It didn’t take long for Lane Kiffin and his staff’s Florida connections to pay off as new running backs coach Kevin Smith has reeled in his first playmaker at running back.
Four-star Henry Parrish, who was previously committed to Pittsburgh, has verbally committed to the Rebels over notable offers from Florida, Florida State, Iowa, Miami, Michigan, Oregon, Penn State, Tennessee, and Utah.
The nation’s 155th overall player seemed to be considering staying close to home as Greg Knox and the Gators were seemingly making him a priority, but Kiffin and Smith cashed in on their relationship that was developed after being Parrish’s first offer while at FAU.
Columbus High School’s all-time leading rusher chose to decommit from the Panthers and wait to sign in February. That opened the door for Ole Miss and their new staff. The Miami, Fla. native officially visited Boca Raton in 2018 and that bond clearly carried over two years later as the Rebs have yet another game-changing back, joining in-state dynamo Kentrel Bullock.
The newest 2020 commit ran for 1,878 yards as a junior but really exploded this season as a senior. Parrish scooted for 2,319 yards and 28 touchdowns this season, leading the Explorers to an 11-4 record and dramatic, last-second 8A state title win over perennial power Apopka. In his career at Columbus, Henry raced for 4,653 yards and 33 touchdowns in just 36 games, etching his name atop the record book.
How does he fit in?
The newest Rebel burst onto the scene way back in August when one of his 28 touchdown runs went viral and making Sportscenter’s Top 10.
Running back Henry Parrish Jr. racked up 324 yards and 3 TDs in Wednesday night's rout of Belen Jesuit. If that wasn't enough, the senior Explorer also made @ESPN's Top 10 Plays - coming in at No. 2 for the night. #CPride #Adelante pic.twitter.com/usBF0uQzVJ— Columbus Explorers Football (@ColumbusFtball) August 22, 2019
After that, Parrish utilized exceptional vision and toughness to lead Columbus to their first ever state title. He is a crafty runner, setting up blocks well, running behind his pads, and turning on the jets to run away from defenders in the openfield.
He also has the versatility you want in a running back in this day and age with wide-open spread offenses and the running back being an extension of the pass game. That flexibility came in handy when Columbus needed a play to win a championship. And Parrish delivered.
Don’t let the 5’9, 175-pound frame fool you, Parrish packs a punch as well. He along with the aforementioned Bullock give the Rebels quite the duo to go along with Snoop Conner and Jerrion Ealy.
This is the first of what the Ole Miss staff hopes is many Sunshine State dominoes to fall in 2020 and beyond.