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Ole Miss recruiting: Can Ole Miss flip a Florida State running back commit?

Derrick Nix and the Rebels are going head-to-head with the Noles again for a running back. Who will win this time?

Student Sports

The jokes write themselves here, y’all. Yes, the last time Ole Miss went toe-to-toe with the Noles for a running back, they came out on the losing end. What you don’t remember? Well, here’s a little something to refresh your memory. But, three-star running back Charles Strong made the trip up to Oxford from the Sunshine State for Hugh Freeze’s July Elite Camp and it appears that the Rebels are coming after him hard. Despite being committed to FSU since February, the 6’1, 230-pound back enjoyed his time at Ole Miss so much that he stayed an extra night to work out for the coaches.

The country’s No. 28 running back spoke with Scout’s Ben Garrett about where is recruitment stands right now and had some positive things to say about Ole Miss.

“I feel like Ole Miss has been coming after me the most,” said Strong, who spent the weekend in Oxford for an Ole Miss summer camp. “They’ve been coming after me stronger than any other school. Florida State is home. I look at Florida State as home, and they're still coming at me and they still show me love. But at the end of the day, it’s going to be my decision.

And if that wasn’t enough to give you hope, he hinted to Garrett that the window might be opening a little more for a flip to the Rebel.

The timing couldn’t be any better with current Rebel seniors Eugene Brazley and Jordan Wilkins graduating after the 2017 season and D’Vaughn Pennamon and Eric Swinney being in their third year upon Strong’s arrival if he were to choose Ole Miss. And that wasn’t lost on Strong who told Garrett “I looked at their depth chart...they’ve got two seniors already up and a few players who would probably be ahead of me that I can walk through their shoes and see how I can play and what they can teach me.”

The big back from Lake Butler, Fla. also told Garrett that he really enjoyed the small-town feel of Oxford and says he can see himself leaving a legacy like “like Eli Manning and Archie Manning did”. He did tell that he is still “100 percent to Florida State” but he is taking his visits and checking things out elsewhere. He will visit Auburn, Clemson, LSU and Ohio State next so Ole Miss still has it’s work cut out for them if they want to seal the deal.

Has Ole Miss found their 2018 quarterback?

New offensive coordinator Phil Longo has been in Oxford for seven months now and has been hard at work trying to find a suitable replacement for Shea Patterson once he leaves Oxford in a few years. So far, it has been quite the uphill battle due to a pending NCAA investigation. But, over the weekend, Ole Miss hosted a four-star quarterback who was very impressive according to most.

Elite 11 finalist and Arkansas native Gerry Bohanon made the 112-mile trek from Earle to Oxford on Sunday to throw for Longo and Hugh Freeze. The presumed future Baylor Bear could possibly be warming up to Ole Miss who is in desperate need of securing a commitment from a quarterback before it’s too late. If you’re not familiar or don’t follow recruiting closely, quarterbacks usually commit early in the process in order to put their own crootin hat and start trying to secure targets to join their class.

Bohanon, the No. 11 dual-threat quarterback in the 2018 class, would be an ideal fit for Hugh Freeze’s offense. He is a 6’4, 215-pound signal caller who can hurt defenses with his arm and his legs. Granted he is a tad bit raw as a passer, he is an extremely talented athlete who is a member of his high school’s 4x100 relay team and a two-time state champion in basketball. He would have the benefit of redshirting and learning under Patterson and Longo before being asked to take the reins and it could be a perfect timeline for him to fine-tune his mechanics and mature at the position.

Ole Miss paid the four-star plenty of attention while he was in town and one could speculate that he is their No. 1 target at the position now. Speaking of, three-star pro-style quarterback Kevin Doyle was also in town working out for Longo and Freeze and was impressive during workouts. According to his 247Sports’ profile, he is down to the Rebels, Pennsylvania and Princeton.

A 4-star receiver visited and will release a top 5 soon.

Miles Battle also made the trip to Oxford for the weekend. The four-star receiver made the drive over from Houston, Tex. to take in Ole Miss for an unofficial visit and from the looks of things he had a big time. The nation’s No. 52 wide receiver came with his father and grandfather and spent a lot of time with Freeze and new receivers coach Jacob Peeler.

He was just in town to hang and did not participate in the camp, but Ole Miss really doesn’t need to see him workout. The Rebels already have one commitment from three-star receiver Demarcus Gregory and, in my opinion, will take two more in this class. And as of now, Miles Battle is at the top of the wish list. He tweeted after his visit that he will be releasing a top five soon. Will the Rebs make the cut? We think so.

Ole Miss hosted three 2019 croots from Horn Lake.

The 2018 class is key for Ole Miss moving forward after a 5-7 season and a less than stellar recruiting class in 2017. But, the 2019 class in the state of Mississippi is loaded. Three of those top prospects are just up the road in North Mississippi and at the same school. And they were all in town over the weekend to compete in the Rebels’ camp.

The No. 2 player in the state and four-star outside linebacker Nakobe Dean was in town over the weekend and could be new linebackers coach Bradley Dale Peveto’s top overall target for 2019. He was also joined by teammates Tyler Grim and Raydarious Jones. Grim, a three-star running back, is the No. 11 player in the Magnolia State and Jones, an unranked cornerback, is a dynamic athlete who plays quarterback for the Eagles and already holds offers from LSU and Ole Miss.

Jones was offered on the spot as a defensive back after running a 4.37 (!) at the camp and Grim, despite not getting an offer just yet, was dynamic out of the slot in one-on-ones against fellow campers. Dean, a prototypical 6’2, 215-pound outside backer, is going to be someone who vies for a fifth star before it’s all said and done and is probably without a doubt one of Freeze’s top overall targets for next season. We all know that you can never have too many talented linebackers.

A 3-star linebacker came back to Oxford for another camp.

Speaking of linebackers, three-star Jacquez Jones was back in the 662 again for his second Ole Miss camp this summer. The Tuscaloosa, Ala. native competed in the Hugh Freeze Elite Camp back in June and returned this past weekend to check things out again.

The country’s No. 44 outside linebacker seems to be warming up to the Rebs, according to his 247Sports’ Crystal Ball. Coach Peveto and Ole Miss currently hold a 83 percent lead with no particular school in second place. Freeze and Co. are battling with the LSU Tigers and the Tennessee Volunteers for Jones’ services. The Yellowhammer native has announced his commitment date will be in September.

An in-state target was on campus again.

And speaking of the Vols, former Tennessee commit and in-state cornerback target Jaylon Reed, found himself again in the Manning Center competing in a camp. The 6’1, 170-pounder from Olive Branch also was in attendance for the June camp and came back again last weekend to show off his skills in one-on-ones for new defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff and defensive backs coach Jason Jones.

The nation’s No. 74 cornerback is “warming up” to the Rebels, according to 247Sports, and would be a big-time get after the Rebels missed out on a few big name targets at the position in recent years (Nigel Knott and Shyheim Carter). Despite the window dressing of a trip out West to Oregon, I fully expect this one to come down to Mississippi State and Ole Miss. For what it’s worth, Rebel Grove’s Russell Johnson predicts that Ole Miss leads for Reed and he will end up signing with the Rebs come signing day.