Defensive linemen are a premium, and Southern Miss was able to keep a good one close to home in landing Gulfport High's Cortez Hartzog. He close the Eagles after also receiving an offer from Mississippi State.
He took time after practice to talk to Goldeneaglepride.com about his commitment and decision to stay close to home.
"I am a family man and I wanted to be closer to home," he said of the major factor of his decision to land with Southern Miss.
"I just wanted to be somewhere where my family could come see me play. Ultimately that is what led me to make my decision."
He also was impressed with the school and the football program in general. "Not only that, but it is a great school," he added. "Also, they win, and they have a great coaching staff. It was close to home and it has really been weighing on my mind pretty heavy."
As he begins his senior year at Gulfport High, it was very important for him to make a decision. "I feel like I needed to get it out of the way," he said. "I have always felt like it was the school I wanted to go to but I didn't want to make to early of a decision."
"That is what played a big part in it, just being close to home."
Interestingly, Hartzog said that the coach that recruited him the hardest was one who is no longer on the Southern Miss staff. "Corners Coach Jackson was the one who really recruited me pretty hard," he said. "He was really telling me a lot of stuff that I really liked. I haven't talked to him since, and I stopped talking to him for a while but he was the one who talked to me about Southern Miss."
Hartzog was clear that he is not waffling on his commitment. "My recruiting is over," he said. "I am where I want to be and committed to Southern Miss."
He said that he will bring two characteristics that typify a Southern Miss defensive lineman. "I am all heart and a hard worker," he said.
His Gulfport High team and getting them back to the playoffs are now his complete focus with his recruitment behind him. "We plan on making the state playoffs and making a run to the state championship," he said. "The playoffs first, then we'll worry about making a run."
Along with every fan of college football, Hartzog said he will be tuning in to the opener against the Gamecocks. "Oh, I'll be watching Thursday night," he said.
Hartzog becomes the 15th commitment already to this solid 2011 class that is really beginning to take shape. Stay with GEP.com for the best coverage in Southern Miss recruiting around.
On the eve of the opening game against South Carolina, USM has brought in a big commit as they continue add to the talent already in place. After practice, GEP.com talked with the newest commit about his decision to land with the Golden Eagles and remain in south Mississippi for his college home.