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Who should Mike MacIntyre’s top targets be for early signing day?

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Return of the Mac has come to fruition. Now can he work some magic?

Pac-12 Championship - Colorado v Washington Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images

After Pete Golding notified Ole Miss that he was staying at Alabama, the Rebels wasted no time hiring Mike MacIntyre. And almost as quickly as he was added to the staff, early signing day is almost upon us. On December 19th-21st, high school seniors will sign on the dotted line for the school of their choosing. The Rebels will add quite a few that are already committed, but what about the ones who are still undecided.

New defensive coordinator MacIntyre has his work cut out for him being that he will have just eight days to make an impression a select group before they sign with their school next Wednesday.

The former Colorado head coach has been around the block and knows a thing or two about recruiting. In fact, he’s been doing it since 1992. And now that he has arrived in Oxford and is beginning his stint as the Rebs’ DC, he will need to work on four particular targets who are in Matt Luke’s sights.

5-star Nakobe Dean - No. 14 overall, No. 1 ILB

We all know who he is. The state’s top prospect has been the Rebels’ No. 1 target from day one. Now that Ole Miss has a defensive coordinator to sell to, it is time for MacIntyre to do what he does best: sell.

The 6’0, 220-pounder is all done with official visits and will report to Montgomery, Ala. for the MS/AL All-Star Game later this week and will be gone through next week, meaning that Nick Saban, Ed Orgeron, Kirby Smart, and Matt Luke will all be doing their best to see him before he heads out.

MacIntyre is known for sealing the deal with former Rebel and 49ers Pro Bowler Patrick Willis so one would surmise that will come up in conversations when he goes in-home with the Horn Lake star. But, will it be enough to sway him over Saban and his trophy case? The Rebels are the only one close to Georgia in the Crystal Ball race, but can Mac pull a fast one and sign one of the most talented players ever to come out of the Magnolia State?

4-star Brandon Turnage - No. 99 overall, No. 12 CB

The other Alabama commit on this list is one of Oxford’s own. The Lafayette two-way player has been a Crimson Tide commit for some time, but like Dean, he visits the Ole Miss campus A LOT. He just recently returned from his official visit in Tuscaloosa where within 48 hours, Bama flipped two top 100 secondary players.

This would be an opportune time for MacIntyre to mention to Brandon how he mentored and coached Pro Bowler Roy Williams in Dallas and Darrelle Revis in New York. He could also mention how the Rebels are dying for help at the third level and he would be an instant impact guy the moment he got out of the car after making the quick drive down University Avenue.

The smoke around Turnage’s recruitment has been bellowing for some time, but the thickness of it has withered a bit over the last few weeks. If Ole Miss is going to flip the 6’1, 185-pound Under Armour All-American, Mac is going to need to convince him that he can get him where he wants to go: the NFL.

Luckily for Ole Miss, the new DC has been there done that.

4-star Derick Hall- No. 181 overall, No. 12 WDE

The Gulfport native just visited Oxford officially after cancelling his Mississippi State official. An Under Armour All-American in his own right, Hall has kept things relatively close to the vest throughout his recruitment. The jumbo athlete is listed as a weak-side defensive end, but could be a menacing outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.

MacIntyre could certainly speak to that when he gets in touch with the 6’4, 216-pounder. The Rebels struggled to generate any semblance of a pass rush in 2018 and long and fast athletes like Derick are just what you need for an attacking 3-4 defense in the SEC.

Despite take his official visit way back in September, Auburn is still in the lead for his services per his crystal ball. Can Matt Luke’s Gulf Coast ties pay off for a signing day shocker? Will MacIntyre be able to sell him on being a Rebel and coming off the edge for his defense?

4-star Raydarious Jones - No. 361 overall, No. 19 ATH

Nakobe’s teammate has seen his stock rise tremendously during his senior season, jumping from a three-star to a four-star and cracking the top 20 in the athlete category. After going head-to-head with Georgia commit and fellow athlete John Rhys Plumlee in the 6A title game, Jones has now turned his attention to his recruitment.

He has already officially visited Oxford at the beginning of the month and just wrapped up an official to LSU this past weekend. His crystal ball has held strong at 100% for Ole Miss for months now, but the Tigers are lurking in the shadows, trying to steal the in-state product away. As mentioned above with Turnage, MacIntyre could speak to playing in the NFL and coaching some of the game’s best with Jones.

“Raydar” played quarterback for Horn Lake, but it appears his future is on the defensive side of the ball in the secondary. So who better to coach you up to prepare you for the next level than a guy who coached defensive backs for four years at the highest level, right?

Oh and it doesn’t hurt that he and Dean are high school teammates and close. Maybe a two-for-1 for Coach Mac to get his tenure started in the right direction bringing instant impact guys to his defense, right?

Not a bad idea.