As we head into the spring semester, the Ole Miss football roster for 2023 is all but set, save for a couple of late portal additions/subtractions after spring football. And while we haven’t delved into next year’s high school recruiting class, the 2024 cycle is well underway. In 2023, the Rebels really only seriously recruited about seven players from the Mississippi high school ranks, eventually signing Suntarine Perkins, Ayden Williams, and Jamarious Brown. Expect Ole Miss to recruit around double that number from the 2024 class. Not only is next year’s crop deeper than the 2023 class, but Lane Kiffin appears to have made a point to focus on homegrown talent, replacing defensive coordinator and ace recruiter Chris Partridge with fellow DC/ace recruiter Pete Golding.
Partridge allowed Ole Miss to gain inroads in the Midwest and Atlantic coast, but lacked connections in the deep South, and the impracticality of trying to recruit New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland kids to play in Mississippi was starting to show. Losing Mississippi defenders Isaac Smith and Kelley Jones (at least part due to chasing out-of-state players) apparently didn’t sit well with Lane Kiffin, nor did losing out on two out-of-state defenders who were committed to the Rebels, in Missouri’s Marvin Burks and Maryland’s Neeo Avery.
Enter Golding, a Hammond, Louisiana native who played and coached at Delta State, with other coaching stops at Tusculum College (Tennessee), Southeast Louisiana, UTSA, Southern Miss, and (as you may have heard) Alabama. Golding has seemingly been Alabama’s lead recruiter for several of the top defensive prospects in Mississippi over the last few years, and in literally the first few hours of his tenure at Ole Miss, Pete made an impact in the recruitment of a major offensive piece for the Rebels in LSU quarterback Walker Howard. Whether or not he’ll continue to recruit both sides of the ball for the Rebels remains to be seen, but for today, we’re going to take a look at the top in-state players for the class of 2024 on the offensive side of the ball. All eight of these players either have an Ole Miss offer in-hand, or seem to be on the verge of an offer.
Chris Davis: A 6’0, 165 lb running back from Picayune, Davis was the lightning to 2023 running back Dante Dowdell’s thunder last season. Davis owns a slew of high-profile offers including Mississippi State, Auburn, Florida State, South Carolina, Oregon, and Penn State. Davis is currently a 3-star prospect, ranked #9 in Mississippi, #44 at the RB position, and #440 overall by the On3 consensus.
Braylon Burnside: Starkville HS wide receiver Braylon Burnside is listed at 6’1, 195 lbs, and is currently the #3 player in the state, #28 WR, and #168 player overall, according to On3. He was a frequent visitor to the Ole Miss campus in 2022, and as such, the Rebs have a commanding lead in his recruitment according to the On3 recruiting prediction algorithm thingy. He lists offers from Ole Miss, Oregon, Arkansas, Florida State, South Carolina, Indiana, and a few mid-majors.
Noreel White: White is a wide receiver from Ocean Springs’ St. Martin High School, listed at 6’0 and 170 lbs. On3 ranks White as the #6 player in the state, the #36 WR and the #238 player overall. He was set to announce a commitment earlier this month, seemingly set to choose between Ole Miss and LSU (with the Rebels appearing to be the favorite), but he backed off that commitment date. His other offers include Florida State, Mississippi State, and Arkansas.
JJ Harrell: North Panola’s JJ Harrell is another Magnolia State wideout, listed at 6’2 and 175 lbs. Ranked behind Burnside and White as the #7 player in MS, the #42 WR and #277 player overall, Harrell claims an offer list exceeding that of either of the two higher-ranked Mississippi pass catchers, with reported offers from Georgia, Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, Florida, Auburn, Mississippi State, Oregon, Penn State, Texas A&M, Colorado, and others. If even half of those offers are legit, expect Harrell to creep up the rankings as the recruiting cycle progresses. Harrell released a list of his top eight schools back in December, conspicuously omitting Ole Miss. Since then, the Rebs have seemingly crawled back into the thick of things, but it still wouldn’t be surprising to see Harrell opt for an out-of-state destination.
Jeremy Scott: The fourth wide receiver among the top group of Mississippi prospects is Calloway’s Jeremy Scott, listed at 6’4 and 185 lbs. Scott is ranked the #13 player in the state, the #85 wideout, and the #596 player overall. As with all three other wideouts, Ole Miss leads his On3 recruiting prediction. Ole Miss has reportedly offered, as have Mississippi State, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Houston, and a few mid-majors.
Jimothy Lewis: A former Madison Ridgeland Academy prospect, Jimothy Lewis made the move down to Bradenton, FL to attend IMG academy, though he’s still listed as a Mississippi prospect in the On3 database. That service rates the 6’5, 300 lb Lewis as the #5 player in the state, the #12 interior offensive lineman, and the #186 overall player in the country. 247 Sports rates him much higher, as the top interior OL, the #48 player overall, and the #12 player in Florida (isn’t Florida football insane?). His only 247 Crystal Ball pick is from Ole Miss reporter David Johnson, in favor of the Rebels, and his On3 RPM thingy has Ole Miss in the lead as well. However, Lewis holds offers from Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Michigan, Florida State, and literally everyone else, so in the NIL era, I would not expect Ole Miss to have an easy road to landing Lewis.
Isaiah Autry: A 6’7, 275 pound offensive tackle from Itawamba Agricultural, Autry is rated the #8 player in Mississippi, the #22 offensive tackle, and the #428 player in the country. He claims offers from Ole Miss, LSU, Auburn, Florida State, Mississippi State, Oregon, Louisville, and others. Ole Miss seemingly held a commanding lead in Autry’s recruitment until Ole Miss offensive line coach Jake Thornton left for Auburn, making the Warplaintigers a formidable player for the rangy lineman. Current Ole Miss OL coach John Garrison seems to have done some makeup work with Autry, so we’ll see if the Rebels can push for a commitment from Autry soon.
Taccofah Lewis: “Taco” Lewis has been the beneficiary of a late growth spurt, and has apparently blown up in offseason camps. Ole Miss has not yet offered, that we know of, but he appears to be on the cusp of gaining some big-time offers.