OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) – Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze has added a big piece to this year’s recruiting haul with the announcement that 6-foot-4, 290-pound junior college defensive tackle Lavon Hooks has signed a national letter of intent with the Rebels.
Hooks, a sophomore at Northeast Mississippi Community College, will enroll at Ole Miss in January and begin competing in the 2013 season.
“It was a difficult recruiting battle, and we could not be more excited Lavon chose to be a Rebel,” Freeze said. “It's always special to sign a player from one of our outstanding Mississippi junior colleges. Lavon is an explosive player who will make an immediate impact on our defensive line.”
A former hoops standout in high school, the Atlanta, Ga., native played both basketball and football at Northeast before turning his concentration solely to the gridiron. After a monster sophomore season in which he was second in the nation with 20.5 tackles for loss, including 9.5 sacks, he was tabbed honorable mention All-America by the NJCAA.
Hooks is rated the No. 1 junior college prospect in the country by 247Sports.com and is a consensus top-15 JUCO prospect in all the major rankings.
He is the fourth player in Ole Miss’ early signing class, joining fellow JUCO prospect ATH Quadarias Mireles (Delray Beach, Fla.) and early high school graduates RB Mark Dodson (Memphis, Tenn.) and TE Christian Morgan (Plano, Texas).
DT • 6-4 • 290
Northeast Mississippi CC/Meadowcreek
JUNIOR COLLEGE: Played two seasons at Northeast Mississippi Community College under head coach Ricky Smither … NJCAA Honorable Mention All-American as a sophomore … Among all JUCO prospects in the nation, rated No. 1 by 247Sports.com, No. 11 by Scout.com and No. 15 by ESPN.com … Tabbed the nation’s No. 1 defensive tackle by JCGridiron.com … Rated the No. 1 JUCO prospect in the state by The Clarion-Ledger … Selected first team All-State and All-Region XXIII and the state’s Most Valuable Defensive Lineman by the MACJC … Tied for second in the state and region with 9.5 sacks and ranked second among all JUCO players in the nation with 20.5 tackles for loss … Tallied 51 total tackles and had three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries … Recorded 30 tackles, 3.0 sacks and 3.5 TFLs as a freshman … Also played basketball at Northeast, leading the conference in rebounding as a freshman … Spent his first semester of junior college playing basketball for Marion Military Institute (Marion, Ala.).
HIGH SCHOOL: Graduated from Meadowbrook High School in Norcross, Ga., playing football and basketball there … Averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds for the hoops team as a senior … Participated in football and basketball at Brookwood High School (Snellville, Ga.) in ninth and 10th grades.