The 2018 spring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.
No. 93: Southern Miss Golden Eagles
Spring Practice Starts: March 20
Spring Game: April 21
Southern Miss Golden Eagles Spring Status
Just when it seemed like Southern Miss was in for a mediocre season, it kept on winning. There might have been a whole lot of easy wins, but the Golden Eagles managed to get by Marshall and Louisiana Tech along the way. And now, with 24 wins over the last three years, it’s time to do more.
Even with a few key losses in the receiving corps, the passing game should be terrific, three starters are back on the line, and there are options for the ground attack, even though Ito Smith was a star the O revolved around at times.
The secondary is going to be the biggest problem – it loses everyone – but the defensive front six should be a rock at times. It’ll be an important offseason to fill in all the gaping holes – on both sides of the ball – but there’s just enough in place to be in the mix for the Conference USA title.
Southern Miss Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Safety. The rotation to replace Smith at running back is a big deal, but the biggest concern is the secondary, particularly at safety with Tarvarius Moore, Jomez Applewhite and Kelsey Douglas gone.
Moore led the team with 87 stops, and Applewhite and Douglas were third and fourth on the team, respectively. Worse yet for USM, all nine interceptions booked last season are gone.
Southern Miss Biggest Issue
The penalties have to slow down. The Golden Eagles were last in the conference in sins, getting flagged 99 times including four games with ten or more. That’s nothing new, with 294 flags over the last three seasons. However, they were hit 35 more times then their opponents.
Southern Miss Biggest Positive
Quarterback. It’s also one of the team’s biggest depth chart battles. Kwandra Griggs should be the star of the show after throwing 16 touchdown passes and just two picks, but he’s banged up early this spring. Keon Howard is a veteran who can step in and start, but he’ll have to fight off a whole slew of other options, starting with JUCO transfer Jack Abraham and five other prospects seeing practice reps.
Really, Why Are The Southern Miss Golden Eagles Ranked Here?
There might be a whole lot of question marks, but there are enough good prospects and parts to expect everything to be okay. The offense will be fine despite the loss of Smith from the backfield and Korey Robertson and Allenzae Staggers from the receiving corps.
The coaching staff is undergoing some changes on the defensive side, and the secondary is going to be the problem up until the opener. Even so, this is a good enough team to overcome the holes.