Most college football programs had their Fall 2023 rosters pretty much sorted out weeks ago, but Ole Miss has been on an absolute tear overhauling its defense in the last few days, adding two cornerbacks from the transfer portal on Thursday night.
The first to make the call was Jadon Canady, a former Tulane standout who started his first two years in New Orleans before a serious knee injury cut his sophomore season short last October. Canady is the #55 ranked cornerback in the portal, according to On3, and was the top uncommitted corner left on the board when he committed Thursday night.
Excited to announce my commitment to The University of Mississippi #hottytoddy @KeynodoH @CoachGolding @wesnab4646 @Lane_Kiffin Ready to work !! pic.twitter.com/zuEDBa2cUy— Jadon Canady (@JadonC28__) May 25, 2023
Listed at 5’11, 180 lbs, Canady had 55 tackles as a true freshman starting at nickel corner, along with two interceptions and three passes defended. Among his most notable plays for the Green Wave were an interception against Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler in 2021, and a 57-yard fumble recovery/return against Houston.
Canady tore his ACL and meniscus in action against Memphis; some publications have suggested Canady won’t be healthy enough to play in 2023, but he has said in interviews that he expects to be a full go by Fall camp. If Canady indeed needs some time to recover, he should have a redshirt available, and could be a strong option to start in 2024 after the departure of Deantre Prince and Zamari Walton.
The Rebels got another dose of good news Thursday night with the late commitment of UCF defender Justin Hodges, the #115 cornerback in the portal.
Committed !— ¹ OF ¹ (@Jhodges_02) May 26, 2023
Thank You God pic.twitter.com/gavbTcsThd
Listed at 6’2, 175 lbs, Hodges recorded 78 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 2 fumble recoveries in three years at UCF, serving as a starter in 2021 and 2022. As he was a freshman during the 2020 COVID year, Hodges has two years of eligibility remaining.
Hodges left UCF after being charged in a home invasion, which appeared to stem from a dispute between Hodges and the ex-boyfriend of a woman he dated. Charges were dropped, but only after Hodges had been dismissed from the program.
Ole Miss has now added four defensive backs since the close of Spring ball: Canady, Hodges, DeShawn Gaddie, and DaiJahn Anthony. All are listed as cornerbacks, but I’d expect at least one of them to play some safety, as the Rebels are now flush with experience at corner, but lacking at safety. Ole Miss has two returners with starts under their belts (Isheem Young, Ladarius Tennison), one more guy with a lot of snaps (Trey Washington), and a transfer with good starting experience (John Saunders from Miami, OH). Beyond that, a talented redshirt freshman in Taylor Groves, and… not much else.
Taking a look at how the Rebs have fared at cornerback over the offseason: the corners Ole Miss lost to the portal were ranked #3 (Davison Igbinosun), #19 (Braxton Myers… probably overrated), #96 (Miles Battle… ridiculously underrated), #99 (Kyndrich Breedlove), #126 (Markevious Brown…also underrated), and #151 (Demarko Williams).
The Rebs have so far brought in the #7, #15, #55, #95, and #115 corners in the portal (Zamari Walton, Deshawn Gaddie, Canady, DaiJahn Anthony, and Hodges), according to On3.