It was no mystery that one of Ole Miss' biggest struggles last season was in the trenches. No matter what the combination of bodies on the offensive line was, it just never seemed to work. Aside from big games against Mississippi State and Presbyterian (lol), the Rebels couldn't manage much on the ground.
Fast forward to June and the Rebels are doing whatever it takes to rectify their issues blocking would be tacklers in order to successfully run the ball. Na'Ty Rodgers, a former four-star offensive lineman and South Carolina Gamecock is a 6'5, 290-pound Under Armour All-American who is now bulldozing folks at Iowa Western Community College. After leaving South Carolina, Rodgers is clearly intrigued by what Hugh Freeze and Matt Luke have to offer.
Rodgers is equally as impressive in run AND pass support. He has an adequate frame that can hold plenty of mass while maintaining his agility as to potentially be a bookend left tackle. It appears that the Rebels are recruiting him to replace the future first rounder, Laremy Tunsil. He will be in Oxford this weekend to scope out what's what and he will not be alone.
Almost at ole miss— Ty (@Ty_Cinco_Uno_) June 4, 2015
More OL help from a familiar place
From the same place that has produced Rebel signees Mike Hilton, Chris Williams and Eric Swinney, there's another top-flight croot in the 2016 class from Sandy Creek High School that has Hugh Freeze's attention. Chandler Tuitt, a 6'3, 294-pound offensive guard, told Rivals.com's Woody Wommack that he is very interested in Ole Miss. The young man from Tyrone, Ga. lists the proximity to home as a strength for the Rebels as well as a short drive for his grandparents who live in the Magnolia State.
Despite his lanky stature, Tuitt has the tools to develop into an every down offensive lineman in the SEC. Tuitt flashes great pad level coming off the ball and has the long arms needed to hold defensive linemen at bay. The Sandy Creek rising senior does have that "mean streak" that coaches look for as he is not afraid to mix it up inside. The somewhat skinny frame compared to what most linemen look like seems to be a trend with Matt Luke and his recruiting of late due to the fact that Ole Miss is really looking to push tempo this season and beyond. Tuitt says he is paying the most attention to the Rebels, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Ohio State.
Shea Patterson returns to Oxford with a guest
The newly-minted No. 2 overall player in the 2016 class according to Rivals.com will also be in Oxford this weekend. Patterson will be stopping by Oxford, Miss. before he heads to Los Angeles, Calif. to compete in the 2015 Elite 11 Competition. After committing to Ole Miss in February, Patterson has moved up in the rankings twice and it is not out of the realm of possibility following an impressive showing at camps this summer and a solid senior season that he become the No. 1 overall player in the class.
Visiting Oxford with Patterson is a name that Ole Miss fans need to familiarize themselves with: Deontay Anderson. It is no surprise that the four-star safety has become close with Patterson as this is becoming a trend with most blue-chip prospects that Patterson comes in contact with. The 6'1, 192-pound safety is making no bones about it that he is interested and after seeing the Rebels just put two more defensive backs in the NFL, they definitely have his attention.
The link up tomorrow @SheaPatterson_1— Deontay Anderson (@DTRAIN__) June 3, 2015
Starkville duo is taking notice
Hugh Freeze has been known to go all over the place to find croots. Well, knowing this, you know he's not going to shy away from going into enemy territory to pluck away talent. Starkville High School's dynamic duo of three-star DL Kobe Jones and four-star OLB WIllie Gay seem to be paying attention to Freeze and Ole Miss just as much.
Jones could be joining an already stud defensive-line class with four-stars Benito Jones and Charles Wiley already committed. At 6'4 and 265, he already has a capable frame that would be lethal off the edge for defensive line coach Chris Kiffin. Gay would be looking to crack the second level for Dave Wommack and the Landshark defense. The 6'2, 205-pound rangy defender is right in Womack's wheelhouse as far as Husky and Rover defenders go. With Tony Conner more than likely skipping his senior season for the NFL draft, Gay could step right in and pick up right where he left off.
Peach State DT has a "GREAT" time in Oxford
Hugh Freeze is making a habit of snagging top notch croots from Georgia and there are no signs of him slowing down. Four-star DT Antwuan Jackson stopped by Ole Miss recently and looked to be having a good time. The 6'2, 285-pound U.S. Army All-American made it very clear that he is developing a friendship with Freeze early in the recruiting process.
The athletic defender from Ellenwood, Ga. and Cedar Grove High School is still a bit raw, but is quite the impressive prospect when you take a gander at his film. Despite the height concerns that might scare some coaches away, Jackson's long arms give him the versatility to possibly play either DE or DT at the next level.
Another Lone Star in the secondary?
Four-star cornerback and kick returner Jaylon Jones of Allen, Tex. released a top six via Twitter this week and Ole Miss made the cut. With Freeze and Co. hot in pursuit of Anderson along with a bevy of other Texas croots, the Allen High School croot has become a priority for defensive backs coach Jason Jones. Standing 5'11 and weighing in around 182-pounds, Jones possesses remarkable speed (4.40 40-yard dash) that is imperative to have when covering receivers over the middle and when beating the kicker to the sideline to return a punt for a touchdown.
Top 6 (Alphabetical Order) ------------- Auburn Ohio State Ole Miss TCU Texas A&M USC -------------— Jaylon Jones (@TheJaylonJones) June 1, 2015
As you can see with his top six, along with offers from just about every other Power 5 school, Jones is a hot commodity for everybody. It's no surprise because of his size and speed combination that he is so coveted by crooters. Despite standing only 5'11, Jones is a very stout defender and high points the ball well when it is up for grabs. He might remind Ole Miss fans of Senquez Golson with his center fielder, ball-hawking mentality. Another thing that makes Jones an intriguing prospect is the ability to return kicks. And we have all seen that journey "unfold" beautifully over the past couple seasons.