Photo/Zac Chamblee

Southern Miss’ 2019 recruiting class received a boost Sunday morning with the commitment of a local standout. Collins athlete Markel McLaurin took to Twitter to announce his pledge to the Golden Eagles. 

“I want to thank everyone who gave me another chance to play on the next level, but for the next 3-4 years, I will be furthering my education and using my athletic ability at the University of Southern Mississippi,” he wrote. 

Listed at 5-foot-11 and 174 pounds, McLaurin made an impact in all three phases of the game this past season for Collins, helping the Tigers win 11 games and reach the third round of the Class 2A playoffs. 

At wide receiver, he caught 37 passes for a team-leading 867 yards and nine touchdowns. At defensive back, he picked off a team-leading four passes. And on special teams, he returned three punts for scores. 

“That young man is a great player,” Collins coach and former Southern Miss standout Eric Booth said of McLaurin in an earlier interview. “He helps me wherever I need help at. Offense, special teams, wide receiver, quarterback. He’ll do everything. He’s a great kid that puts the work in.

“He is just an athlete; He puts a lot on defenses’ minds.”

The plan, though, is for McLaurin to play defensive back at Southern Miss. He chose the Golden Eagles over Alcorn State, Jackson State and many of the state’s junior colleges, becoming the program’s 20th commit towards the 2019 class, according to 247 Sports. 

McLaurin plans to put pen to paper during the early signing period on Wednesday.