The Ole Miss roster continues to undergo extensive changes during the offseason, with current players feeling out their options in the transfer portal, and recruiting efforts ramping up to land a few key inbound transfers.
The biggest new development might be the addition of Liberty cornerback DaiJahn Anthony, who chose Ole Miss over offers from South Carolina, Auburn, North Carolina, Washington, and others. The two-year starter at Liberty is a class of 2018 graduate who started his college career at Shepherd University. I assume he’ll have just one year of eligibility remaining. Anthony is well-built at 6 feet, 205 lbs, and looks like he could slot in as the third cornerback behind Deantre Prince and Zamari Walton. Ole Miss has lost SIX cornerbacks to the transfer portal this offseason (Miles Battle, Davison Igbinosun, Markevious Brown, Braxton Myers, Demarko Williams, and Kyndrich Breedlove). While Brown and Williams have yet to commit elsewhere, I don’t think it’s expected that either one will return. With the addition of Anthony, Ole Miss would have just five scholarship cornerbacks on roster heading into Fall camp (Prince, Walton, Anthony, Jarrell Stinson, and true freshman AJ Brown).
Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss landed a commitment from Jackson State star wide receiver Shane Hooks a couple of weeks ago, but his pledge was short-lived. Hooks de-committed a few days ago. It was rumored that Hooks had an NIL-only deal with Ole Miss, so it’s unclear if he might be chasing a full scholarship offer and/or more NIL money. Also unclear if he’s still considering Ole Miss (or vice versa). It’s always hard to project how a player might make the jump from SWAC to SEC, but Hooks has great quickness for his 6’4 frame, and with his experience, probably would have worked his way into the rotation at Ole Miss.
The Rebels are still recruiting a number of portal players, mostly on defense. The main guys on the radar seem to be UAB safety Jaylen Key, Rhode Island safety Antonio Carter, ULM defensive lineman Anthony Campbell, and USF defensive lineman Eddie Kelly. Key, Carter, and Campbell especially each have a buttload of offers, but Campbell has already visited, and I believe the other three at least plan to visit in the coming weeks. There are doubtlessly other portal players on the OM coaches’ radar that we don’t know about; DaiJahn Anthony was not a known target until he stepped on the Ole Miss campus, and he committed before leaving.
The roster/scholarship situation is still very unsettled, as Ole Miss has a few players in the portal who have not yet found a new home. Here is a quick list of Rebels in the portal that have not committed elsewhere:
- RB Matt Jones (non-scholarship player, but could realistically get carries in the Fall)
- WR Brandon Buckhaulter
- OL Flip Carswell
- DE JJ Hawkins
- DL Tywone Malone
- S Elijah Sabbatini
- CB Demarko Williams
- CB Markevious Brown
We haven’t heard anything positive regarding the chances to get any of these players back, and a couple have probably been told that they don’t have a clear path to contributing. Malone actually took an official visit to Ohio State recently, and it seems like the writing is on the wall that he won’t be back. Brown, Hawkins, and Buckhaulter strike me as three guys the coaches will try to hold on to, and I can’t find any information on them taking visits or being recruited, so they may decide that staying in Oxford is the best option.