Four-star running back D'Vaughn Pennamon has been committed to Ole Miss since July, but that hasn't kept him from looking around at other schools. He took an official visit to Tuscaloosa last weekend, a trip that came days after Nick Saban showed up at Pennamon's high school to check on him. That got folks' attention, as Saban doesn't drop in on recruits that often.
Make no mistake, Bama is putting some weight into flipping Pennamon.
The late pressure probably has something to do with concerns that B.J. Emmons, the Tide's lone running back commit, won't qualify academically. With Heisman winner Derrick Henry on his way to the League, Saban can't take any chances with restocking the running back position.
"I feel like they're making me a high priority," Pennamon told Drew Champlin of AL.com. "They just lost two guys and they need a couple of guys. The opportunity is there."
Here's the good news though: Pennamon emerged from Tuscaloosa still committed to the Rebels and he'll be taking his official visit to Oxford this weekend for Crootapalooza.
5-star Juarez says Ole Miss, UCLA and Bama are "even"
Pennamon isn't the only target Saban is after: the Tide continued their push for Mique Juarez during what the uncommitted five-star linebacker called an "indescribable" official visit over the weekend. He told Chris Kirschner of SEC Country after the trip that Alabama is now even with Ole Miss and UCLA in his top three.
"It was a really good decision," Juarez said of his trek to Tuscaloosa. "Alabama wasn't in it because I had never taken a trip out there. After this weekend, it was (an) unforgettable time out here."
Saban almost immediately followed up with an in-home visit:
Great home visit wit coach Saben! #RollTide pic.twitter.com/zxHcZ1311D— Student/Athlete (@MiqueJ) January 25, 2016
The silver lining in Juarez's growing interest in Bama is that it shows a willingness to leave his home state of California. The country's top linebacker prospect told Kirschner that he has his parents' blessing to go wherever he wants: "They don't mind me going to Ole Miss or Alabama at all. Being far away from home is not an issue to them."
It remains to be seen if Ole Miss can get Juarez to Oxford for Crootapalooza for an unofficial visit, because it would require his family to pay their own way.
Another LB will be in Oxford this weekend.
Given their desperate need at linebacker, the Rebels aren't putting all of their eggs in one basket. Keith Simms, a three-star from the Washington, D.C. suburbs, will be in Oxford this weekend for an official visit.
The 6'3, 225-pounder played linebacker and tight end at The Landon School and was all over the field on both sides of the ball. A versatile player, he can put his hand down and be a force off the edge or stand up and cover receivers in space. Simms has already officially visited Maryland, North Carolina, Oregon and Virginia Tech.
4-star WR skips his visit to Knoxville
SEC Country's Dave Hooker reports that four-star wide receiver Mykel Jones was scheduled to take an official visit to Knoxville this past weekend but instead chose to stay home. If that means Tennessee has been dropped from his top three, Ole Miss and Bama are the only two left standing.
Having already taken an official visit to Bama earlier in January, the 6'0, 180-pounder from Patterson, La. has one more trip remaining: Oxford for Crootapalooza. Mykel hosted Hugh Freeze this week for an in-home visit and is also close with Ole Miss quarterback commit Shea Patterson (Jones' profile pic on Twitter is the two of them). We here at the Cup believe the Rebels are in good position to land Mr. Jones' signature if all goes well on his official visit.
4-star Davis puts Ole Miss in his top 2
Four-star wide receiver Quartney Davis visited Ole Miss last weekend for his official visit and things obviously went well.
Ole Miss visit was GREAT! #HottyToddy @OleMissFB— Quartney Davis (@queee_2) January 24, 2016
After returning home to Houston, Davis announced that Ole Miss and Texas A&M were his top two schools heading into the final week before Signing Day. Davis has taken officials to Ole Miss and Oklahoma and will be in College Station this weekend.
After Davis announced his top two, however, Hugh Freeze and Co. got a commitment from four-star receiver Tre Nixon, a development that could sway Davis towards Texas A&M. With the aforementioned Mykel Jones interested and big-time target A.J. Brown still a possibility, the receiver spots at Ole Miss could be filling up soon.
Official visit highlights
Davis wasn't the only one in town for his official visit to Oxford. There were others who made the trip to Ole Miss and they all seemed to have a good time.
Ole Miss running back commit Justin Connor confirmed via Twitter that he was told by the Ole Miss coaches that he would be playing defense at Ole Miss, but that didn't put a damper on things at all. In fact, the Rebel staff made sure that Connor was eating good while in Oxford over the weekend.
Official visit in thE O pic.twitter.com/evn2rB4Dr5— Justin Connor (@jconnor_3) January 22, 2016
Along with Connor, Ole Miss commit and offensive lineman Chandler Tuitt was in town as well and had a chance to get in front of the famous Ole Miss Sports Production cameras. He didn't disappoint.
Bruh I'm just wilding out pic.twitter.com/kHF5btPLtJ— Tuitt_7⃣0⃣ (@Chandler_70) January 25, 2016
Although he arrived a day late, new Ole Miss commit Tre Nixon didn't take long to pull the trigger after enjoying his time in Oxford. He made sure to see how it felt to put on the red jersey and got the obligatory "mom and Hugh Freeze" pic.
HOTTY TODDY!! pic.twitter.com/Xc3vO9wyLr— Tre Nixon (@tre_nixon1) January 25, 2016