It is football season, but recruiting does not stop no matter the sport. And no one knows that more than Ole Miss men’s basketball coach Kermit Davis. As the football Rebs were hosting Cal and doing battle in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Davis and his basketball staff were entertaining four-star small forward Samson Ruzhentsev.
The 6’7, 210-pounder from Chattanooga, Tenn. by way of Moscow, Russia officially visited Oxford, Miss. over the weekend in order to get an in-depth feel for what life would be like as a Rebel and being a member of a Kermit Davis squad.
Ole Miss Spirit’s Ben Garrett spoke with Samson about his visit.
“I really enjoyed my visit,” Ruzhentsev said. “They really took care of me. They showed me around, showed me the playbook and how I’d fit in with the team. I loved the campus and the coaching staff. It was good. I really didn’t have that many questions because they did a good job of answering all my questions without me even asking them. But what I asked the players was how coach was in practice and stuff like that. They told me about it.”
He talked with Garrett about what he did on his visit as well.
“I got to watch a practice and (Ruzhentsev and Davis) had a couple of meals together,” Ruzhentsev said. “I talked to him a lot. I enjoyed practice. It was really intense and he was doing a really good job. It was great. They’re definitely still one of the options, for sure. They definitely made me feel like a priority.”
And he spoke about what Kermit told him before leaving Oxford.
“Coach Davis said, ‘I can’t speak for other schools, but you have to go somewhere not where they just want you, but somewhere they actually need you. And we need you here.’ Those were his words,” Ruzhentsev said.
“That really resonated with me.”
The nation’s No. 110 player will officially visit Florida, Georgia Tech, and Stanford before making a decision.
Ruzhentsev is certainly someone Kermit wants and needs for what he wants to do on both ends of the floor. Samson is a high NBA upside player with length, athleticism, and a jumper that is damn near automatic. The Hamilton Heights Christian Academy product would be an impact dude for the Rebels immediately and would really raise the expectations for this program as soon as he stepped on campus.
Jabari Small is putting the team on his back this season.
The Ole Miss commit is simply en fuego right now. The 5’10, 190-pound all-purpose back from Eads, Tenn. has destroyed every defense he’s faced this year, racing to 676 yards in five games. He’s averaging 135.2 yards per game, 10.2 yards per carry, and has already scored 14 touchdowns on the ground. His yards per game number is skewed a bit because the Saints are blowing everyone out and he is usually sitting on the bench by the third quarter.
The nation’s No. 12 all-purpose back will travel to Madison, Miss. this week to take on Madison Ridgeland Academy.
The LB room is getting immediate help in 2020.
Former Texas native turned IMG Academy standout Jaqwondis Burns is having himself quite the senior year for the Avengers. The former Terrell, Tex. linebacker is now in Bradenton, Fla. and is leading the team in tackles with 17. The unanimous first-team all-district selection as a junior in the Lone Star State is starting to blow up and catch people’s attention now that he is on the national stage and playing some of the best high school team’s in the country.
Linebackers coach Jeff Koonz got ahead of everyone when he offered Burns and secured his commitment earlier this year and I think once Jaqwondis makes it to Oxford he will have an immediate impact on the linebacker room.
IMG Academy is currently ranked No. 5 in the nation and will travel to Booker T. Washington (Fla.) this Friday to try to make it 6-0. After this week they will play teams from Canada, Virginia, and Maryland before closing out their regular season with a finale in Alabama against Ole Miss commit Robby Ashford.