The holidays are finally here, but the REAL "most wonderful time of the year" is just around the corner. January marks the home stretch of recruiting, when players begin attending the various all-star games and trimming their lists. These games are the last times we'll see these croots on the field until they're dressed out in the college uniform of their choice. Decisions will be announced, highlights will be made, 100 emojis will inundate Twitter and hideously florescent colors will be donned.
On Saturday, croots began arriving in Orlando, Fla. for the first of the major showcases: the Under Armour All-America Game. After a week of practice, the game will air on Jan. 2 (the day after the Sugar Bowl) on ESPN2.
Here's a look at which of those croots are considering Ole Miss.
5-star DL Rashan Gary
The No. 1 player in the country visited Oxford back in November for the LSU game and seems to have a great relationship with coach Chris Kiffin. But, it's going to take a lot to bring the 6'5, 293-pounder down south and away from Ann Arbor, where he seems to be leaning. A lot of people have doubted Kiffin before and he made them all look like fools, but I don't think he can pull this one off.
5-star OL Greg Little (committed)
One person who could help get Gary to Oxford is Little, the No. 1 offensive tackle in the country and the most recent Ole Miss commit. The two have become friends on the crootin circuit and the allure of playing with Little and the rest of the nation's top recruiting class could help sway Gary's mind. Little will be going against Gary and other top-notch defensive linemen all week in practice so look for him to showcase his elite footwork and strength like he did at Nike's The Opening earlier this summer.
5-star DL Benito Jones (committed)
One of the other top-notch defensive lineman Little will have to deal with is the Wrecking Ball from Wayne County. The 6'1, 275-pound Jones has been criticized for being too short, but he makes up for it with incredible pad level and get off at the snap. He'll be a handful for the O-line all week and might also spend some time in Gary's ear.
5-star WR Nate Craig-Myers
It was somewhat of a shock when Craig-Myers listed Ole Miss alongside Auburn and North Carolina in his top three. But his interest seems to be genuine: the 6'2, 205-pounder said he'll be visiting Oxford during the Jan. 29th Crootapalooza. A look at NCM's film shows speed, strength and vision, all of which he'll be putting on display in his home state this week.
5-star DL Terrell Hall
The newly-minted five-star prospect out of Washington, D.C. is a 6'5, 250-pound monster. Think Marquis Haynes but on the Will Grier diet. Hall, who backed out of his verbal pledge to Ohio State in August, has been skyrocketing up crootin boards lately. D.C.'s Gatorade Player of the Year is taking an official visit to Oxford during the Crootapalooza weekend and seems to like Coach Kiffin a lot, but Bama has a pretty large lead at this point. Interesting tid bit: Hall is good friends with current Ole Miss short stop, Errol Robinson, who is an alum of St. John's College.
4-star WR A.J. Brown
Mr. Brown has been the cause of a lot of turmoil for Ole Miss fans this crootin season. Will he follow "big bro" Laquon Treadwell to Oxford and pair with four-star receiver commit D.K. Metcalf? Will he succumb to hometown pressure and stay in Starkville to help Dan Mullen revive his billboard campaign? Or will he travel east to Tuscaloosa and try and be the next Julio Jones or Amari Cooper? The longer this goes on, the better chance Hugh Freeze and Co. have. With that said, I'm not holding my breath: If you asked me today, I'd say he picks Bama.
4-star WR Drake Davis
Two months ago I felt Davis was a lock, but now I'm not so sure. Since the 6'4, 215-pounder named the Rebels his leader in October, Grant Heard has been entertaining the idea of other receivers coming to Oxford and he has been looking more towards Baton Rouge. Davis, who is originally from the Red Stick, is a big fan of Les Miles and could decide to return home. On the flip side, he spent a year at IMG Academy building a friendship with Ole Miss QB commit Shea Patterson.
4-star DB Nigel Knott
The Madison Mystery Man is a solid nickname for Knott because no one really knows where the hell he's going. The 6'0, 170-pound playmaker has mentioned Alabama, Florida State, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Oregon the most, though at this point, I'd predict him to leave the Magnolia State and head to Tuscaloosa. He will have his hands full this week against these bigger, stronger receivers as most people want him to prove he can handle it.
4-star DB Shyheim Carter
The 6'0, 190-pound ball hawk visited Oxford multiple times this fall and is close friends with Shea Patterson. Carter, a former Alabama commit, has several Power 5 offers and seems to really like Ole Miss and Georgia. The speedster has been pretty quiet as of late, but I think Freeze has a good shot to land Mr. Carter on Signing Day. Shy fits the mold of "big corner with athleticism and length" that Jason Jones covets.
4-star DB Deontay Anderson
Freeze's staff has made a point to increase their footprint in the Lone Star State: they have four commits from Texas and have made pursuing Anderson a priority. He first burst onto the scene when he interrupted a Shea Patterson interview and was pretty coy about who he likes. After naming Ole Miss his leader in November, the 6'1, 192-pound safety with superb ball skills and speed has kept a low profile. In my
professional opinion, he's Ole Miss' to lose.
4-star DB Carlos Becker
The 6'3, 180-pound cornerback from Kissimmee, Fla. recently scheduled an official visit to Oxford for Crootapalooza and seems to have a steady top four of Florida State, N.C. State, Ole Miss and Wisconsin. Becker seems to fit that big corner mold that Jason Jones and Dave Wommack have been recruiting: a rangy playmaker with the length and athleticism to handle big receivers on the outside or tight ends in the box. Becker is a new name to pop up and in my opinion, that usually means good things.