On Saturday, Southern Miss coaches got a call they had been waiting for when Bassfield (MS) High stand-out defensive back Cornell Armstrong called the staff to inform them that he was committing to Southern Miss.
The talented 6-foot-0, 170-pounder is the second Bassfield prospect to pledge to Southern Miss in as many years. This past spring Jomez Applewhite signed with the Eagles and is slotted to play defensive back for defensive coordinator David Duggan's squad.
Duggan was also responsible for recruiting Armstrong, and was able to build a solid relationship with since returning from a season at North Carolina.
"He's a great guy," Armstrong said of Duggan.
Duggan was the first Southern Miss coach to receive the news.
"I first called Coach Duggan," he said of making his commitment known. "Coach Monken was headed out on vacation and he was on a plane. But, as soon as he landed I talked to him and told him the news."
To say Southern Miss coaches were happy to hear they news may be an understatement.
"They were very excited," Armstrong said. I heard they were cutting flips and all on the golf course."
There's no doubt that Southern Miss made Armstrong a priority. They were the first program to offer the talented local stand-out and continued to recruit him diligently over the past few months.
"They treated me like family every time I went over there," he said. "They were always inviting me back to campus to come hang out and just showing me love.
"They were showing me the love before anyone else was even recruiting me...."
Staying close to home will afford other opportunities for Armstrong and his family.
"That's what I have been thinking about," he said. "It's going to be way easier for my family and friends to come see me play..."
Playing for a small school, Armstrong is used to taking on multiple roles, playing both sides of the ball as well as special teams.
Southern Miss has recruited him strictly as a corner back and that's just fine with him.
"I want to play corner," he said. "Its my natural position, but I'll play anywhere they need me to get the win."
The student part of student-athlete isn't missed on Armstrong who finished his junior year with a 3.85 GPA.
"I'm going to major in physical therapy", he said when asked if he had decided upon a major in college.
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