Cam Akers, the best high school prospect in the state of Mississippi, was expected to be in Columbus, Ohio this weekend to watch No. 2 Ohio State host No. 3 Michigan. Instead, he’s heading to Oxford to watch a couple of struggling SEC West teams trip over each other for a trophy shaped like an egg.
Multiple outlets, including the Cleveland Plain Dealer, have confirmed that Akers has cancelled his official visit to Columbus and will instead stay close to home to watch Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
On the surface, that’s a major coup for Hugh Freeze, who desperately needs a blue-chip commitment to bolster a 2017 class hampered by poor an ominous NCAA investigation and poor on-field results. (Ten months after hauling in the country’s fifth best class, the Rebels currently sit at No. 55 in the 247Sports rankings.)
As the Plain Dealer points out, this may be nothing more than a scheduling conflict.
It's possible that Akers is visiting a program close to home because his high school team is playing in a playoff game on Friday night. And given Ohio State's game kicks off at noon on Saturday, there's a scheduling conflict, so it may not be time to worry just yet.
Either way, it’s a welcome development for Ole Miss. Beating Mississippi State on Saturday would put the Rebels into a bowl game and provide significant momentum heading into the offseason, particularly with Shea Patterson serving as a beacon of hope for the program’s future. Win the Egg on Saturday and Akers—along with several other key prospects who will be in attendance—could be convinced that there’s longterm stability in Oxford.
Below is the list of official and unofficial visitors that will be joining Akers at the Egg Bowl. There will certainly be other Ole Miss targets in town for the weekend, and once we’re able to confirm them with a non-paywall source, we’ll update this post accordingly.
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite.
4-star Willie Gay
Overall rank: 121
OLB rank: 8
Hometown: Starkville, Miss.
You know the name and you know the story. Gay decommitted from Ole Miss after taking a visit to Michigan. Now, according to his Crystal Ball, it looks like a three team race between the Wolverines, Mississippi State and Ole Miss. Now, the 6’1, 215-pound backer returns to Oxford to see two of his top three compete. Willie has been to Oxford plenty of times, including three weeks in a row earlier this season, and knows good and well how bad the Rebels need him. This cat and mouse game will end soon enough, but does Ole Miss keep chasing him or cut bait and move on to other targets?
4-star Breon Dixon
Overall rank: 239
ILB rank: 29
Hometown: Suwanee, Ga.
The Under Armour All-American from Grayson High School will be making the trip to Ole Miss to hopefully see if he can help out the Landsharks. The 6’0, 218-pound inside linebacker prospect has a ridiculously good offer sheet (Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Miami, TCU, Tennessee and Southern Cal among others) and is currently favoring the Vols and Bulldogs (40 percent each) according to his Crystal Ball. Ole Miss has gotten in the game as of late and now Dixon is saying “Ole Miss is like home to me”. Could Ole Miss be getting a top 250 player at their biggest position of need?
4-star Saahdiq Charles (LSU commit)
Overall rank: 299
OG rank: 16
Hometown: Madison, Miss.
The 6’5, 314-pounder helped Madison Ridgeland Academy get to the title game in Division 1-AAAA and finish this season with a 10-4 record. Charles committed to LSU earlier this year in May and has been pretty steady since then. The big man also plays defensive tackle and Ole Miss could sure use some depth since they will be losing Fadol Brown, Issac Gross, John Youngblood and possibly Marquis Haynes if he decides to go pro. Charles will be on campus to check out the Egg Bowl to also get a look at State who is also looking at.
3-star JUCO D.J. Gillins
Overall rank: 37
DTQB rank: 2
Hometown: Jacksonville, Fla.
The former Wisconsin signee and four-star dual-threat quarterback from the Sunshine State is now spinning it at Pearl River Community College in Poplarville, Miss. The 6’3, 205-pound signal caller is currently committed to SMU and holds offers from Georgia Southern, New Mexico, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Southern Miss and Troy. After receiving an offer last week, Gillins told 247Sports’ Ryan Bartow that he plans to be in town for the showdown for the Golden Egg. Despite being committed to the Mustangs, his Crystal Ball is 100 percent to the Rebels.
3-star Kam White
Overall rank: 445
ATH rank: 11
Hometown: Clinton, Miss.
Akers’ teammate has been committed to Iowa State since August but with renewed interest from Ole Miss, he seems to be weighing his options a bit and will check out Oxford for this weekend’s rivalry game. The 6’2, 203-pound athlete remains committed to the Cyclones but he told the Clarion-Ledger’s Will Sammons that the Rebs are “recruiting me harder” and “see an athlete in me and they told me they could use me on either side of the ball”. And with the struggles Hugh Freeze has seen on the defensive side of the ball, you have to think that White would be a nice addition to the second or third level.
3-star Emanuel Dabney
Overall rank: 645
CB rank: 65
Hometown: Jackson, Miss.
The 6’1, 170-pound prospect from Callaway High School has the frame to play on both sides of the ball but has the skill set that most coaches look for in a cornerback. And he will be in town this weekend to see how the Rebels’ corners look against the Bulldogs. Dabney committed to Mississippi State last year around this time but has since stepped away from his verbal pledge. Now, his Crystal Ball shows a two-way battle between Cincinnati and Ole Miss. He also has offers from Middle Tennessee State, Missouri and Southern Miss.
3-star Ben Brown (Ole Miss commit)
Overall rank: 818
OT rank: 82
Hometown: Vicksburg, Miss.
The big fella from St. Aloysius High School committed in February and has been as solid as they come since. In fact, since committing to the Rebs, he has received offers from Louisiana Tech, Missouri, Southern Miss and Vanderbilt. The 6’6, 290-pounder has unofficially visited Oxford twice this season and has been active on the crootin trail as well for Hugh Freeze. He is sure to be in some people’s ears this weekend.
4-star 2018 Micah Jones
Overall rank: 282
WR rank: 45
Hometown: Gurnee, Ill.
The Prairie State product is a new name that is on the radar for Ole Miss. The 6’5, 200-pound receiver received an offer from Ole Miss back in September and will now be in town for the Egg Bowl this weekend. Jones is a large target who could be next in line behind Donte Moncrief, Laquon Treadwell, Damore’ea Stringfellow, A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf. Notre Dame is the early favorite for his signature according to his Crystal Ball.
4-star 2019 Jerrion Ealy
Overall rank: 36
RB rank: 4
Hometown: Flowood, Miss.
The 5’9, 171-pound running back just finished leading Jackson Prep to a 13-1 season and it’s fifth-straight state title. In the win over Madison Ridgeland Academy, the 2019 product rushed for 114 yards and three touchdowns on only eight carries. Ealy, who is slated to be in town this weekend, finished his sophomore campaign with 966 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns while also snagging 33 receptions for 558 yards and 10 touchdowns. Running backs coach Derrick Nix gave Ealy an offer earlier this summer and he is also being recruited for baseball, too. Although, his Crystal Ball shows 100 percent to Mississippi State right now.