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Ole Miss recruiting: Can Kermit Davis finally land a 5-star?

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Could Matthew Murrell’s former teammate join him in Oxford?

Sports Illustrated

It’s been a minute, fans.

COVID-19 and off-season uncertainty with college football has put quite the damper on #TheNetwork Files, but alas we are back.

And with a bang!

Kermit Davis and the Ole Miss basketball staff seem to be back at it again after signing four-star top-50 guard Matthew Murrell in the 2020 class and receiving a commitment from four-star guard Daeshun Ruffin. Sources around the Kentucky basketball program and around Lexington were buzzing on Tuesday when news started surfacing five-star forward Brandon Huntley-Hatfield and the Wildcats had “severed ties”.

The former IMG Academy star, who is now at Scotland Campus in Pennsylvania, was long-thought to be a Kentucky Wildcat lock, but sources have told Red Cup Rebellion this is no longer the case. In fact, we are hearing it is an Ole Miss and Tennessee battle right now.

Rick Barnes versus Kermit Davis. SEC East versus SEC West.

Murrell played with Huntley-Hatfield at IMG a year ago where the two were a part of arguably the deepest team in the country, which featured several Power 5-caliber prospects. Now, he transferred to play at Scotland Performance Institute where he will be the focal point and the go-to guy on the offensive end of the floor.

The long and rangy forward has game and also the intangibles. Most analysts believe him to be a one-and-done type player at the collegiate level. His ability to flex out to the perimeter and knock down shots is combined with utilizing his 6-foot-9, 220-pound frame to finesse inside against slower, not as athletic centers.

Huntley-Hatfield, the cousin of former Kentucky star and current Russian basketball player Alex Poythress, is originally from Clarksville, Tenn. The nation’s No. 5 overall player doesn’t seem to be making a decision anytime soon, but he is reportedly cutting his favorite schools list to six on Friday.

Will the Rebels be able to make a move for a top-10 player? There is certainly an enticing cast to join in Oxford with Murrell and Ruffin manning the backcourt and names like Shon Robinson and Luis Rodriguez holding things down in the frontcourt.

But landing these kinds of players is always difficult. Ole Miss learned that lesson the hard way a year ago when four-star, top-50 player Jaemyn Brakefield spurned the Rebels for Duke.

But, if you want your program to take the next step, this is how you do it. You land Brandon Huntley-Hatfield.

Can Ole Miss football land an impact athlete from Philly?

Four-star Tysheem Johnson had to learn his senior year wasn’t happening this week as Philadelphia canceled high school football. But, the nation’s No. 18 athlete in the country quickly moved his decision date up and will make his verbal declaration at the end of September.

The 5-foot-9, 180-pounder from Neumann-Goretti High School in Philadelphia has given college coaches plenty of options when taking a look at his game film, starring on both sides of the ball for Saints.

Right now, it appears Arizona State and the Rebels have the upper hand for the Philly playmaker a year after he obliterated the competition in the City of Brotherly Love. In 2019, he scored 15 touchdowns (seven rushing, six receiving, kickoff and interception), ran for 358 yards and led the team with 455 yards receiving, averaging 19.7 per reception.

Johnson does it all and could potentially play both ways in Oxford. His primary recruiter, co-defensive coordinator Chris Partridge, has been recruiting him since his days at Michigan and has a great relationship with him.

Getting players like Johnson in the recruiting class, which has now climbed it’s way to 57th overall, is how you continue to build quality depth and capitalize on the momentum of the Lane Kiffin hire. Johnson will decide between the aforementioned Rebels, Sun Devils, as well as Alabama, LSU, Maryland, Stanford, and Texas A&M.

Ole Miss in it for Houston signal caller.

One player who is building off momentum is quarterback Maddox Kopp who turned a good three days into a few big-time Power 5 offers. Now, he is looking to make a decision next week on where he wants to attend college.

The St. Thomas High School quarterback impressed at the Elite 11 Finals in Murfreesboro, Tenn. and went from a relatively unknown commodity to a dude who was receiving interest from the likes of Colorado, Houston, Ole Miss, Texas, and Vanderbilt.

The 6-foot-5, 212-pounder is set to announce on September 1st and it seems to be down to the hometown Cougars and the Rebels. Kopp visited Ole Miss a few weeks ago unofficially on his own and was impressed with the campus.

“It was a great experience. It was very good for me to see the campus, with some students on it,” Kopp said.

Obviously, things are different with the ongoing dead period and COVID-19 precautions, but Kopp and his family made the 600-mile trip over to see what Oxford, Miss. and the University of Mississippi had to offer. The big fella continues to rave about what head coach Lane Kiffin and offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby are telling him about the offense.

“They tell me they are really excited about me and that I fit their offense in a really dynamic way,” Kopp said.

But, the Texan isn’t just a quarterback. He can hoop as well.

Maddox is the youngest of four and is trying to follow in the footsteps of his three brothers who all played college sports.

The quarterback room is a little full right now, but as you all know, it’s always a next man up possibility at the SEC level and Kiffin and Lebby want to add flavor to the quarterback position in 2021.