Ole Miss hired Wesley McGriff with hopes of bringing in talent to restore the defense from 2016. This season, the defense was bad, but there were flashes here and there that showed promise. One of the things that McGriff has brought with his tenure is major success recruiting the state of Alabama. He landed a commitment from athlete Jonathan Hess back in June and now he is a member of the #MississippiMade movement officially.
Hess, a three-star outside linebacker from Vestavia Hills, Ala., visited Oxford and attended a camp earlier this year and that was apparently enough for him to decide on where he wants to spend his next three-to-four years. The No. 93 outside linebacker in the country held several offers but McGriff and Coach Jason Jones were able to win him over and secure a commitment.
Now, they’ve secured his John Hancock on the dotted line.
The Yellowhammer State recruit also held offers from Air Force, Army, The Citadel, Florida Atlantic, Georgia State, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee State, Navy, Southern Miss, Syracuse, Troy, Tulane, UAB, Wake Forest and Yale. He is also drawing considerable interest from Alabama, Louisville and Mississippi State. As a junior at Vestavia Hills High School, the No. 44 player in the state finished with 48 tackles on defense and 61 receptions, 652 yards and seven touchdowns on offense. Then, during his senior year, he collected 52 total tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, one sack, and one interception.
How does he fit in?
The 6’5, 215-pounder is an interesting pickup for Crimedawg and the Rebels because of his size and versatility. He plays free safety, outside linebacker and wide receiver for Vestavia Hills but the Rebels will almost certainly use him primarily on defense at the second level. He is extremely physical at the point of attack and is not shy when coming from the third level to the second or first. His long arms and frame give him an advantage when fighting off smaller running backs and tight ends at the line of scrimmage and his length is a great thing to have when defending in coverage.
Hess will arrive on campus after C.J. Hampton and C.J. Moore have graduated and will be in line for playing time behind junior Armani Linton, sophomores Deontay Anderson and Myles Hartsfield and freshman A.J. Harris. Because of the aforementioned frame, the Rebels will have the luxury of moving him around the field where he is needed.
On film, he reminds me of former Rebel All-American Cody Prewitt, but much larger. Whether he is in the secondary or playing linebacker for Coach Bradley Dale Peveto, Hess is a nice pickup for Ole Miss who could contribute at multiple spots for McGriff.
His next assignment will be trying to recruit and sign his good friend and four-star running back Harold Joiner.