Five-star linebacker Mique Juarez, who's whittled down his top three to Ole Miss, UCLA and Alabama, will swing through Tuscaloosa this weekend before closing out his official visits with a trip to BYU the last weekend before National Signing Day. So where does this put the Rebels in Juarez's pecking order?
In my opinion, Juarez is still a toss-up between Ole Miss and UCLA. Bama is on the outside looking in, though his trip to Tuscaloosa -- where he'll look at that shiny new national championship trophy and a long list of first-round NFL linebackers -- could change things.
But isn't it a bad sign that Juarez isn't coming back to Oxford for the big final weekend? Not exactly. Juarez already took his official visit to Ole Miss for the LSU game, meaning any return trip would be unofficial ... and on his family's dime. Mississippi isn't exactly a cheap trip from California.
In this week's podcast, we discussed the idea that Juarez's trip to Tuscaloosa could be viewed as a good thing for Ole Miss fans. If he really is deciding between the Rebs and Bruins, anything that gets him away from Cali will help, and his interest in Bama at least proves he's not tied to the West Coast. It's certainly interesting that he never took an official visit to UCLA and is instead choosing to spend his final visit weekend at BYU.
Decisions decisions.Feb3rd is just around the corner. My choice is 14 days away... Tick tock.. I'm ready are you? ✍ pic.twitter.com/mEqam83lOv— Mique (@miquejuarez3) January 21, 2016
The early enrollees have arrived
Eight mid-year enrollees, including five-star quarterback Shea Patterson and five-star defensive tackle Benito Jones, reported to Oxford on Thursday to sign financial aide agreements and start freshman orientation.
The group also includes four-star defensive end Charles Wiley, four-star athlete Greg Eisworth, three-star linebacker Donta Evans, three-star defensive back Myles Hartsfield, three-star O-lineman Eli Johnson, and three-star tight end Gabe Angel.
Technically, enrolling doesn't lock any of these guys into a commitment -- they can't sign binding Letters of Intent until National Signing Day on Feb. 3. Once they step foot in a classroom on Monday, however, the standard one-year transfer rule would apply to them were they to change their minds.
Rebel commit David Luafatasaga is visiting Cal
If the Rebs can't haul in Mique Juarez, things will officially be desperate at the linebacker position. Which is why landing Luafatasaga, a four-star JUCO prospect who could immediately compete for a starting job, is critical. It's not great news, then, that a week after visiting Utah, he'll be on campus in Berkeley this weekend. It seems the Hawaiian native is shopping for Pac-12 schools closer to home. The good news is that the Rebs will get the last word: Luafatasaga will be in Oxford for Crootapalooza next weekend and it will be his first trip ever to the Velvet Ditch.
4-star Willie Allen commits to LSU
Ole Miss was technically among the candidates when the nation's second-ranked offensive tackle (by ESPN at least) chose the Tigers over a list that also included TCU and Auburn, but Hugh Freeze had reportedly already pulled himself out of the running.
Willie Allen says Ole Miss informed him last week they were filled at tackle position.— Rod Walker (@rwalkeradvocate) January 21, 2016
Allen has been speculated to be an LSU lean for months, and with five-star Greg Little and four-star Bryce Mathews solidly committed, Freeze didn't waste resources chasing a guy who lives an hour-and-a-half's drive from Baton Rouge.
Rebel coaches have been busy on the crootin trail
5-star DL Terrell Hall
5-star DL Jonathan Kongbo
4-star RB D'Vaughn Pennamon (commit)
Great home visit from coach freeze pic.twitter.com/xl3M1s3CfS— Jack Frost ❄️⛄️ (@mavnation_blu) January 20, 2016
4-star OL Bryce Mathews (commit)
4-star LB Keith Simms
Ole Miss family... pic.twitter.com/v543cgmlSf— KS (@kpsyo) January 21, 2016
4-star DL Kobe Jones
4-star DL Chris Daniels
3-star RB Jarrion Street (commit)
Great in home visit with my future coaches! Hotty Toddy pic.twitter.com/TiZfAiYjCe— Jarrion Street (@JSTREET_) January 16, 2016
Rivals names D.K. Metcalf an "instant impact" player
The Army Bowl wasn't kind to Metcalf's stock. The four-star Ole Miss receiver commit struggled against elite corners and dropped passes in practices, then failed to notch a catch during the game itself (in fairness, his team's quarterback's were inconsistent all day).
But one bad week wasn't enough to deter Adam Friedman and Blair Angulo of Rivals, who chose D.K. as the 2016 prospect most likely to have an immediate impact in the SEC.
Metcalf is one of the most physically imposing wide receivers in this class. He is every bit the 6-foot-5 he is listed at and there is still room to add weight to his frame if needed. Metcalf's size and overall speed will give defensive coordinators nightmares and make the Rebel quarterbacks think they're in heaven. As long as the Ole Miss coaches can make sure Metcalf's hands get more consistent, he should fit right into the offense.