In a move that’s been expected since the day he decommitted from Ole Miss, four-star running back Willie Gay has announced that he’ll sign with his hometown school. The country’s No. 3 outside linebacker pledged to Mississippi State during an announcement ceremony in his hometown on National Signing Day.
Gay originally committed to Ole Miss last summer, providing delightful schadenfreude material to fans in Oxford by joining current Rebel wideout A.J. Brown as the second blue-chip Starkville native to do so in as many classes. But amid a disappointing Ole Miss season and the never-ending NCAA investigation, Gay backed off his pledge in October, reopening his recruitment.
Even then, there was still hope that he’d find his way back to Oxford. In mid-January, during practice week for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Gay claimed that Ole Miss and LSU were his top two schools.
Gay is the latest in a long line of blue-chip linebackers to have broken off of Hugh Freeze’s line, including 2016 SEC All-Freshman Leo Lewis and 2016 five-star Mique Juarez. Freeze still managed to snap that trend this cycle, however: four-star Breon Dixon is already taking classes as an early enrollee. Three-star JUCO transfer Brenden Williams is also on campus already and three-star Josh Clarke is expected to sign with the Rebels on Wednesday.