Early signing day, plus the addition of a frenetic portal recruiting season, has really cut down on a lot of the drama of the standard high school recruiting season. But, it’s still the most important look at the future of a given team’s football program. And as of yesterday, signing day is just a week away!
Ole Miss has collected a solid, but not flashy 2023 class, and most of the class has been settled for quite a while. Here’s a quick view of the 12 athletes currently committed to the Rebs for 2023:
- 4-star QB Marcel Reed
- 4-star WR Ayden Williams
- 3-star TE Jayvontay Conner
- 4-star OL Brycen Sanders
- 3-star OL Izavion Miller (JUCO)
- 4-star EDGE Neeo Avery
- 4-star EDGE Jamarious Brown
- 4-star LB Suntarine Perkins
- 3-star LB Skielar Mann
- 4-star DB Braxton Myers
- 4-star DB Ahmad Brown
- 3-star DB Daniel Demery
With those commits in mind, here are some bullet points that I think are most worth paying attention to:
- Ole Miss desperately needs to pick up a running back or two. Depending on whether Zach Evans goes pro or stays for his senior year, the Rebels will return either two or three scholarship backs. Either way, that’s not enough. Right now, the main target appears to be Kedrick Reescano. Picayune four-star back Dante Dowdell appears set to sign with Oregon, after six months of recruiting talking heads predicting a flip to Ole Miss. The only other serious RB target was Fart Louderdale, FL rusher Christopher Johnson, who recently committed to Miami. Fortunately, Reescano is both 1.) very, very good and 2.) an apparent Ole Miss lean. On3’s RPM prediction thingy indicates a 94.6% chance the New Caney, Texas rusher signs with Ole Miss, and on the 247Sports side, Penn State recruiting reporter Tyler Calvaruso recently cast his “Crystal Ball” (god this shit is stupid) to sign with Ole Miss. Notably, the Nittany Lions have lately been the other major player in Reescano’s recruitment, so the PSU reporter’s vote for Ole Miss is likely well-informed.
- Ole Miss has its quarterback of the future already committed in Marcel Reed, but Texas A&M has been knocking on Reed’s door as of late. Reed has visited College Station in recent weeks, and appears to at least be listening to Jimbo Fisher’s pitch, despite the A&M coach being whatever the polar opposite of a QB whisperer is. No one on the Ole Miss side is projecting Reed to flip, but it’s definitely something to follow. While his national ranking hasn’t moved much, I think the general perception of Reed as a prospect has risen considerably during his senior season, where he displayed a lot of polish and big play ability. He’s one the Rebs have got to keep.
- Ole Miss has a legit star at the wide receiver position in Ayden Williams, but as it stands, he is the only receiver committed to the Rebs. Ole Miss never appeared to have an “in” with any other big-time wideouts this cycle, so securing Williams was absolutely crucial. However, Lane Kiffin and co. do appear set to add one more receiver to the class in Kennesaw, Georgia prospect Cayden Lee. Listed at 5’11 and 170lbs, Lee appears to fit the mold of a slot receiver, but his Hudl highlights show a more well-rounded player who can make big catches on the outside.
- Former Ole Miss offensive line coach Jake Thornton was considered a strong recruiter, but the Rebels are limping into the offseason with just two offensive line commitments. Brycen Sanders is a versatile commit that literally any school in the country would take, so that’s neat. The other commit, Izavion Miller, is a junior college offensive tackle. That seemed all well and good in the preseason, when Ole Miss was likely going to have to replace starting left tackle Jeremy James and right tackle Mason Brooks in the offseason. Now, both starting tackle spots are occupied by redshirt freshmen, with Jayden Williams locking down the left side and Micah Pettus manning the right. So, does it really make sense to bring in a JUCO to back them up? Miller seems to have the frame of a pure offensive tackle, so may not have the versatility to shift inside to guard. Also, with coach Thornton moving on to join Hugh Freeze at Auburn, Miller may well follow suit. He is widely expected to de-commit. New Ole Miss offensive line coach John Garrison has recently extended offers to Purdue commit Ethan Fields and Old Dominion commit Chimdy Onoh, who appears to have recently been offered by some other bigger programs, including Nebraska, Syracuse, and Rutgers.
- Suntarine Perkins, by far the Rebels’ highest-rated committed player, made his pledge to Ole Miss a little more than a year ago, and ever since, Alabama has been bearing down on Raleigh’s do-it-all linebacker/running back/safety/whatever. Rumors have been tossed about all year that Perkins was on the verge of a flip to the Tide, but Ole Miss and Perkins have seemingly put that to rest. After absolutely dominating in the Mississippi/Alabama all-star game (in a game where defenses couldn’t blitz the QB, no less), Perkins took a visit to Oxford, and seemingly shut down his recruitment with a Tweet reaffirming that he is “locked in and 1000% going to Ole Miss,” which is a decently high percentage, I am told. Perkins was also the beneficiary of a nice rankings boost by 247Sports, which recently bumped him up to the #35 player in the country in their proprietary rankings.
- Speaking of the MS/AL all-star game, one of the standouts from the Mississippi squad during its week of practice was Clarksdale cornerback Kelley Jones, a Mississippi State commit. Listed at 6’3 or 6’4, Jones has the length to cover taller receivers, and did a better job than anyone else trying to mark up against Ayden Williams during practice. Kelley’s performance led to On3 bumping his ranking up to the #6 player in the state, and also earned him an offer from Ole Miss. And according to On3 recruiting analyst Zach Berry (does that name ring a bell?), Jones is likely to take the Rebels up on the offer. Kelley would essentially take the place of former Ole Miss commit Marvin Burks jr., who elected to switch his commitment to home state school Mizzou.
Ole Miss is in the process of hosting a few portal prospects on official visits right now, but that’s a whoooooole ‘nother can of worms, and we’re still waiting to find out who all the top targets are going to be. Look for an update on the Portal King coming your way soon.