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4-star DB Brandon Turnage, an Oxford native, signed with Alabama


NCAA Football: South Carolina at Mississippi Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

As the Ole Miss defense toiled through a historically awful season, one of the brightest defensive back recruits in the country was playing ball on the other side of town. Oxford native Brandon Turnage, ranked the No. 12 cornerback prospect in the 2019 recruiting class and a top-100 national prospect, became one of the hottest commodities in the state of Mississippi during his senior season at Lafayette High.

Turnage’s speed and 6’1 frame would have made him a godsend for incoming Rebel defensive coordinator Mike MacIntyre, who inherits a mess of a defense that ranked 97th nationally in passing S&P+ and 115th in long passing plays allowed.

Instead, he’ll be playing for Nick Saban. During a Wednesday morning announcement ceremony at Lafayette High, Turnage, draped in crimson, confirmed what everyone already knew: he’s signing his letter of intent with Alabama.

To be clear, this is no surprise: Turnage has been committed to the Tide for nearly a year. But his frequent unofficial visits to the Ole Miss campus (over 13 of them, according to 247 Sports) had Rebel fans hopeful for an early signing day flip.

Ole Miss was the first to offer Turnage, but it didn’t take long for other major programs to come calling. Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Oregon and Tennessee were among the many schools chasing him. As a senior at Lafayette, the Under Armour All-American had 65 tackles and six interceptions playing cornerback, chipping in five tackles for loss, five pass deflections and two forced fumbles.

The days of Ole Miss reaching deep into Georgia or Texas to beat out national powers seem like a distant memory. Defending Lafayette County is hard enough.