After securing a commitment from offensive lineman Lavante Epson, Hugh Freeze and his staff are keeping it going with a verbal pledge via Twitter from defensive back Devin Rockette. Ole Miss now has eight commits in the 2017 class, three from the Magnolia State.
Rockette is not a highly-regarded prospect. Unrated by 247Sports, Scout and ESPN (Rivals has him as a three-star), the Oxford High corner is still waiting for an offer from a school not named Ole Miss.
(UPDATE: Rockette has been rated a three-star cornerback, the No. 73rd ranked cornerback in the country and 19th ranked player in Mississippi.)
What Rockette does have is size, speed and one hell of an appropriate surname. The 5'11, 190-pounder recently told Yancy Porter of the Ole Miss Spirit that he ran a "4.39 (40-yard dash) and a 4.01 short shuttle." Devin's speed has also been on display for the Chargers on the track, where he says his best 100-meter time is 10.8 seconds.
As a junior at Oxford, Rockette collected 53 tackles, 20 pass breakups, one interception and one fumble recovery. After watching his film, I see some similarities between he and former Rebel Mike Hilton, who also arrived in Oxford without much crootin hoopla. Like Hilton, Rockette doesn't mind playing close to the line of scrimmage and sticking his nose in there in run support.
Rockette can play with bigger receivers, as evidenced by some sturdy coverage against recent four-star Rebel signee A.J. Brown, who stands 6'1, 220-pounds.
How does he fit in?
Rockette is a likely redshirt who could benefit from a year in strength coach Paul Jackson's Jack Built Program. The Rebs added a bunch of talented DBs in the latest class (Myles Hartsfield, Jaylon Jones, Deontay Anderson and Greg Eisworth), which means Rockette will have his work cut out for him finding a role in the secondary.
But the sort of athleticism that lets one run a sub-4.4 40 and post a 10.5-foot broad jump typically finds its way on the field. With Tony Bridges, Tony Conner, Carlos Davis and Kailo Moore graduating next year, there will be enough turnover to give Rockette a chance. As long as he's getting into the playbook and becoming accustomed to the Landshark's 4-2-5 scheme, he has the speed and athletic ability to possibly make a difference in Jason Jones' room.