The 2019 edition of CROOTAPALOOZA wasn’t what it’s been in years past. Thanks in large part to the way the new early signing period has restructured the recruiting calendar, there were only seven official visitors on campus at Ole Miss last weekend, a far cry from the boatloads of blue-chippers trucked in during the Hugh Freeze years. Still, there were some notable prospects visiting Oxford.
One of those was four-star Georgia commit John Rhys Plumlee, who made the trek from Hattiesburg to meet with not only Matt Luke, but also Mike Bianco and the baseball staff as well. Plumlee, a two-sport star who ranks 12th nationally among dual-threat quarterbacks in the 2019 class, would have the chance to play for both.
Enjoyed Official Visit at Ole Miss!! @CoachMattLuke @CoachMikeBianco pic.twitter.com/Nx6XERbA6n— John Rhys Plumlee (@PlumleeJohn) January 27, 2019
In an interview with the Ole Miss Spirit’s David Johnson, the 6’1, 185-pound quarterback/outfielder said he “likes the fit in Rich Rod’s offense.”
Indeed, the 4.61 speedster could be a perfect match for Ole Miss’ new offensive coordinator, who turned athletic QBs Pat White and Khalil Tate into stars at West Virginia and Arizona, respectively. Once offered a scholarship as a cornerback by Mississippi State, Plumlee certainly checks the boxes of athleticism. As a senior, he racked up 2,834 yards passing, 1,444 yards rushing and 52 total touchdowns against 6A competition, leading Oak Grove to the title game against Horn Lake.
The only UGA commit not to sign during the early period, Plumlee remains nominally pledged to the Bulldogs. But he’s been making the rounds this month (officials to Auburn, State, Ole Miss and, next weekend, Florida State) because, as of now, Georgia has only extended a blueshirt offer.
What the hell’s a blueshirt? Dawg Nation has a breakdown.
The speed dating definition of the “Blueshirt” means Plumlee would enroll and pay for a couple of months on campus at his own expense. He would not be on any type of aid. In this example, he would go on scholarship in August of 2020.
Plumlee would then be on campus practicing but not playing for the Bulldogs in 2019.
In this instance, he would not even sign a national letter of intent. It is essentially borrowing a scholarship from the 2020 pool in order to bring in another talented player to join the program for the 2019 season. His scholarship would then count toward the 2020 class.
Ole Miss, meanwhile, has extended a traditional offer that would put him on scholarship immediately.
Another two-sport star was in town. You might have heard of him.
Five-star running back/MLB-quality outfielder Jerrion Ealy also met with the staffs of both sports over the weekend. The longtime Ole Miss pledge de-committed ahead of a visit to Clemson earlier this month, but it’s certainly a good sign he followed through with his trip to Oxford.
Bat and pads— Jerrion Ealy (@ealy_1k) January 28, 2019
The nation’s No. 3 running back is an absolute game-changer in both sports, which is why he’s expected to go early in the first round of this year’s MLB Draft. This all could be for naught, but signing him on February 6th would at least hand Ole Miss the lottery ticket.
The nation’s top-rated JUCO LB made it to town as well.
Four-star inside linebacker Lakia Henry has been on campus before unofficially, but this time he was really able to see the town, campus, and meet with new defensive coordinator Mike MacIntyre to discuss what exactly he would be doing in the red and blue.
Per Johnson, the 6’0, 225-pounder discussed the opportunity of early playing time, something that’s certainly in abundance at the second level of Ole Miss’ train-wrecked defense. Henry could play immediately in the middle next to Mohamed Sanogo and, in my opinion, would be an instant impact type dude.
Oxford Mississippi .. pic.twitter.com/XvY8EOHkST— Lakia Henry (@Lakia_henry_4) January 27, 2019
He’s scheduled to head to Austin for his last official visit this weekend, but the Ole Miss coaches will no doubt be trying to talk him out of that trip. One would imagine Luke’s staff are going to go up to Dodge City, Kan. this week in an attempt to seal the deal.
Will Jonathan Mingo keep his commitment?
The four-star wide receiver was also in Oxford over the weekend. The 6’2, 200-pound Under Armour All-American visited Starkville recently, which, combined with the fact that high school teammate Will Rogers recently committed to State, has prompted speculation that Mingo could be reconsidering his pledge to the Rebels.
Mingo is built like a SEC receiver already and could most likely slide into that role that A.J. Brown filled so well in the slot as a big-body, matchup nightmare for linebackers and safeties. As of now, the top-250 player has no other official visits planned.