Calvary Christian (Fla.) offensive lineman Preston Cushman visited Oxford in June to meet new offensive line coach Jake Thornton and to undergo a private workout. That, paired with a full tour of the facilities, campus and town with his parents was enough to hold off the in-state Florida Gators and Dan Mullen
Cushman received an offer from the SEC East program shortly after his unofficial visit to Gainesville at the end of June, but it was the connection that he made with Thornton and Lane Kiffin that won him over and pushed him to a verbal commitment to the Rebels.
On Saturday, the Clearwater, Fla. native chose Ole Miss over notable offers from Arizona State, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, and several Ivy League programs.
COMMITTED‼️ @OleMissFB #HottyToddy #ComeToTheSip pic.twitter.com/KXOseODqX0— Preston Cushman - OL - 6'5" 285lbs (@Cush_51) July 10, 2021
The versatile lineman can play every position up front, but is being recruited as a tackle by Thornton and the Rebels. Cushman is the eighth commit in Kiffin’s 2022 class.
How does he fit in?
The 6-foot-5, 281-pounder has great length and looks incredibly comfortable in his pass sets as a tackle. His long arms and powerful punch help him knock defensive ends off track and he has a solid foundation when retreating in his kick slides to protect the quarterback. Both his height and weight give Ole Miss a ton of flexibility, too, when looking to place him on the offensive line. He is tall enough to handle the outside and is beefy enough to work on the interior against defensive tackles.
'22 Tackle Preston Cushman @Cush_51 looking the part in 1v1 drills OLvDL at @FIUFootball camp on the opening day of the dead period being lifted post #Covid19 @FootballHotbed HS Showcase alum. #hotbedworld pic.twitter.com/6o9DVVK8Po— Brandon Odoi (@Brandon_Odoi) June 1, 2021
This is a huge victory for Thornton and offensive analyst Phil Loadholt. Mullen and the Gators offered Cushman immediately and wanted him badly, but the Rebels were able to close this one out as they try to build an SEC championship caliber roster.