Less than a month after saying that he would “find somewhere else” if Ole Miss hadn’t learned its NCAA fate by National Signing Day, four-star wideout D.D. Bowie made the surprise decision to stick to his Rebel pledge on Wednesday... despite the fact that NCAA judgement is still nowhere to be seen on the horizon.
Bowie, the only top-200 prospect expected to sign with a 2017 Ole Miss class handicapped by the ongoing NCAA investigation, was thought to be leaning toward Mississippi State. He visited Starkville for an official visit two weeks ago and recently hosted Dan Mullen and a contingent of Bulldogs coaches at his home.
The Morton, Miss. product has been committed to Ole Miss since flipping from Bama in October of 2015, but began to waver after his good buddy, five-star running back Cam Akers, pledged to Florida State in late December. While checking in at the U.S. Army Bowl four days after Akers’ announcement, Bowie said that he too would join the ‘Noles if Jimbo Fisher were to extend an offer.
That offer never came, but Bowie, openly worried about the NCAA’s presence in Oxford, continued to shop around.
"I want to be safe from [Ole Miss] getting suspended from bowl games and I don't know how many years [probation] is gonna be," Bowie told 247Sports while reporting to the Army Bowl. "I want to go to the NFL and do what's best for my family so I need to find a school and go with it."
But Hugh Freeze and new wide receivers coach Jacob Peeler were apparently able to allay those fears during Bowie’s official trip to Oxford last weekend. The NCAA’s presence in Oxford has scared off a lot of recruits this cycle, but keeping Bowie in the fold is a huge win for Freeze and his staff.
How he fits in
Interesting enough, Bowie might find himself playing on the other side of the ball in Oxford.
"If I go to Ole Miss, I'm not playing receiver,” he told The Clarion-Ledger last week. “I want to play (defensive back). I was just looking at their roster and they graduated like four cornerbacks and I played cornerback, so I think I can play that."
Bowie is the sixth four-star receiver to sign with Ole Miss in the last three years, meaning the depth chart at that position is jam-packed with young talent. The Rebels are losing three of their top four pass catchers from last season—tight end Evan Engram and wideouts Damore’ea Stringfellow and Quincy Adeboyejo—but the receptions will be redistributed to former four-stars Van Jefferson, A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf and DaMarkus Lodge. All four of those guys—plus 2016 redshirt Tre Nixon—will likely be on campus for at least two more years.