Last year, it was the weekend that saw Robert Nkemdiche, Laquon Treadwell, Laremy Tunsil, and Austin Golson - among many others - in Oxford at the same time. This year, it's more of the same, as Hugh Freeze and staff have re-utilized the strategy of having all of their biggest commitments and prospects take an official visit to the Ole Miss campus just weeks before signing day. The strategy in doing so, as far as we can guess, is to simulate as best as possible an actual team-like environment - have as many of the potential incoming freshmen in town together as you can in order to allow them to develop friendships, spend time together, and even recruit each other in the case of those who are already solidly committed to the Rebs.
This weekend, of course, drives paranoid 'crootin conspiracy theorists absolutely crazy, and will inevitably produce a series of unintentionally amusing rumors of illegal inducements and generally immoral behavior. "THEY'RE ALL AT THE LIBRARY AT THAT DAMN DJ. MARIO PARTY JUST TOSSING AROUND MONEY AND DRUGS!"
That, my friends, is how you know it works. Here's the list of the visitors this weekend as far as we can gather:
Rod Taylor | OG - The Callaway product is committed to Ole Miss and is consistently rated as a top three offensive guard nationally. For a team struggling at guard, Ole Miss has gone a long way to solve that problem with Taylor's commitment. He was wanted by just about everyone nationally.
Sammie Epps | TE - Sammie Epps drew a lot of publicity when he decommitted from Ole Miss after an outstanding MS/AL All-Star game. He recently recommitted and is ranked by Scout.com as the #10 tight end nationally.
Breeland Speaks | DL - Speaks has emerged as one of the top defensive line prospects in the Southeast, as the Jackson native (and teammate of the aformenteiond Rod Taylor) and Ole Miss commitment recently picked up an LSU offer. Growing up an LSU fan, Speaks called this offer a "dream" of his [link to twitter], leading many Ole Miss fans to worry that the four-star end could flip from the Rebs to the Tigers. He did not do so during his recent LSU visit, however, meaning that this weekend is key to firming up his pledge to his home state's flagship program.
Kendarius Webster | CB - Kendarius Webster is the type of player who has eluded Ole Miss in the past. He's a four-star corner with legitimate offers from all over the place. For whatever reason, Ole Miss never ever signs those guys.. In this case, Webster has committed and isn't visiting any other school. It's a big deal.
Garrald McDowell | DE/DT - McDowell is an Ole Miss commitment from Louisiana and reports an LSU offer. It's debatable whether it was a "committable" offer when they gave it to him, but it's almost certainly committable at this point since they are desperately searching for defensive linemen. McDowell appears pretty firm in his Ole Miss commitment though, which is great news for someone who really showed strongly at the Under-Armour All-American game.
Sean Rawlings | C - Listed at 6'5", 275 pounds, Rawlings will likely visit Ole Miss in spite of both being a Mississippi State commit and not yet having a reported Ole Miss offer (or maybe he has?). He grew up a Rebel fan, however, so if he were offered it could make a difference in his recruitment.
Jordan Sims | OG - Jordan Sims is from Alabama and would likely jump at an Auburn or Alabama offer. Those offers don't appear to be likely to manifest themselves. It looks like Ole Miss might land the guy, rounding out a pretty formidable offensive line class.
Isaiah McKenzie | WR - McKenzie is an uncommitted prospect who is an undersized scat-backish type of player. He's referred to by teammates as a "human joystick," which doesn't make all that much sense if you really think about it, but whatever. It appears to be down to Ole Miss, Florida, and Oregon. It's good to get a visit. Let's hope it goes well.
Terrence Alexander | CB - Alexander is a three star cornerback who is down to Ole Miss, Stanford, and Notre Dame for his commitment. He has prototypical cornerback measurements (5'10", 180 pounds, 4.45 forty) and is a guy the Rebel coaches have been after for a while. Weekends like this are definitely for the Terrence Alexander's on the list - guys who are presumably leaning our way but haven't yet made their decision.
Demarques Gates | LB - Yet another Ole Miss commit who will serve as a bit of a recruiter himself this weekend, Gates is a bit of a forgotten blue chip prospect for this class because he's been committed for so long. Gates is rated as a four-star prospect by some services, and boasts offers from Tennessee, Oklahoma State and others.
Chris Williams | DT - A 6'1", 287 pound defensive tackle out of Georgia, Williams has been committed to the Rebs for a while now, but hasn't actually taken an official visit.
Alvin Moore | S/LB - Alvin Moore is really fast. Like... really fast. As in, nearly as fast as Kailo Moore. He's committed to Ole Miss and will sign with the Rebels.
Victor Evans | DE - Evans had a Texas offer and still chose Ole Miss (despite being from Texas). He plays for the same high school that Devante Kincade attended, and was a wrecking ball all year. I want to say I read he led the state of Texas in sacks as a senior. Don't quote me on that though. Regardless, he's a pass-rusher and fills a huge need.
DK Buford | RB - The Lafayette County Commodore has been committed to Ole Miss for, what, a year or something now? Buford is stocky and speedy, and could see time at halfback, in the slot, or in a special teams role for the Rebels - if not all of the above at some point. He, like a few others on the list, will be on campus to act as recruiters themselves, convincing the uncommitted standouts to join them in the red and blue.
Michael Sawyers | DT - With James Franklin leaving Vanderbilt (THANK YOU BABY JESUS) for Penn State, the Commodore recruiting class has fallen apart tremendously over the past few weeks. Enter Michael Sawyers, a DT out of Nashville who dropped his Vandy pledge and will visit Ole Miss this weekend. He also has a Georgia Tech visit under his belt, but we're probably teh favorites in this one.
Tyler Putman | OT - An Ole Miss commit from Southaven, Putman is a 6'5", 260 pound prospect who should add depth at the tackle position for the future. He's solid to the Rebs, so he's in town to just enjoy the recruiting experience.
Charles Standberry | TE - Listed by scout as a "soft verbal" to Ole Miss (let the speculation begin!), Standberry is a tight end in the Evan Engram/Sammie Epps mold. He's 6'4', and just 213 pounds, suggesing that he's more of a big receiver than a tight end. With Ole Miss suddenly finding itself in a good position at that position for the foreseeable future, it's not surprising to see that Standberry might be looking elsewhere.
Dacorius Law | ATH - Here's a 5'10", 185 pound two-way star who could see time at halfback or defensive back at the next level. He's currently a UCF commit, but has garnered some attention from other schools lately, including Utah, Tennessee, and Ole Miss. It'll be interesting to see where Law ends up.
Calvin Moore | CB - The other half of the Moore duo, Calvin is a speedy defensive back (allegedly timed at running just under a 4.4 which, if true, is stupid fast) who could play corner or safety at the next level. He and his brother have been talked about by readers of the Cup as a potential pair of sleepers for this class [link to tuesday q], primarily due to their unreal athleticism.
Dayall Harris | WR - Another Callaway standout Ole Miss commitment, Harris has visited Oxford plenty of times over the past year. He'll be joining his high school teammates this weekend and, ideally, working to solidify their commitments (lookin' at you, Breeland).
Gary Wunderlich | K - A kicker named Wunderlich. It doesn't get much more "kicker" than that. Gary's one of the top high school specialists, and has been committed to the Rebs for a while now.
Akeem Judd | RB - Judd is the big-bodied halfback fans have been itching for in this class. The prep school (Georgia Military College) product is 5'11" and 219 pounds, and runs north-to-south very effectively. He's committed to Ole Miss and claims offers from Arkansas, Tennessee, and Auburn.
Ty Smith | TE - Ty Smith committed to Georgia out of high school, then found himself at Georgia Military College. He and his teammate, Rebel commit Akeem Judd, will be together this weekend in Oxford.
Of course these details are all subject to change. Some players might commit. Some might not show. Some might receive offers. Et cetera, et cetera. We'll keep an eye out for anything that y'all might be interested in, but in the mean time just utilize the comments section to banter on and let us know what details we missed.