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UCF Linebacker Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste Commits To Ole Miss.

Portal King Lane Kiffin’s first 2023 commit should help the Rebels’ run defense

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 02 Boise State at UCF Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

UCF linebacker Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste committed to Ole Miss Thursday night, becoming the first transfer portal acquisition for the Rebels this offseason. A member of Central Florida’s 2019 class, Jean-Baptiste has been a four-year contributor for the Golden Knights, and comes to Ole Miss with one year of eligibility left. Listed at 6’2 and 230lbs, Jean-Baptiste had 52, 51, and 37 tackles over the past three seasons. He was UCF’s 3rd-leading tackler this year. SBNation’s UCF blog Black & Gold Banneret described Jean-Baptiste this preseason as the “anchor” of the team’s linebacker corps, as a team captain and the team’s returning leader in tackles.

Jean-Baptiste committed to Ole Miss via Twitter Thursday, with an accompanying graphic and commitment video.

The senior linebacker brings physicality and experience to an Ole Miss defense that was often gashed by the run in 2022. The Rebels also lose their leading tackler in former Central Michigan linebacker Troy Brown. In terms of expected impact, my best guess is that Jean-Baptiste will be most comparable to current Ole Miss ‘backer Austin Keys, who this season tallied 39 tackles. Like Keys, Jean-Baptiste lacks elite speed and athleticism, but is a strong tackler who excels in the box.

Ole Miss has hosted several other portal players this week, and will continue to entertain visitors through the weekend, so it’s very possible more commitments will break soon.