Jamar Richardson, the 40th-ranked cornerback in the nation and 19th overall prospect in the state of Alabama, has been committed to Ole Miss since July and plans to sign with the Rebels on National Signing Day this Wednesday. Because of academic issues, however, it sounds like he’ll have to start his collegiate career at a JUCO.
“My plan for Wednesday is Jones County Junior College,” Richardson told the Ole Miss Spirit during his official visit to Oxford over the weekend. “Ole Miss wants to send me there for a year. If I don’t qualify, then Wednesday I’ll half sign here and half sign with Jones County.”
Richardson, who got some late interest from Louisville but remains steadfast in his pledge to the Rebels, said the problem is his ACT score. He plans on taking the test in February and again in April.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing for Ole Miss. At 167 pounds—a slight frame that might have factored into the lack of attention from in-state powers Alabama and Auburn—Richardson was likely headed for a redshirt year in Oxford. Going JUCO has the undesirable effect of burning a year of eligibility, but it will also allow the Rebels to outsource a year of weightlifting and development.
Richardson’s height and his 4.47 40-yard dash offer glimpses of potential if he can bulk up, which could put him in line for playing time at Ole Miss in 2018. Inconsistent starter Tony Bridges will graduate before next season and Kendarius Webster’s future is up in the air following that brutal knee injury in the 2016 season-opener. Promising youngsters Jaylon Jones (who was named to Freshman All-SEC and Freshman All-American teams) and Jalen Julius could be locked in as starters by 2018, but it’s hard to tell who will be behind them.
The Rebels have already added another corner to this class with Javien Hamilton, a three-star JUCO transfer who signed in December.