January marks the home stretch of recruiting, when the dead period is finally over and players begin attending all-star games and trimming their list of favorites. These games are the last times we'll see ‘croots on the field until they're dressed out in the college uniform of their choice. Decisions will be announced, highlights will be made, 100 emojis will inundate Twitter and hideously florescent colors will be donned.
The first of the major all-star games come on New Years Day in Orlando, Fla., where some of the nation’s top prospects have congregated for the Under Armour All-America Game. And while Ole Miss’ down year in recruiting means it doesn’t have as many elite targets suiting up as it has in years past, there are still some big names that have the Rebels on their list of finalists.
Let’s take a quick look at how you can tune in, then dive into the players you should be watching come Jan. 1.
How to watch online
Time: Noon CT
Online: Watch ESPN
Targets to watch
4-star ILB Breon Dixon
Dixon is one of Ole Miss’ top remaining targets, as he could immediately fill a major need at linebacker, as he has the size and skill set to flourish in Wesley McGriff new 4-3 defense. Dixon was committed to Georgia once upon a time but has since re-opened his recruitment and appears to be down to Louisville and Ole Miss. He’ll make his pick live during the Under Armour game.
4-star ILB Ellis Brooks
One of the newest targets on the crootin trail for Ole Miss, Brooks is a big inside backer from Virginia who was previously committed to Duke. The 6’2, 233-pounder, who’s exceptionally athletic for his size, picked up a Rebel offer this week while in Orlando. The Benedictine College Preparatory product has official visits lined up with Notre Dame, Oregon and Maryland, the last of which is thought to be the favorite.
4-star CB Chevin Calloway
The former Iowa commit from Texas told Gridiron Now he is down to the Longhorns, Arkansas and Ole Miss but told Gridiron Now earlier this week that “Ole Miss is higher.”
It’s what Calloway told SB Nation, though, that’s more interesting. While discussing his recent conversation with Hugh Freeze about the NCAA investigation, the country’s No. 12 cornerback prospect made the offhand comment that he knows “they’re looking at maybe a bowl suspension [for 2017].” While Rebel fans have known that punishment was possible for some time, Freeze warning recruits of the possibility would suggest its an even more imminent threat. On the flip side, that could just be something Calloway heard from rival recruiters or inferred himself.
Either way, the 5’10, 180-pound has impressed in practice this week against some of the country’s top wideouts.
4-star OT Tony Gray
Dixon’s high school teammate is somewhat of a new name on the trail but only because he has been pretty reserved with where his recruitment stands. The Ole Miss Spirit’s Yancy Porter reported that the 6’5, 290-pounder will take an official visit to Oxford in January, giving offensive line coach Matt Luke an opportunity to make an impression. Say what you want about the guy, but Luke sure can reel ‘em in: he’s hauled in two five-stars and four four-stars since 2012.
Luke will have his hands full trying to peel Gray away from Georgia and Florida, but getting the No. 24 offensive tackle on campus less than a month before signing day is certainly a start.
4-star S Todd Harris
The Louisiana product is LSU’s to lose, but Ole Miss is staying on him until Signing Day. Harris maintains that he’ll visit all of his top three—the Tigers, Rebels and Crimson Tide—before making a decision. Stealing the 6’0, 180-pound safety out of the Pelican State would certainly improve an Ole Miss defense that was susceptible to big plays in 2016.