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Ole Miss adds 4 on JUCO National Signing Day 2016

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Three defenders and a quarterback join the the 2017 signing class.

Auburn v Mississippi Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images

It is mid-December and you know what that means: JUCO National Signing Day is finally here. For those of you unaware of this holiday, this is when junior college mid-year transfers can begin signing their letters of intent. They will have until January 15th to decide and enroll at the school of their choosing.

Ole Miss landed signatures from four players on Wednesday after they received an LOI from JUCO quarterback Jordan Ta’amu late in the evening. After decommitting from the Rebels in mid-November, No. 4 weak-side defensive end Markel Winters came back into the fold and signed alongside his teammate, cornerback Javien Hamilton. Linebacker Brenden Williams, who was recently named a three-star and the No. 5 JUCO inside linebacker, committed to the Rebs after his official visit last weekend and made it official on Wednesday.

Ta’amu, the lone offensive signee, turned down attention from others and committed to the Rebs on his official visit as well and is now officially signed. Ranked the No. 3 JUCO dual-threat quarterback, the Hawaiian should provide quality depth behind Jason Pellerin.

This year’s crop is a bit lighter than usual for Ole Miss. Last year, the Rebs signed Josiah Coatney (No. 5 strong-side defensive end) and Detric Bing-Dukes (No. 6 inside linebacker) from the junior college ranks. The Rebels cleaned house in 2014, signing four-star defenders Tony Bridges and D.J. Jones plus a guy named Chad Kelly. This year’s JUCO crop is noticeably lighter, which is undoubtedly due to the lingering NCAA investigation that just won’t go away.

Let's find out a bit more about the four newest Rebels.

Javien Hamilton, CB

ESPN: 4-star

Rivals: 3-star

247 Sports: 3-star

Hamilton committed to Ole Miss over the summer and has stuck with his verbal all the way up to today when the ink dried. Because of the uncertainty surrounding Kendarius Webster’s return and the losses of Tony Bridges, Derrick Jones and Carlos Davis, the secondary is a big piece of the 2017 class for Hugh Freeze. The in-state playmaker will bring an aggressive style to the back end and is a solid get for the Rebs.

How he fits in: The 5’10, 170-pound corner has an impressive combination of length, range and ball skills. He should stay at corner because of his natural ability to go up and get the football in one-on-one situations but he could also play a Mike Hilton-type role close to the line of scrimmage. He is not as long as the aforementioned Bridges, Jones and Webster, but Hamilton can flat-out run and you can’t teach speed.

Markel Winters, WDE

ESPN: 3-star

Rivals: 3-star

247 Sports: 3-star

Winters jumped in the boat shortly after NSD 2016 and decommitted later in the year before ultimately re-upping with the Rebs today. Winters will be a key piece to the defense after missing on five-stars Terrell Hall and Jeffery Simmons in the last cycle and losing Fadol Brown after this season.

How he fits in: It was evident towards the end of the year that the defensive line was wearing down. Winters, who stands solid at 6’5 and 260, will bring some athleticism and girth to an otherwise front four that was full of holes. Winters finished second in the JUCO ranks with 16 sacks in only nine games. Fadol was banged up all year and never his usual disruptive self so an athlete coming off the edge to chase down the quarterback is just what Ole Miss needs.

Brenden Williams, ILB

ESPN: 3-star

Rivals: NR

247 Sports: 3-star

It has been shouted from the rooftops how bad Ole Miss needs linebackers in 2017 and Williams heard the call loud and clear. After officially visiting last weekend, he pulled the trigger and committed on the spot. The countless misses on the crootin trail have really put Freeze in a bind at the second level but Williams could be the answer. He is an exceptionally large fella and Ole Miss needs a thumper in the middle to stop folks from breaking school records on them.

How he fits in: When I say he is large, believe me. Brenden tips the scales at 6’4 and 230-pounds and can run folks down in the open field. He is a tough, physical front seven prospect with plenty of versatility to flex out in coverage and defend against spread offenses. Williams led NEMCC with 91 tackles and Freeze and Co. will be counting on him to do more of the same once he arrives on campus. He will join 11 scholarship backers on the roster and will be looking to take someone’s spot.

Jordan Ta’amu, DTQB

ESPN: 3-star

Rivals: NR

247 Sports: 3-star

Hugh Freeze landed him a quarterback for the 2017 class when Ta’amu committed on his official visit last weekend. The dual-threat from Hawaii resembles both Barry Brunetti and Jason Pellerin and appears to be a solid addition to the offense. Oregon and Utah started to express interest and Ole Miss got aggressive in their recruitment of Ta’amu and after enjoying himself in Oxford, he decided that Ole Miss was the place for him.

How he fits in: The comparison to Brunetti and Pellerin seems to be pretty accurate off the cuff. Ta’amu stands 6’3, 200-pounds (Pellerin size) and is a threat to run in the open field (Brunetti skill set). At New Mexico Military Institute, Jordan carved folks up for 3,190 passing yards and 38 total touchdowns. He has a good-looking frame, is very athletic and flashes elusiveness as a runner. We all know how Freeze loves to use his backup quarterbacks as a designated runner and, well, Ta’amu is the perfect fit for that.