A few weeks after newly-acquired Ole Miss DC Pete Golding swept in and grabbed Southwest Mississippi CC linebacker/EDGE Jameer Lewis to wrap up the Rebels’ 2023 recruiting class, another JUCO linebacker made his commitment to Ole Miss. Jones County JC linebacker Raymond Collins became the sixth member of the Rebels’ 2024 class earlier this week, closely following the commitment of Pascagoula defensive end Jeffery Rush. Collins is not yet rated by On3 or 247 Sports – junior college rankings have sort of gone by the wayside in the portal era – but he’s listed at 6’2 and 235 lbs, and his Hudl highlights look… pretty good. While Jameer Lewis appears to be more of an edge rusher or outside linebacker, Collins looks more like a traditional mike ‘backer (though he does rush the QB some in his highlights).
Collins announced his commitment on Twitter Monday, leaving us to wonder where we can snag our own massive “Come to the ‘Sip” boombox.
Pete Golding’s apparent renewed interest in junior college recruiting is something to keep an eye on moving forward. He may just be trying to plug what he perceives as holes in the defensive roster, or it may be an attempt to find some diamonds in the rough, as SEC powerhouse programs are much less invested in JUCO recruiting than they were just a few years ago. With transfer portal frenzy driving up NIL spending, some programs might find better value by searching for overlooked JUCO prospects.
In other recruiting news:
Ole Miss hosted Carrollton, Georgia tight end/wide receiver prospect Caleb Odom last week, a visit that appears to have gone extremely well. Odom is no doubt one of Lane Kiffin’s most coveted prospects this cycle, especially among offensive players (2024 seems to be shaping up to be a defense-heavy class, imo). Listed at 6’6 and 215 lbs, Odom has offers from… literally everybody, including home-state UGA, but Ole Miss got on him early, and appears to be doing a great job recruiting the talented pass catcher.
Odom is ranked the #38 overall player in the country by On3, while 247 ranks him the #68 overall player. Rivals and ESPN appear to be sleeping on him, which is driving down his consensus ranking. Odom’s Hudl highlights show him playing wide receiver almost exclusively, and that may be where Ole Miss projects him to play. He shows great quickness for his size, getting wide open on double moves and making defenders miss after the catch. It’s not clear how far along he is in the decision-making process, but expect Odom to keep Ole Miss in it. Fun note: Caleb also won a contest at his school by memorizing Pi to 103 digits.
So a funny thing happened a few weeks after I did my first deep dive into the state of Mississippi’s 2024 class: Picayune Memorial linebacker/EDGE Jamonta Waller got a huuuuuuuuge rankings boost from 247 Sports. I was a big fan of Waller’s Hudl highlights upon first viewing, but I would never have guessed that he’d be bumped all the way up to 5-star status. For some context on how big of a jump that is, and how crazy recruiting rankings can be in general: while 247 bumped Waller to their #22 player overall, On3 ranks him as the #23 player… in Mississippi. Waller did have insane offers even before his ratings jump (in fact, I’m sure those offers influenced 247’s decision to boost him so high), so it remains to be seen if this changes anything in his recruitment. As it stands, Ole Miss holds a significant edge in Waller’s recruitment according to On3’s Recruiting Prediction Thingamajig. Recruiting analyst and Friend Of The Cup Zach Berry has also predicted Waller will commit to Ole Miss.