Hugh Freeze is starting Flipmas early. Four-star offensive lineman Royce Newman, who's been pledged to Mizzou since June, followed up his official visit to Oxford by announcing his commitment to Ole Miss. The news comes hours after four-star wideout Tre Nixon, who was on campus with Newman over the weekend, also committed to the Rebs.
UDPATE: Newman has officially sent in his LOI. He's a Rebel.
Newman, who's rated as the No. 14 offensive tackle in the country by Scout, announced his decision. Newman chose the Rebs over offers from Missouri, NC State, Nebraska, Georgia, Illinois and Penn State. That Ole Miss was able to pry the Illinois native away from another SEC program that is close to his home is big-time and speaks volumes of what offensive line coach Matt Luke has been able to do on the recruiting trail.
How does he fit in?
Ole Miss is desperately thin at offensive tackle after the departures of Laremy Tunsil and Fahn Cooper, but the additions of current commits Greg Little, Bryce Mathews and Jake DeFoor could push Newman to redshirt as a freshman. That's not a bad thing at all, since Newman is relatively new to the position and still needs to bulk up and work on his pass blocking.
Still, the 6'7, 268-pounder has the size and athleticism to be an SEC contributor somewhere down the line. He's a natural run blocker who can overpower defenders with his size. A converted tight end, Newman is the most athletically gifted lineman in this class (and we know that Hugh Freeze likes to throw to his offensive tackles). As a senior at Nashville Community High School, he played both ways, showing quickness off the edge as a defensive end and a tenacious attitude when on the offensive line.