Last weekend was a big one for this staff. Five-star Nakobe Dean was in town, as well as four-stars Raydarious Jones and Charles Cross. But, this weekend is next man up for head coach Matt Luke and his staff as they will entertain yet another group of talented recruits in Oxford.
Leading the way on the docket this weekend is newly-uncommitted four-star Memphis running back Eric Gray. The No. 4 APB recently decommitted from Michigan and is seemingly down to the home state Tennessee Vols and the Rebels.
The Lausanne Collegiate School all-purpose back finished his high school career as the first Tennessee player to win the Mr. Football award three-straight years and he virtually owns every rushing record in the state after finishing his career for the Lynx with an overall record of 46-5 and two state titles. He wrapped up his career (only three full seasons mind you) with 8,187 yards (190.4 yards per game) and 138 rushing touchdowns.
The Vols made a big push for the 5’10, 193-pounder last weekend when he was in town for a visit, taking charge of his 247Sports Crystal Ball. But, the Rebels get him in town for a 48-hour official visit and have their opportunity to sway him back in their good graces.
This recruitment is especially important because, not only will four-star running back commit Jerrion Ealy almost certainly be bypassing college to play professional baseball, but they need an impact back to come in and immediately contribute with the health concerns of returnees D’Vaughn Pennamon and Eric Swinney.
Secondly, the Rebels need something positive to happen in the city of Memphis. Luke and his staff desperately need to sign someone from the 901 and for it to not only be a hub for elite talent (85 miles away) but for their presence to be a positive one. If the Rebs are able to get Gray and MUS two-sport star Maurice Hampton in the boat, it could go a long way in 2020 when the Rebs will be heavily-involved with several top prospects in the Bluff City.
With that said, the U.S. All-American is in town this weekend and it is time for the Rebels to shoot their shot. With Ealy most likely to not make it to campus, you have to think Luke will let Eric know that he is their No. 1 guy.
Who else is visiting?
- 3-star S Fred Peters, No. 17 JUCO overall
- 3-star S Jonathan Haynes, No. 36 JUCO overall (commit)
- 3-star WR Dontario Drummond, No. 41 JUCO overall
- 3-star CB Jamar Richardson, No. 78 JUCO overall (commit)
- 4-star OLB Derick Hall, No. 216 overall
- 3-star RB Keshawn King, No. 519 overall
- 3-star DT Patrick Lucas, No. 585 overall (commit)
- 3-star OT Nick Broeker, No. 701 overall (commit)
- 3-star OLB Ashanti Cistrunk, No. 722 overall (commit)
- 3-star S Tavario Standifer, NR (commit)
- 3-star OT Caleb Warren, NR (commit)
The biggest visitor this weekend outside of Gray has to be the four-star linebacker out of Gulfport. Hall has been quite the mystery this season, flirting with Ole Miss early on in his recruitment before receiving offers from Auburn, Florida State, Florida, LSU, Missouri, Mississippi State, South Carolina, and Tennessee among others.
He recently received an in-home visit from receivers coach Jacob Peeler right before he officially visited Gainesville to see the Gators and Dan Mullen. Outside of Florida, he has only officially visited Auburn and Florida State, leaving him open for one more before signing early on December 19th.
Could the Rebels be his last trip? Lord knows they will pitch him the idea of “hey we REALLY need linebackers to help fix the defense and you’re 6’4, 216-pounds so you would be PERFECT”. Despite being ranked as the No. 13 weak-side defensive end in the country, the Under Armour All-American is the perfect 3-4 defense outside linebacker and would most likely immediately contribute once he got to Oxford.
Can Matt Luke work some magic late in his hometown? We’ll find out in two weeks.