After a 6-6 season with an interim coach, the Committee on Infractions announcing another bowl ban, more scholarship restrictions, and now players seeking transfer to leave Ole Miss, fans have been searching high and low for good news.
Well, look no further.
After an official visit to Oxford and an in-home visit from Matt Luke and Longo last week, four-star quarterback Matt Corral flipped his commitment from Florida to Ole Miss last week and now, the former Southern Cal and Florida commit is officially apart of the #MississippiMade movement.
This signing is monumental for several reasons. One, a four-star Elite 11 Finalist and U.S. Army All-American has decided to look past all the recent distractions and bad news and has seemingly decided to take it upon himself to lead this 2018 class and rebuild a tarnished image that has been slandered by almost everyone. Two, it shows that Matt Luke and his staff are out for blood now and will stop at nothing to sign some players to get this back to where it was in 2015 when they were hoisting hardware in the Superdome. And three, Mullen went in-home with his new offensive coordinator Brian Johnson and threw up a Hail Mary and Corral still chose the Rebels.
One thing that I think certainly contributed to this flip was the hiring of Mullen. Nothing against Mullen, he’s certainly a good football coach who I think will do well in Gainesville, but the two just weren’t a match. Dan wants a big-bodied bruiser to tote the rock 20+ times a game and maybe throw it 10-15 times if he has to. That’s just not Corral’s speed. He’s clearly wanting to get in Phil Longo’s Air Raid offense and spread it around to the nWo and set box scores on fire.
Corral, the No. 3 pro-style quarterback in the nation, is the 15th signee (including 2017 grayshirt signee Isaiah Woullard) for Ole Miss’ early signing class in 2018. Before committing and signing, he held notable offers from notable programs like Alabama, Arizona State, Georgia, Michigan, Texas A&M, and UCLA. The No. 8 player in California participated in the Elite 11 competition earlier this year and came away with the Strongest Arm Award and finished 8th in the competition at Nike’s headquarters in Oregon. He will compete in January at the U.S. Army All-America Bowl for the West.
The No. 60 player in the country according to 247Sports composite rankings had a fantastic senior season at Long Beach Poly (Calif.), throwing for 2,495 yards, 29 touchdowns and just seven interceptions, all the while leading the Jackrabbits to the Southern Section title and a 9-3 record.
The California pro-style quarterback was just as impressive in his junior season while playing at Oaks Christian (Calif.).
As the starter for the Lions in 2015 and 2016, the 6’2, 196-pounder tossed the pill for 6,308 yards and 58 touchdowns. He also toted the rock for 760 yards and 12 touchdowns in those two seasons. For his four years playing prep ball in California, the No. 8 player in the state threw for 10,178 yards and 103 touchdowns while also running for 940 yards and 20 touchdowns. Not a bad career, right?
Corral signing is also very good news because he is an early-enrollee who will enroll in time for the spring semester and most importantly, spring practice.
How does he fit in?
Where do you want to start? Ole Miss might have lost their former five-star Shea Patterson to Michigan, but Corral will help alleviate that loss. And then some. He is an instinctive player who shows that he’s more than capable of scanning the entire field, going through progressions, and making decisions with precision. Matt already has ideal size and a lightning quick release that will remind folks of Patterson when he was coming out of IMG Academy.
And when he needs to fire a post route over the middle or hit a receiver that has broken free and gotten behind the coverage, he exhibits excellent arm strength and can put it on the money, just like Chad Kelly used to do. You know the phrase “arm talent”? Well, Corral’s got it. He can manipulate coverage and throw receivers open when it appears that everyone is covered and he can tuck it and get the first down when he needs to. Dude can flat spin the football and light up the scoreboard.
So, yeah, if you want a comparison, he’s the perfect combination of The Chef and Swag.
Now hold on, wait. Hear me out.
He combines all of their best traits. Patterson’s quick feet and release, Chad’s cannon and swagger (peep the throwing arm tattoos). Really, he is the perfect Ole Miss quarterback machine.
Elite 11 coaches have dubbed him as one of the strongest arms they’ve seen at the camp since Detroit Lion quarterback Matthew Stafford. Quarterback guru and trainer George Whitfield was quoted as saying that Corral only throws one way: HEAT. And former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback and Elite 11 coach Trent Dilfer said Matt reminds him of Brett Favre because of his “play-making ability and splash reel tape”. Not bad praise if you ask me.
247Sports national recruiting analyst Greg Biggins also has rather high praise for the Rebs’ future signal caller. “From a skills standpoint, he has generational arm strength. Probably the strongest arm to come out of California in a decade," said Greg Biggins, a 247Sports national recruiting analyst who is based in Southern California. "The guy can legitimately toss it 80 yards without really even trying.”
“The guy has NFL tools. He has Sunday potential if he figures everything out and he gets developed. He’s a guy you could see either being a first-round pick or a guy who struggles to play," Biggins said. "It just depends on if everything works out for him and if he develops. But he has a world of potential for sure.”
To me, he reminds me of 2018 Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. High praise, sure, but the similarities are striking. The swagger. The accuracy on the run. The leadership. The mobility. It’s all there. Mayfield’s stature coming out of high school is almost identical to Corral’s and the arm talent is, too. Both have an incredibly quick trigger and can go through their progressions, climb the pocket, and deliver the football with precision.
But the arm talent and wheels isn’t where it stops. The Opening alum is a tough dude as well. He has no problem standing tall in the pocket, delivering the football, and taking a hit in the mouth. This comes from having a mature feel for the pocket and sensing when pressure is collapsing down on him. A redshirt year wouldn’t be a bad idea at all since Jordan Ta’amu is the incumbent starter and Corral could certainly benefit from learning from the veteran and being molded by the tutelage of Longo.
This is an enormous get for Luke and Ole Miss, I cannot emphasize that enough. It not only shows that the Ole Miss Rebels are still here and not to be trifled with on the crootin trail despite being led by a second-year coach, but it also shows that a high profile, all-american level recruit is not scared by a bowl ban.
This is the type of signing that could catapult the Rebels into a backdoor top 30 class for 2018. If that happens, they will be light years ahead of where people assumed they would be a few weeks ago when the NCAA was conducting open-heart surgery on the program without anesthesia. Now that a top 100 recruit is on board, Luke and Co. need to keep it up and reignite the fan base with some hope. And we all know that that’s a good thing.
The second-year offensive coordinator has been picky throughout the process, methodically combing through the rankings, watching tons of film, and carefully submitting committable offers to potential quarterback prospects. But, he’s got his man now.
Phil Longo’s got that bag. And by God he’s transporting.