USA TODAY Sports
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 eyes. 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. Today we’ll discuss a promising group of new players at what has often been the most-maligned position group for Ole Miss- the defensive secondary.
Nickolas Brassell - 4* - 6’1" 180 - Other notable offers: out of high school, pretty much everywhere.
What’s that? A talented South Panola player with academic issues? Seriously, I don’t know if the administration is to blame or what, but someone is doing these athletes a big disservice. With that sidebar out of the way... Picking Brassell back up is huge; he might be the fastest guy over 6’ in the SEC, and he has the chance to have the biggest year-one impact of anyone in this class. I’ve tempered my expectations for Brassell, but if all goes well, he could be our best corner immediately. Grouped with Sawyer and Golson, Brassell gives us at least 3 really solid SEC corners, something I’m not sure we’ve had in the last 20 years. Having all three on the field at the same time could be a great look for us on passing downs. His potential impact on special teams and even occasionally on offense can’t be understated, either. Of course, he could just fail to qualify. That could happen too. Ultimately, Brassell’s potential impact is one of the biggest swinging points for Ole Miss this season.
Antonio Conner - 4* - 6’2" 202 - Other notable offers: Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee, MSU
After bashing South Panola players’ academic issues just above, I would be remiss to mention here that I haven’t heard anything negative about Tony Conner’s academics. So maybe we have a drama-free, elite prospect on our hands here (knock on wood). The knock on Conner as a prospect is that he might not have great coverage awareness, but what he does have is great size, tremendous closing speed, and the ability to really punish receivers and ballcarriers. Freeze mentioned Conner as a great fit for the Husky position; while I really like Mike Hilton there (and think he’ll still have a role there down the stretch), Conner could really be a difference maker there right away. And though Conner could stick at Husky and be awesome there, he could also improve his coverage skills and move to safety, or gain 20 pounds and move to linebacker. It’s just great to have athletes like Tony on the team. This highlight film is from one game, but it's really the best one I can find.
Bobby Hill - 3* - 6’ 163 - Other notable offers: Tennessee, Kentucky, Purdue, Central Florida, South Florida
Bobby Hill is a lower-profile prospect that I’m extremely happy to have. At 6’, he’s got good height for corner, and looks to have good enough speed and ball skills as well. Apparently he played extensively both ways, actually earning 2nd team All-State honors at receiver (for all classifications) in the Gainesville Times. I really like bringing in guys who have played a lot of corner in high school, and Freeze has done a great job of that. While it’s nice having athletes in the secondary, it seems like the Rebel secondary has often suffered from lack of awareness and blown coverages; recruiting more experienced players there can’t hurt. Freeze mentioned Hill while he was talking about the receivers class; he may get a look there, but you have to think of him as a corner, since he’s listed as such on Rivals and Scout.
David Kamara - 3* - 5’11" 185 - Other notable offers: Clemson, Illinois, MSU, Kentucky, Wake Forest
David Kamara is a player that I am admittedly pulling for. Though some of it was his own doing, behaving like he was a package deal with Robert Nkemdiche really took a lot of the credit away from Kamara as a player. Another guy who actually plays the cornerback position in high school, he appears long-armed and aggressive in coverage. Kamara was selected to play in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, where he was praised as a standout in the secondary; coaches commented not only on his athleticism, but his intelligence and awareness. Again, we need players with intelligence and awareness. Nice highlight video, with bonus butthurt in the comments section.
Quadarias Mireles - 3* - 5’11" 185 - Other notable offers: Oklahoma State, Purdue
Quadarias Mireles was recruited by Houston Nutt out of high school, and has signed again after a detour at Hinds Community College. As is the case with a few other guys, we aren’t sure what position Mireles will play; he was a slot receiver at Hinds, though in high school, he started at cornerback in addition to receiver. With the star-studded receiver class, and with Freeze’s tendency towards taller receivers, we’ll assume he’s bound for the secondary until shown otherwise. Mireles has plenty of speed, and appears to have pretty good hands as well. His quickness and vision may not be ideal for a slot receiver at the highest level.
Freeze and company did a good job with this position group. They were obviously trying to get in on guys like Vernon Hargreaves, Shaq Wiggins, and Jeryl Brazil, but the interest just wasn’t there. Failing to sign a truly elite corner, the staff did a great job of recruiting several guys who can provide depth and quality starts down the road, while Brassell and Conner look to be stars from year one.