Over the course of the next couple of weeks, we will be breaking down the pieces that made this signing class arguably the best Ole Miss signing class in school history. We'll throw in highlight videos whenever we can find them and will try to examine what we see with our biased, untrained yees. With media and sports fans all over the country talking about Ole Miss recruits, it is our hope to generate some discussion about those recruits who didn't have four or five stars next to their names.
Our first installment is a mixture of the receiving corps and tight ends, two elements which are sure to be relied on early and often in Hugh Freeze's up tempo offense.
Quincy Adeboyejo - 4* - 6'3", 175 - Other notable offers: Clemson, Nebraska, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UCLA
Adeboyejo, along with having a name that will result in countless hysterical mispronunciations by old white men, is a strong prospect who can contribute to the receiver rotation as a freshman. The offense is likely to see a much more active pace in year two under Freeze, and that will result in more receivers getting involved in games. Adeboyejo is a good candidate to do so with his size and physicality. Adeboyejo isn't a burner, but he has adequate speed to create separation when his routes are run well.
The only thing going against Adeboyejo is that he's sort of a prototypical outside receiver something of which we're beginning to have a lot. It's possible that he won't see many snaps simply because Donte Moncrief, Vince Sanders, Ja-Mes Logan, and Laquon Treadwell will probably be entrenched ahead of him out wide. The coaches may mix it up a lot by choosing to play those receivers in the slot a good bit, but as it stands right now, he's fifth at best in the pecking order as an outside receiver.
Trey Bledsoe - 3* - 6'2", 185 - Other notable offers: None
Bledsoe committed to Ole Miss in July and never looked back. The position he'll play in college is a bit of a mystery as he could end up at receiver or safety. Either way, I don't expect him to play much as a freshman. Bledsoe wowed the Ole Miss coaching staff in camp this Summer and was given an offer immediately. He appears to be a very raw prospect but is also physical with a relatively high ceiling (and low floor unfortunately). He's likely to redshirt unless the coaches want him on special teams. Either way, I don't see significant contributions coming from him until at least the tail end of year two.
Derrick Jones - 3* - 6'2" 180 - Other Notable Offers: None
Jones is a trendy sleeper pick from this class, having performed very well in the MS/AL All-Star game. He has good hands and is reliable, something that appears to be a trend out wide for this coaching staff. Whether it's by design or not, the recruits signing to play wide receiver at Ole Miss don't have tremendous speed but are instead focused on catching the football and being a threat quarterbacks can count on in tough situations. I would guess it's because the coaching staff would rather have consistency than explosiveness mixed with drops. Obviously, the ideal receiver is both explosive and consistent, but it's difficult to find those.
In any other year, I would suggest that Jones is likely to play early as a rotational player, but I'm not sure that's the case. The Rebel coaches only lost Randall Mackey from the receiving corps, and his skill set isn't something Jones matches. I couldn't find free video of Jones aside from highlights of his sophomore season (which aren't very helpful in evaluations). Suffice it to say, he has potential to be a contributor in the mold of Ja-Mes Logan.
Laquon Treadwell - 5* - 6'3" 200 - Other Notable Offers: Wherever he wanted one from
Laquon Treadwell wasn't really talked about much on national signing day simply because he had already committed to the Rebels. As the #1 receiver in the country, Treadwell has a chance to be really special. I've seen him compared to both Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas and Buffalo Bills WR Steve Johnson, and that appears to be accurate. Treadwell is a physical specimen, but an even bigger strength to his game is how well he does the little things that separate good receivers from great ones.
As much as you can tell this from a highlight video, Treadwell doesn't waste steps, particularly early in his routes. Corners rarely give him anything less than an absurd cushion, and he still regularly beats them on deep routes. His ability after the catch isn't talked enough, and there don't appear to be any glaring flaws in his game. I'm sure the coaches will need to hone his technique a bit, but I fully expect him to challenge for the starting job across from Donte Moncrief, which has an awesome trickle down effect on our receivers. If Treadwell really is good enough to draw double teams, what will opposing defenses do to stop both he and Moncrief, and what does that mean for Ja-Mes Logan and Vincent Sanders getting open underneath? Treadwell's presence could have a significant impact on the team as soon as he steps foot on campus.
Evan Engram - 3* - 6'3" 210 - Other Notable Offers: None
Engram is an intriguing player with a chance (after an almost certain redshirt) to be very good in Hugh Freeze's system. He also has potential to never really make an impact, since there's a chance he's too much of a tweener between receiver and tight end.
Sorry for the short video, but it's the only free video I could find that isn't from three years ago. At the moment, Engram is essentially a big receiver. The question is whether he can grow into a somewhat small but very athletic tight end. That's the hope of the coaches, and it certainly may be possible. I think he has good athleticism and could likely replicate Jamal Mosley's use in this offense. Time will tell.
Christian Morgan - 4* - 6'4" 250 - Other Notable Offers: Arkansas, FSU, Miami
Morgan was originally committed to Florida State but flipped to the Rebels in October. He is currently on campus and will go through Spring with a chance to win the starting job. He's physically ready as a blocker but likely not ready as a receiving threat. Most coaches, if they had to choose one skill set, would rather have a blocker at tight end, so I don't expect his receiving game to damper his chances at the starting job (particularly with only one other tight end on campus). Morgan was signed to be the starter, and he'll certainly be on the field a lot regardless of whether he comes out of the Spring atop the depth chart. The coaches needed someone capable of stepping in and helping the tackles protect against SEC defensive ends, and Morgan fits that mold.
Arshad "AJ" Jackson - 3* - 6'6" 240 - Other Notable Offers: Arkansas, Auburn, FSU, South Carolina, Tennessee
Jackson was committed to Auburn before Gene Chizik's firing. After opening his recruitment back up, most expected he would ultimately end up at Florida State, but Jackson signed with the Rebels on Signing Day and is a huge get for Hugh Freeze. Despite having already locked up one tight end who will likely play as a true freshman, Freeze had to find one more player who could challenge for playing time immediately. Jackson is that player. Jackson's junior season highlights are below.
He is a dynamic player who is both a blocker and receiver. Despite being listed at 240 pounds, Jackson lined up out wide often. He is said to be the complete package and was vital to ensuring the tight end position wouldn't fall off much with the departures of Jamal Mosley, Ferbia Allen, and HR Greer.
Overall, both positions were well-recruited in this class. Several of the receivers have a chance to play this season, and at least two tight ends will HAVE to. Needs were addressed, and depth was built.
Next up: Quarterbacks