There’s a common theme in Cam Akers’ recent interview with Barton Simmons of 247Sports. The nation’s No. 2 running back prospect wants to see the field early.
Akers, a five-star from Clinton, Miss., noted that the impending departure of star Florida State running back Dalvin Cook makes Tallahassee an enticing option. Same for Knoxville, where the early exit of either Alvin Kamara or Jalen Hurd could open playing time as a freshman. With Derrius Guice expected to leave after next season, LSU could allow Akers to “get my feet wet a little bit and play behind him that first year and then the next year take over..." He said he likes Alabama because no one has stepped up as a Derrick Henry-like bell cow.
If becoming The Guy as quickly as possible is as important to Akers as it seems, that could be good news for Ole Miss. None of the teams mentioned need a back as desperately as the Rebels.
"I feel like based on what I saw and what they've told me, they can use a running back,” Akers said. “They need a running back very dearly. I've paid attention to a couple of their games.”
In those games, Akers probably noticed an inconsistent ground attack that’s had stops and starts. A group that seemed to be turning the corner took a step back against Arkansas, posting a rushing efficiency rate of just 38 percent. The team’s leading rusher, Akeem Judd, graduates after this season, which will leave current junior Jordan Wilkins and current freshmen Eric Swinney and D’Vaughn Pennamon as the primary competition on the roster. Akers would have a real shot to carve out significant carries as a freshman, if not become the feature back outright.
Working against the Rebs is their pass-happy offense, which has thrown the ball on 55 percent of its snaps this season. That’s the 17th highest rate in the nation and the highest in the SEC. Still, you’d expect that rate to drop considerably next season with freshman Shea Patterson replacing Chad Kelly, particularly if Hugh Freeze has a back like Akers to hand off to.
The recently selected Army All-American continued to show off his otherworldly athleticism last Friday against Northwest Rankin (Miss.), running for 155 yards and three scores on just 13 carries. Akers, who plays quarterback for Clinton, added another three touchdowns through the air and even notched his first defensive score with this 76-yard pick-six:
As for the NCAA storm clouds, Akers is concerned, but Oxford’s proximity to his hometown of Clinton offsets that to some degree.
“[Ole Miss] is home,” he told Simmons. “The NCAA thing, nobody knows what's going to happen with those so that's a big question mark but it's definitely still home."
Andy Kennedy hosted a three-star hoops croot last weekend.
After getting a huge commitment from four-star Devontae Shuler last week, AK hosted another croot this past weekend. The 6’7, 160-pound wing from Washington, D.C. attends Massanutten Military Academy in Virginia and plays in the summer with DC Premier. The long, talented forward currently holds offers from Cincinnati, Florida International, Memphis and the Rebs.
Check his tape:
The No. 1 JUCO D-end has Ole Miss in his top seven.
Five-star Isaiah Buggs either likes a lot of schools or just really enjoys using Apple’s Notes app. He’s released multiple favorites lists, the most recent coming after the Louisiana native said he was going to start “thinking about things differently” in the wake of Les Miles’ firing. The new list, which Buggs tweeted over the weekend, still includes the Rebs.
Schools that I will be taking a closer look into❗️❗️ (No Order) pic.twitter.com/buualPDNIc— Isaiah Buggs (@BigPooh_91) October 16, 2016
That list is similar to previous ones, with the only additions being Miami and Texas A&M. I think LSU is still in the drivers seat with Alabama and Ole Miss fighting for second place.
Through seven games, the nation’s No. 1 JUCO weak-side DE has 48 tackles, 7.5 sacks, six tackles for loss and two pass breakups.
Baseball America ranks Ole Miss’ crootin class No. 1.
After being ousted from their own regional in embarrassing fashion, Mike Bianco and Co. got back to work in a hurry on the crootin trail and it paid off in a big way. Baseball America took notice.
This comes a few weeks after Collegiate Baseball ranked the Rebs No. 2 and Perfect Game included five Ole Miss commits in its top 30 national prospects. Ole Miss has seven croots from the Baseball America Top 500, more than any other school in the country. Bianco and assistants Mike Clement and Carl Lafferty closed on what is the best recruiting class ever assembled at Swayze Field. The last time the Rebs had anything close to this was in 2011, when Bianco brought in the core of his College World Series team (Auston Bousfield, Chris Ellis, Josh Laxer and Sikes Orvis).
Perfect Game’s Frankie Pilfer recently stopped by Oxford to watch fall scrimmage and noted that a lot of these elite signees will be immediate contributors.