George County (Miss.) athlete MJ Daniels committed to Ole Miss as a junior but eventually flipped to in-state rival Mississippi State earlier this summer. But, after a flurry of momentum from Lane Kiffin and this staff in November and December on and off the field, the No. 6-ranked player in the Magnolia State has flipped back to the Rebels.
Daniels chose Ole Miss over the Bulldogs as well as notable offers from Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, and Texas A&M.
The MS/AL All-Star selection shined for George County the last two seasons, finishing with 63 tackles, eight interceptions, five tackles for loss, five pass break-ups, four forced fumbles, and three defensive touchdowns. He also played quarterback at times, throwing for 626 yards and five touchdowns while also rushing for 151 yards during his junior year. But, the do-it-all athlete didn’t stop there. He also caught 16 passes for 298 yards and four touchdowns a year ago.
Despite the success on offense, the Rebels like MJ as a defensive back. The in-state standout joins a loaded secondary class that should be able to flip the script in 2021. MJ brings a ton of length, play-making ability, and speed to the back end.
How does he fit in?
Standing 6-foot-3, 191-pounds, he is built like a prototypical safety in the SEC. He is long and rangy, and his ball skills on offense make the seamless transition to defense when defending passes and jumping routes for interceptions. Scouts at Rivals say he possesses “high-level” ball skills and is a danger in the open field when he turns defense into offense.
The nation’s No. 38 ranked athlete has a ton of raw ability that will help him compete for playing time next season. Enrolling early will help him get acclimated to Power 5 level competition day in and day out, and he will certainly get into the weight room to start to prepare his body for next season.
I anticipate Daniels giving cornerbacks coach Terrell Buckley a weapon at the third level with his natural ability to glide in coverage and win one-on-one matchups with an elite level of grit and toughness as an on-ball defender. This is a big one for DJ Durkin and Chris Partridge’s defense.