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RCR’s Ole Miss Recruiting Omnibus; ‘As The Portal Turns.’

We’re just workshopping names for this segment, please bear with us.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 14 Indiana at Michigan Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In a couple of previous posts, we’ve talked about how there are essentially three separate recruiting seasons unfolding concurrently: keeping current players on the roster, recruiting the portal, and recruiting high school/JUCO. While I’ve tried to largely keep those three arenas separate in our recruiting coverage, today we’re just gonna throw a bunch of stuff at you; please keep up.

First, some promising news on Lancaster, TX running back Kewan Lacy. If you exclusively get your crootin’ fix from RCR, you might not have heard much about Lacy, because well… I didn’t think he was gonna come to Ole Miss. The Rebs were involved with Lacy early, but he committed to Nebraska (lol) in June, only to decommit in October. Lacy’s stock has gone up in recent months too; On3 ranks him as the #85 overall player in the country, with a composite ranking of 256 (247 Sports and ESPN aren’t too high on him, dragging his composite ranking down considerably). After his Nebraska decommitment, I figured Lacy was headed to Alabama; a lot of signs pointed that way, in addition to Alabama being… Alabama. BUT, On3 analyst a FotC Zach Berry recently logged a prediction for Lacy to sign with Ole Miss, and 247 national analysts Steve Wiltfong and Mike Roach followed suit. If the Rebs indeed land Lacy, he would likely be the biggest playmaker from the high school ranks in their 2024 class.

In less-fun news, Carrollton, GA wide receiver/tight end prospect Caleb Odom appears set to stick with his commitment to Alabama. Lane Kiffin and co. continued to stay on Odom after finishing second to Alabama earlier this year. He actually visited Oxford on two consecutive weekends this fall, and it looked like it was game on for Ole Miss to execute the rare flip on a Tide recruit. Alas, the momentum has fizzled. Maybe he’ll be a portal prospect in a year or two?

Lane Kiffin has recruited several quarterbacks for this class, holding commitments at different times from Demond Williams and Trever Jackson. Williams de-committed around the same time Ole Miss signed 2023 QB Austin Simmons at the last possible millisecond, while Jackson and Ole Miss had a “mutual” parting of ways a few months later. While it was starting to look like Lane Kiffin might sit tight with his current QB room, in comes Oak Grove HS quarterback Anthony Maddox. A current Texas A&M commit, Maddox may be noticing that things aren’t going super great in College Station. Maddox, rated the #20 player in Mississippi for this cycle, is mulling a visit to Oxford this weekend alongside a star-studded group of current Ole Miss commits and portal prospects.

In portal news, a couple of major, major priorities for the Rebs are expected in town for visits this weekend. First, Chris “Pooh” Paul, a star linebacker for Arkansas, will head to Oxford for an official visit. Things appear to be getting pretty hot and heavy with Paul, and rumblings are that he might be the Rebs’ first portal commit. I mean, the importance of Paul cannot be overstated. He would have been as good as anyone on the 2023 Ole Miss defense, and plays a long-standing position of need for the Rebs. Not to mention, Pete Golding’s defense loses Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste, Ashanti Cistrunk, Monty Montgomery, and possibly Khari Coleman from its linebacker corps. Paul is rated the #1 linebacker in the transfer portal.

The other big portal visitor (that we’re aware of) is Indiana offensive tackle Carter Smith, a redshirt freshman who started for the Hoosiers at left tackle this season. Smith has already visited Virginia Tech, and honestly, thank you to VT for providing a baseline comparison that will make Ole Miss look absolutely amazing. Smith is the #6 offensive tackle in the portal, and stands out as the only freshman in the top 10 prospective transfers at his position.

One portal prospect that I haven’t talked about at all yet is Oklahoma safety Key Lawrence. After playing for Tennessee in 2020, Lawrence transferred to Norman, where he started for three seasons, racking up 148 tackles, 10 pass deflections, 6 forced fumbles, and 3 picks for the Sooners. Key took a sneaky visit to Oxford earlier this week, and like Chris Paul, the Ole Miss staff might be pretty close to closing the deal with the talented defensive back.

In the final note for today’s update: Memphis left tackle Makylan Pounders jumped in the portal on Thursday afternoon after a solid redshirt sophomore season. A former standout at Byhalia (MS) High School, Pounders is currently the #3 ranked OT in the portal, and Ole Miss looks like the overwhelming favorite early on to land him. Landing both Pounders and Carter Smith would be quite the coup for the Rebs, who appear intent on overhauling the offensive line this offseason.