With just two weeks to go before National Signing Day, Matt Luke is hoping to finish strong with the 2019 recruiting class. Currently ranked 25th nationally by the 247 Sports composite, Matt Luke’s current crop of signees is light on star power. In what’s become an annual tradition, the Rebels are getting as many prospects as they can on campus this weekend.
CROOTAPALOOZA ‘19 is here, y’all.
Per Rivals, the Rebels are hosting eight official visitors, including two five-stars and three four-stars (the unofficial visit list is larger and could grow depending on travel, availability, super secret invites and what not). It’s a big opportunity for Luke, who’s riding the momentum of two big-name coordinator hires, to close this cycle strong. Specifically, the staff still needs to fill spots at linebacker, defensive line and defensive back.
As CROOTAPALOOZA refresher, here’s what our very own Jeff Gray wrote a couple years back:
So what all happens during Crootapalooza? A quick perusal of Mississippi State message boards tells us it will be a weekend full of prostitutes, unending lines of cocaine, those sacks of cash with the big green dollar sign that are super convenient for cartoon bank robbers, prostitutes, Bible burnings, a convoy of Cannon Motors “rentals” and more prostitutes. In actuality, it’s more like a bunch of high school kids touring campus and probably having a good time at the bar, but hey, that’s probably just a #Network cover up.
Below is a list of official visitors compiled by the Ole Miss Spirit and Rebel Grove and crosschecked on Twitter by us. Keep in mind that this list is fluid: some of these guys won’t show and others may jump on at the last minute. This list does not include unofficial visitors or guys that inked during the early signing period.
We’ll update this list as best we can.
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite
5-star Jerrion Ealy
Overall rank: 30
Running back rank: 3
Hometown: Flowood, Miss.
Recently upgraded to a five-star, the Jackson Prep prospect spent over a year committed to Ole Miss before dropping his pledge ahead of a Clemson visit a couple weeks back (Dabo Swinney doesn’t allow official visitors who are committed elsewhere). The good news is that he left that visit without committing to the Tigers.
Of course, there’s a good chance he doesn’t play college football at all. Most MLB Draft experts have him going early in the first round, meaning he’d have to turn down quite a bit of money to end up on the gridiron. He’d be a game-changer if he did: Ealy recently set the Under Armour All-America Game rushing record and could be an incredible fit in new offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez’s zone read scheme.
5-star Ishmael Sopsher
Overall rank: 47
Defensive tackle rank: 5
Hometown: Amite, La.
The 6’4, 334-pounder seems to be down to Alabama or LSU but he will be taking an official visit this weekend to Oxford, arriving on Sunday after his official visit to Tuscaloosa. Will he show up? We will find out in a few days. Will it matter? I don’t think so. As we all know, it’s very rare that top-flight talent leaves the Pelican State and if they do, they play for Nick Saban.
Freddie Roach has had zero luck landing any of the in-state crop of defensive linemen. This could be his chance to land back in the good graces of the fanbase who are certainly not pleased with him whiffing on all SIX blue-chip linemen in the state of Mississippi.
4-star Lakia Henry
Overall JUCO rank: 3
Inside linebacker rank: 1
Hometown: Vidalia, Ga.
The former Tennessee commit is arguably one of the more talented junior college defenders left on the board and he has insisted that he’s very interested in the Rebels.
“If I had visited Ole Miss first, I probably would have committed to them,” Henry told Ole Miss Spirit’s David Johnson after de-committing from Tennessee two weeks ago. “Ole Miss was fire. It was hot up there.”
If Ole Miss can pull this one off, the 6’0, 225-pounder could be the cornerstone for new D-coordinator Mike MacIntyre’s new 3-4 defense. The Dodge City Community College product would be an instant impact guy in the middle alongside leading tackler Mohamed Sanogo. He already officially visited Arkansas and will travel to Austin, Tex. for next week. If the Rebs can seal the deal I doubt he makes that final trek to the Lone Star State. We shall see.
4-star Jonathan Mingo
Overall rank: 216
Wide receiver rank: 32
Hometown: Brandon, Miss.
Our fearless reader, Jeff, just gave us the most recent update on Mr. Mingo, but his importance to this class cannot be stated enough.
Ole Miss loses three NFL-caliber pass-catchers and desperately needs immediate contributors out wide. Mingo has been committed to the Rebels since July and told Rebel Grove last month that he’s “about 100 percent” with Ole Miss. Still, he declined to ink during the early signing period and took an official visit to Starkville last week. I still expect him to be a Rebel on signing day but Mississippi State is doing its best steal him away.
4-star John Rhys Plumlee
Overall rank: 349
Dual-threat quarterback rank: 12
Hometown: Hattiesburg, Miss.
Yes, Ole Miss already signed two quarterbacks, but this two-sport star is too good of an athlete to just let go. Plumlee, who is currently committed to Georgia, led Oak Grove to the 6A title with his arm and his legs. He is honestly a perfect fit for Rodriguez’s spread attack and even if he can’t crack the starting lineup under center, he would be a great candidate for either slot receiver or defensive back.
At 6’1 and 185-pounds, he’s a well-built athlete who can really sling it and is at his best when the play breaks down, utilizing his 4.61 speed to elude defenders and make things happen. He has already made trips to Auburn and Mississippi State and is scheduled to visit Florida State after this weekend. Kirby Smart offered John Rhys a blue shirt so it seems less and less likely he ends up in Athens.
3-star LeDarrius Cox
Overall rank: 590
Defensive tackle rank: 41
Hometown: Mobile, Ala.
Ole Miss hasn’t had the best luck recruiting in-state defensive line talent, so they are looking elsewhere to fill those needs. Insert the Alabama native, a 6’5, 300-pounder who’s been committed to Tennessee since April but he has been taking his visits to make sure. And the Vols have just offered another 2019 defensive lineman to boot so maybe they are moving on from Mr. Cox.
The Rebels have had tremendous success lately in the state of Alabama and Cox would be a welcomed addition to a 2019 class that desperately needs interior defensive linemen.
3-star A’Montae Spivey
Overall rank: 758
Running back rank: 41
Hometown: Phenix City, Ala.
Spivey has been committed to the Razorbacks since August, but the Rebels have stayed vigilant in their pursuit of a running back to join signee Jarod Conner. And at 6’0 and 208-pounds, he’s a well-built spread run back for Rich Rod. The Alabama 6A Offensive Player of the Year ran for 1,338 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior and would be a solid get this close to the finish line.