Well, hello there, Ole Miss fans! Wednesday was about as eventful of a day in terms of roster management as Lane Kiffin has had in his tenure as the Rebels’ head coach. For the sake of brevity, let’s bullet point this thing out. Just yesterday:
- Freshman LSU quarterback and former top-50 prospect Walker Howard committed to Ole Miss. The Cup’s Ruby Draayer wrote all about it here.
- Ole Miss safety Tysheem Johnson and cornerback Davison Igbinosun officially entered the transfer portal, after both announcing their intent to enter in the wake of defensive coordinator Chris Partridge’s imminent departure. Ole Miss coaches and NIL collective leaders had been fighting like hell to keep both, but their official entry into the portal seems like a bad sign on that front. Johnson was a starter and perhaps the Rebels’ top returning safety. Igbinosun started most of the season at cornerback as a true freshman, though Miles Battle (also a portal casualty) started a few games in his place at the end of the season.
- Seemingly out of left field, Rebel linebacker Ashanti Cistrunk and slot receiver Jaylon Robinson entered the portal. Cistrunk had 72 tackles (28 solo) in 2022, part of what was mostly a four-man rotation at linebacker, and would have competed for a starting role in 2023. Robinson came to Ole Miss from Central Florida with much hype, and was penciled in as the starting slot receiver before his season was derailed by a nagging leg injury.
- Ole Miss quarterback Kinkead Dent entered the transfer portal. Not a shock, as it was widely assumed Dent would transfer or just graduate if he was not in line to be the Rebels’ backup QB.
- North Texas cornerback DeShawn Gaddie arrived on campus for a visit. Gaddie was a first-team All-CUSA selection by Pro Football Focus, earning second-team all-conference nods from Phil Steele and Pro Football News. He had 62 tackles, TWELVE pass breakups (good, IMO), two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery on the year. He is expected to commit to Ole Miss soon, and would compete with Miami (OH) transfer John Saunders and returning #4 corner Markevious Brown to take over for Battle and Igbinosun. Rebel senior Deantre Prince will lock down the other cornerback spot.
- Louisville linebacker Monty Montgomery announced on Twitter that he would be in Oxford for a visit starting today (Thursday… today is Thursday, right?). Montgomery had 70 tackles, 6 sacks, and a bunch of tackles for loss last year after bouncing back from an ACL tear in 2021. The senior LB appears to rush off the edge quite a bit in his highlight tape from 2022. He looks quick and instinctive, and is definitely a big hitter. Montgomery is also set to visit West Virginia and Texas A&M in the coming days, so… maybe don’t get excited yet.
- Alabama linebacker Demouy Kennedy entered the transfer portal, and Ole Miss is reportedly all over him. Kennedy was a reserve ‘backer and special teams regular for the Tide, and while he hadn’t yet cracked the defensive rotation, the 6’3, 220 lb Theodore, AL native was the #38 player in the 2020 class, and possesses the elite athleticism Ole Miss lacks at the linebacker position. To state the obvious, Kennedy was coached by new Ole Miss defensive coordinator Pete Golding for three seasons, which ought to ease any concerns about his lack of production so far. If Golding thought he sucked, he wouldn’t be trying to bring him along, imo.
- Mississippi State wide receiver Tulu Griffin withdrew from the transfer portal after a brief flirtation with Ole Miss. Griffin would have been a valuable asset as a returner, if not a candidate to start at slot receiver. Make them Dawgs pay you your money, Tulu.
- Ole Miss earned a commitment from Stony Brook defensive back Jackson Jones, a scant but speedy prospect who will be a preferred walk-on. Jones claims a legit 4.3 40-yard dash, and could get a shot as a return specialist for the Rebels.
- Ole Miss #sources continue to emphasize that the Rebs are the most likely landing spot for Oklahoma State starting QB Spencer Sanders, with a commitment coming as early as today (again… Thursday?). Sanders definitely adds talent and depth to the quarterback room, but the exact role Lane Kiffin sees for him is unclear. Is he supposed to give Jaxson Dart a serious run for the starting job? Sanders shows some big-play ability, but after starting for four years, his stats as a junior and senior are decidedly worse than those of Dart, a true sophomore playing in a tougher division with arguably a weaker supporting cast of blockers and receivers.
Whhhheeeeeeewwwww, I think that’s just about everything that happened in Ole Miss land yesterday. The transfer portal is now closed, so no more Rebels can ditch, as far as I know, but Ole Miss can obviously continue to add players up until early February, when the drop/add deadline for classes comes into play. Until next time…