football Edit

Five takeaways from the updated 2023 Mississippi rankings

Isaac Smith
Isaac Smith (Rivals.com)

The 2023 Rivals250 rankings were updated this week, and there were some changes in the state of Mississippi. Five prospects from the state landed inside the Rivals250, and seven prospects in total are considered four-star recruits.

Ole Miss is closing in on adding a top prospect to its 2023 class, while Mississippi State has made the state a big priority. Additionally, a pair of Pac-12 programs are finding some success in the Deep South.

Here are five key takeaways from the updated Mississippi 2023 rankings.

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CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

CLASS OF 2024 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

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Ayden Williams' stock on the rise

Ayden Williams
Ayden Williams (Rivals.com)

Ayden Williams has been among the biggest risers in the last two Rivals rankings updates. Outside of the top-200 ahead of the June update, the four-star wide receiver now sits inside the Rivals100 going into his senior season in the Magnolia State.

Williams turned heads and impressed on the 7-on-7 circuit and in camps during the spring and summer, most notably at the Future50 camp in Florida to cap-off the summer. The Ridgeland (Miss.) standout has great size, an impressive catch radius, and can hurt defenses all over the field.

The Rivals100 prospect is closing in on a decision, which he will announce on Sunday, August 21. His stock is as high as anybody's in the nation.

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Ole Miss keeping top talent home

Suntarine Perkins
Suntarine Perkins (Sam Spiegelman)

If the Rebels are able to close on priority target Ayden Williams on Sunday, that would mean Ole Miss would have commitments from three of the top-four prospects in the Magnolia State.

Four-star outside linebacker Suntarine Perkins leads the way. Perkins is the No. 1 prospect in Mississippi for 2023, coming in at No. 76 overall in the updated Rivals250 rankings. The Raleigh (Miss.) standout was on flip-watch to Alabama this summer, but he remains committed to the Rebels.

Additionally, Ole Miss has the commitment of Rivals250 defensive lineman Jamarious Brown. Brown chose the Rebels in late July, fresh off an unofficial visit to Texas. Brown can play all over the defensive front and has a chance to carve out a big role in Oxford.

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Mississippi State attacking the state

Tabias Hinton
Tabias Hinton (Rivals.com)

Mississippi State has added a ton of volume from the state in 2023. Four-star linebacker Tabias Hinton leads the way as the No. 7 prospect in the Magnolia State. Hinton is an athletic and lengthy prospect that should fit in well in defensive coordinator Zach Arnett's 3-3-5 defense.

Mike Leach and the Bulldogs have commitments from a whopping eight of the top-20 prospects in the state for 2023. Offensive tackles Malik Ellis and Zay Alexander are both ranked inside the top-10.

The Bulldogs remain in contention to land No. 3 prospect Isaac Smith and are attempting to flip Utah pledge Caleb Bryant. It is clear that Mississippi State has made the state a priority.

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SEC programs battling for Rivals250 safety Isaac Smith

Isaac Smith
Isaac Smith (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Isaac Smith is one of the nation's top safety prospects for the 2023 recruiting cycle. Ranked just outside Rivals100, Smith is a key target in the Magnolia State heading into the fall.

Smith does not have an official list of contenders, but Georgia, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, and Vanderbilt are all firmly in the mix for the four-star defender. He has taken just one official visit to this point - Vanderbilt in the summer - and it is safe to assume that he will take more during the season and prior to the signing period.

Clark Lea and the Commodores have made a big impression on Smith, and Mississippi State is making a push to keep the blue-chip prospect home. Smith is intrigued about playing for Kirby Smart and was wowed on his unofficial visit to College Station.

Issac Smith's recruitment is a key storyline to follow in Mississippi.

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Pac-12 making a move

Dante Dowdell
Dante Dowdell (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Mississippi is not traditionally Pac-12 recruiting territory, but the conference has successfully recruited the state to this point in the 2023 cycle -- three of the state's top-11 players are currently set to play on the West Coast.

Rivals250 running back Dante Dowdell committed to Dan Lanning and Oregon back in May, choosing the Ducks over a handful of SEC programs. He is ranked as the No. 5 prospect in Mississippi and a top-200 player overall.

Utah has earned commitments from four-star defensive lineman Caleb Bryant (No. 6 in Mississippi) - who was just offered by Oregon and USC this month - and quarterback Mack Howard (No. 11). Assistant coach Chad Bumphis has extensive ties to the region, and the Utes have taken full advantage of that.

It will be interesting to see if the Pac-12 is able to hold onto these commitments and if more programs from the conference aggressively recruit the state of Mississippi in the future.

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SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH UTAH FANS AT UTENATION.COM