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Ole Miss’ 2019 signing class is somehow still in the top 25

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Matt Luke missed on his top targets Wednesday but things could have been worse.

NCAA Football: Mississippi State at Mississippi Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that sucked.

Ole Miss secured all of the commitments it was supposed to during the morning shift of Wednesday’s Early Signing Day and headed into the afternoon with high hopes. Five-star linebacker Nakobe Dean and four-star defensive back Raydarious Jones, both from right up the road in Horn Lake, were thought to be giving serious consideration to the Rebels.

Both left their Ole Miss hats on the table. Jones donned an LSU cap. Dean picked up a Georgia shirt.

This was Matt Luke’s chance to build some momentum, to fire up the fan base after a disappointing 5-7 season. Alas.

Still, Wednesday could have gone a lot worse. As of Wednesday afternoon, Ole Miss’ 2019 class ranks No. 22 nationally. The staff actually did a fantastic job of locking down every one of their existing commits—25 to be exact—in the morning. They secured signatures from two top-10 players from the state of Arkansas, held off Ohio State’s advances on O-lineman Nick Broeker and kept Texas quarterback Grant Tisdale from jumping ship in the wake of offensive coordinator Phil Longo’s departure.

There were wins at receiver, where the Rebels helped mitigate the departures of DaMarkus Lodge, A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf by signing four-star Dannis Jackson and three-star JUCO Dontario Drummond. Four top-100 JUCO players, all defenders, should provide immediate support on that side of the ball.

But there’s no sugar-coating Wednesday’s overall disappointment. Three blue-chip players in North Mississippi all opted for other SEC programs, two in the division. That is just not going to get it done. Yes, they are perennial powers who have more resources and historical success, but there is no NCAA cloud to blame this on anymore.

There’s still room for improvement. Two days remain in the Early Signing Period and some big names will still be around when the traditional period opens in early February. There are seemingly four or five spots left for this 2019 class. If Luke and the rest of his staff have a prayer at getting folks back on board, they will need to close and close well.

Here are the class rankings as they stand now.