Ole Miss football recruiting was supposed to be going at a rampant pace right about now. Recruiting nationally, meeting high-level prospects and their families at the Memphis airport, taking them around Oxford, showing off the facilities, and winning big-time recruiting battles.
Alas, COVID-19 has almost completely put a halt on things for now with the inability to have in-person meetings and campus visits and the dead period extended all the way to 2021. But, Lane Kiffin and his new staff have been able to piece together an impressive haul without face-to-face contact, finding size:speed ratio gems all over the country and bringing in three legitimate four-star blue chips in Kyndrich Breedlove, Bralon Brown, and Dink Jackson.
But, they’re not done, now that co-defensive coordinator Chris Partridge has snagged him a big-time play maker from the Northeast.
Four-star athlete Tysheem Johnson has verbally committed to the Rebels over a bevy of Power 5 offers. The No. 9 player in Pennsylvania announced his commitment on Twitter and is the 13th member of the Rebels’ 2021 class.
Johnson chose the Rebs over notable offers from Arizona State, Baylor, Duke, Florida, LSU, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon, Penn State, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas A&M, and Wisconsin among others. He released a top-seven in August, but the Rebels never waivered and eventually won him over, beating out the Crimson Tide, the Sun Devils, and the Cardinal.
Johnson posted a Catholic League-best eight interceptions as a freshman and scored 18 total touchdowns in just seven games as a sophomore.
The Rebels aren’t beating down the proverbial door (yet) for a top-10 class in 2021, but this is where it starts for Lane Kiffin and his staff. The ability to get someone like Johnson who hails from Philadelphia and was personally offered by the likes of Herm Edwards, Jimbo Fisher, Ed Orgeron, David Shaw, and Nick Saban among several others is a way to start rebuilding your roster with quality depth, quick, fast, and in a hurry.
How does he fit in?
the 5’9, 180-pounder is a bolt of lightning in a bottle. He is explosive in all three phases, making plays in the return game, on offense as a back and receiver, and turning defense into offense in the secondary. He is an extremely heady player as well who knows the intricacies of the position no matter where he lines up on the field.
He reminds me a lot of another former Northeast star who went on to play in the SEC, Alabama’s Cyrus Jones. Both were under 6’0 and tipped the scales at 180-pounds yet were constant factors on the field. Like Jones, Williams is extremely athletic and can thrive in several roles.
I anticipate Tysheem eventually making an impact at the slot corner position, making his hay like Mike Hilton did as a Rebel. He is someone who can easily play the field side, work in one-on-one situations in space, and win battles with ease with his skill set and eagerness to get involved no matter what is asked of him.
As I stated above, this is a huge get for the Ole Miss defense and should be celebrated as such.