Recruiting Analysis - Defensive Backs

It was absolutely imperative that we recruit some potential contributors in the defensive secondary. I think that we recruited well in this are but could have done better. I really wish we had been able to sign a great corner. We were in on a good many but just couldn't close with any of them.

Cornerbacks:

Ryan Campbell - 6'0" 180 lbs. - 4.5 (at combine)

I know that he wasn't rated as highly as Charles Sawyer on any of the recruiting sites, but I don't care about that. His video, height and speed excite me more than Charles Sawyer's. Campbell's video, while a highlight video, really shows his propensity for making plays. I can't find any free video, so I can't show you any. Suffice it to say that he actually is noticeably taller than most cornerback prospects and positions himself well when the ball is in the air.


Charles Sawyer - 5'10" 175 lbs. - 4.5 (reported)

Sawyer's video is made up mostly of him playing quarterback. While I know that it's common practice to move athletic high school quarterbacks to cornerback, I can judge very little based on these videos. He looks good at evading defenders, but that's not something he'll have to do at Ole Miss. His speed looks marginal, though I could just be missing it. In the few clips of his that showed man coverage, he really didn't play all that well, and his interceptions both (only two all of last year) appear to be a product of his being in the right place at the right time.


Jesse Grandy - 5'11" 165 lbs. - 4.4 (self-reported)

Grandy's only other worthwhile offer was from Arkansas. I know that I was supposed to be excited about this guy, but I'm not. He's too much of a question mark for my taste. His video is alright, but I prefer bigger, physical corners.

Overall, corner is the only position we recruited with which I'm really not satisfied. We needed to sign a big-time recruit, and we didn't.

Safety:

Jamar Hornsby - 6'3" 200 lbs. - 4.5 (self-reported)

Hornsby is certainly an exciting prospect, but let's not go anointing him a star yet. Our fans are already saying that we signed a safety who started as a freshman for Florida. That's not at all true. His first season, he was redshirted. In his only season as an active player, he notched FIVE tackles and didn't get a single start. He only played in eight games. Basically, he had the impact at Florida that Fon Ingram has had at Ole Miss. Now, I'm sure he'll play a good bit, but there are already people saying he could steal Kendrick Lewis' spot as the starting FS (since "FS is his more natural position" according to John Spirivals.) Kendrick Lewis is a safety the likes of which we haven't had at Ole Miss in a long time. He's the most talented player in our secondary, and I'm thrilled to have him coming back. I will NEVER say that any recruit will unseat a player of that stature. Sure, Jamar will get a shot to win the starting SS job against Johnny Brown, but I favor Brown in that matchup. I hope Hornsby proves to be worth the inevitable discussions about his legal trouble whenever he does actually play.


Dele Junaid - 6'2" 177

Much like Hornsby, Junaid has the height necessary to be an elite safety. His video is impressive.


Junaid is an intriguing prospect because he was first team 5A all-state in Texas but was only ranked as a two-star on Rivals and Scout. Judging by the video, he appears to be VERY physical, and his ability when dropping into the zone appears adequate. While I think his future is at OLB, if he stayed at safety, he could become a very reliable player. At OLB, I think he could be a star.


Frank Crawford - 6'1" 161 lbs. - 4.6 (combine)

Crawford is the classic case of a player who wowed everyone before getting hurt and then totally disappeared from recruiting. Boasting early offers from the likes of Alabama, Florida State, South Carolina, South Florida, Minnesota, etc. I was worried that we wouldn't stand a chance with him. The season was going well too. Crawford picked off passes in each of the first two games before tearing his ACL. After that, there wasn't really any news from him until he visited Ole Miss and eventually signed with us. His highlight video of his junior year is exceptional. He has good speed and awareness. Appears to see the play develop and react quickly.

Artice Kellam - 5'11" 175 4.55 (combine)

Not to sound too much like Chuck Rounsaville here, but you don't really know what you've got until you almost lose it. Kellam really went underappreciated throughout his entire recruitment. Once he took an under the radar official visit to Tennessee though, our fans went crazy. Rightfully so. Kellam's video looks a good bit like I imagine Jamarca Sanford's did coming out of high school. He's a phenomenal tackler who excels in stopping the run. I can't really tell how good he is in coverage, but a safety who is exceptional at stopping the run can really help a team in the right situation. Kellam is a big pickup, even though his offer list was less impressive than Crawford's.

I really like the way that we recruited safeties. I think we answered the immediate problem with Hornsby and built for the future with Kellam and Crawford. Also, many of you might be asking why I didn't profile Tig Barksdale. I think we're probably going to lump him in with a generic "athlete" post. We'll include Neat in that as well.

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