The Rebels haven’t been as active during the COVID-19 shutdown as their SEC counterparts, but they are slowly starting to make headway in this strange and unprecedented time. And now, DJ Durkin and Terrell Buckley have added yet another talented defensive back to the 2021 class now that three-star safety Elijah Sabbatini has announced his verbal commitment to the Rebels.
The Biloxi, Miss. native chose Ole Miss over notable offers from Air Force, Arkansas State, Army, Dartmouth, Indiana, Kansas, Louisville, Memphis, and West Virginia among others. The in-state product started stacking offers during quarantine as his highlight video started making the rounds among college coaches, but it was Buckley and Durkin that caught his attention.
The 6’1, 195-pound safety was an instrumental part of Biloxi’s 8-4 season a year ago and a 4-3 finish in a very tightly-contested 6A Region 4 division. Sabbatini did it all for the Indians, making 93(!) total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, defending six passes, snagging three interceptions, two sacks, and one forced fumble.
He was a part of the offense also, adding 623 all-purpose yards and scoring five touchdowns.
The newest Rebel commit joins Kyndrich Breedlove and Demarko Williams in the 2021 secondary class and is the seventh commit in Lane Kiffin’s class.
How does he fit in?
The length (6’1), frame (195-pounds), and athleticism is there (two-way player). Buckley and Durkin are focusing on bringing in long and ready-made prospects that can not only come in and compete right away physically, but ones that are athletic play makers as well.
Sabbatini is an active defensive back who utilizes his body well in space and could potentially grow into someone who roams a little closer to the line of scrimmage. For a guy pushing 200-pounds, he moves laterally well and closes on the football quickly in coverage.
The stars and high-ranking may not be there, but both Memphis and Louisville wanted him badly. Those are two very good defensive staffs who are known for being able to locate and prioritize talent. This is a good get, in my opinion, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see his stock rise with an exceptional senior year. Elijah was invited to the Under Armour Camp Series before the COVID-19 shutdown, so he could be in line for a ratings boost as is.