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Drew Richmond signs with Tennessee over Ole Miss

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As expected, the five-star offensive tackle has flipped to the Vols.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

After a quick swirling of mixed reports, five-star offensive tackle Drew Richmond tweeted that he has signed with Tennessee.

The blue chip prospect had been an Ole Miss commit since September, but abruptly decommited on Monday after an official visit to Knoxville. It would seem that Hugh Freeze was able to keep his ear until the last minute -- Richmond delayed his signing for about an hour on Wednesday -- but couldn't keep him in the boat.

This thing turned out to be closer than anticipated, with the Rebels fighting to the last minute. Ole Miss clearly had Richmond's ear late -- he delayed sending in his papers for about an hour on Wednesday morning -- but couldn't undo the damage. The allure of early playing time and struggles on the offensive line last year for Butch Jones were elements that were enticing enough to pull the 6'5, 310-pound lineman away from Oxford.

The loss of Richmond is a major blow for an Ole Miss O-line in desperate need of help. Not only would Richmond have provided quality depth next season, he was thought to be the longterm replacement for star left tackle Laremy Tunsil, who will likely declare for the NFL Draft after the 2015 season. Oh, crootin, how you twist the metaphorical knife.