UL Lafayette - Passing: Michael Desormeaux, 9-20, 98 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Michael Desormeaux, 16-146. Receiving: Jason Chery, 3-47
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Yeeesh! UL Lafayette might not have a brick wall of a defense, but the Southern Miss offense was unstoppable cranking out 633 yards and 427 on the ground. The offense line was tremendous from the start, while the defense did a good job of keeping the Ragin' Cajun running game under wraps. Austin Davis had a nice day throwing the ball, but he didn't have to do anything fancy with the way the running game was working. Now comes the real test: Auburn.

2008 Recruiting Class

Star of the Class

DeAndre Brown WR 6-6 208 Fr. Ocean Springs, Miss./Ocean Springs
A Parade All-American who tallied 31 catches for 625 yards last season for Coach Todd Mangum and totaled 1,800 all-purpose yards ... Named to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio and caught a touchdown pass in the game ... Rated in the Top 10 nationally as a wide receiver including No.3 by Scout.com  ... Tabbed as top player in the state by Rivals ... Ranked No. 13 by Scout, No. 22 by Rivals and No. 23 by ESPN ... Named by the Clarion-Ledger as a member of their Dandy Dozen, first team All-State and the No. 1 Most Wanted recruit in the state ... First team all-state by the Mississippi Association of Coaches and all-South State by the Sun Herald ... Scored on a 55-yard pass from fellow signee Bret Jefcoat in the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Classic in Mobile in December.


Potential Instant Impact Players

Willie Packer DT 6-1 275 Fr. Moss Point, Miss./Moss Point
Named Defensive MVP for the Gulf Coast Region by the Sun Herald ....Collected 90 total tackles, 20 for loss, five forced fumble and three recovered fumbles for the Class 4A South Finalist at Moss Point High ... Played for Coach Jerry Alexander ... Also named to the first team All-Region 7-4A squad, 1st Team All-State in Class 5A, 2nd Team All-State by the Clarion-Ledger and participated in the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Classic in which he tallied 2.5 tackles for loss and six hurries ... Ranks No. 23 by Scout.com.

Bo Tillman DT 6-6 295 Fr. Meadville, Miss./Franklin
Recorded 85 tackles, 10 sacks and two fumble recoveries en route to being named the Region 7-3A Defensive Player of the Year ... Saw action for Coach Grady McCluskey at Franklin High School which won the state championship in 2006 and reached the final in 2007... Named to the Daily Leader All-Area team and the Natchez Democrat All-Metro team ... A first team 3A all-state honoree by the Mississippi Association of Coaches as well as an All-State pick by the Clarion-Ledger ... Also ranked No. 31 nationally at his position and No. 22 by Scout.com.


Rest of the Class
Bud Barksdale DB 6-0 190 Fr. Batesville, Miss./South Panola
Rolando Barragan DT 6-3 295 Jr. Inglewood, Calif./Morningside/El Camino CC
Darius Barnes DE 6-4 235 Fr. Memphis, Tenn./Westwood
R.J. Brown OL 6-3 300 Jr. McLain, Miss./Greene County/Jones County JC
Kyle Burkhart OL 6-4 280 Jr. Kinsley, Kan./Kinsley/Dodge City (Kan.) CC
Nick Chartain OL 6-5 325 Fr. Baton Rouge, La./Desire Street Academy
Terrance Conner DE 6-4 234 Jr. Clarksdale, Miss./Coahoma County/Coahoma CC
Austin Davis QB 6-2 205 Fr. Meridian, Miss./West Lauderdale
Joe Duhon OL 6-3 284 Fr. Lake Charles, La./Washington-Marion Magnet
Jamison Hughes DB 6-1 200 Fr. Oxford, Miss./Oxford/Ole Miss (Have to sit out 2008)
Bret Jefcoat QB 6-1 200 Fr. Fulton, Miss./Itawamba AHS
Demsond Johnson RB 5-11 190 Fr. Yazoo City, Miss./Yazoo City
Jonathan Massey TE 6-3 250 So. Gautier, Miss./Gautier/Copiah-Lincoln CC
Jordan McNair WR 6-2 170 Fr. Port St. Joe, Fla./Port St. Joe
Freddie Parham WR 5-11 180 Jr. Margaret, Ala./St. Clair County/East Central CC
Quentin Pierce ATH 6-0 175 Fr. Mobile, Ala/Davidson
Terrance Pope DT 6-1 280 Fr. Batesville, Miss./South Panola
Kendrick Presley DB 6-1 195 Fr. Kosciusko, Miss./Kosciusko
Austin Quattrochi OL 6-3 265 Fr. Marietta, Ga./George Walton
Marcal Robinson DB 6-0 165 Fr. Prichard, Ala./Vigor
Joel Ross DT 6-1 300 Fr. Houma, La./Vandebilt Catholic
Quin Sanford OL 6-1 295 Fr. Batesville, Miss/South Panola
Josh Tillman DE 6-5 245 Fr. McCall Creek, Miss./Franklin
Ronnie Thornton LB 6-3 215 rFr. Miami, Fla./Killian
Andre Watson DB 5-10 180 Jr. Ocean Springs, Miss./Ocean Springs/Miss. Gulf Coast CC
Bruce Wilbourn WR 6-0 185 Fr. Sardis, Miss./North Panola

2007 Recap

Recap:
The past year marked an end of an era in Hattiesburg, as head coach Jeff Bower was forced from the sidelines after 17 mostly successful seasons.  Southern Miss’ recent inability to extend beyond mediocrity peaked in 2007, a disappointing 7-6 campaign that began with lofty goals and expectations for a Conference USA title.  The Golden Eagles were never able to deliver as the league favorite, playing poorly at home and lacking the punch on defense that used to be the bedrock of the program’s identity.        

Offensive Player of the Year: RB Damion Fletcher

Defensive Player of the Year: LB Gerald McRath

Biggest Surprise: In a pivotal game for both schools, Southern Miss erupted for 42 second-half points to blow past UTEP at the Sun Bowl and remain alive for bowl eligibility.  Led by the running of Fletcher, it was a highly uncharacteristic performance by the Eagle offense, which registered its biggest outburst in almost six years.   

Biggest Disappointment: Southern Miss gave an early indication of what kind of a season it was going to be when it inexplicably lost at home to winless Rice, a three-touchdown underdog.  The Eagles rallied for 22 fourth-quarter points in front of a stunned crowd, but fell two points short in a sobering and ominous outcome.

Looking Ahead: The job of bringing Southern Miss into the 21st century belongs to Larry Fedora, an energetic offensive innovator that’ll try to do in Hattiesburg what Brian Kelly is doing at Cincinnati.  Fedora’s one-back, no-huddle offense will be slow out of the gate in 2008 unless a reliable passer can be developed in the offseason.



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