The state of Mississippi’s 2024 football recruiting class for the last couple of years has been earmarked as potentially the state’s strongest class since at least 2019, and perhaps beyond. The headliner of that 2024 class is, and has always been, Lake Cormorant defensive lineman Kamarion Franklin, who on Saturday made the call to commit to Ole Miss. Franklin is ranked as the #39 player in the country according to the On3 composite, the #7 defensive lineman, and the top player in Mississippi. Weirdly, On3’s proprietary rankings have Franklin as the #223 player in the country, which drags down his consensus ranking a good bit. Rivals and 247 rank him as the #11 and #30 player in the country, respectively, each giving him a five star rating.
Over the past couple of months, Auburn appeared to hold the momentum in Franklin’s recruitment, with Ole Miss, Miami, and Tennessee also in the mix, but in the last few days, Lane Kiffin, Pete Golding, and Randall Joyner made a big push to sway the elite pass rusher back towards Oxford. Or, maybe Franklin got bored and Googled “Hugh Freeze.” Who’s to say?
In any case, here’s what Ole Miss is getting in Franklin: a 6’5, 265lb prototypical strong-side defensive end who also absolutely gets after the passer in comically dominant fashion, as shown in his Hudl highlights. Franklin had a school record 19 sacks in 2022, a stat made all the more impressive by the fact that any opposing coach with two brain cells to rub together would be game-planning specifically to prevent Franklin from breaking his QB in half.
Franklin joins a 2024 Ole Miss class that was already defensive line-heavy; he completes a fearsome foursome of in-state defensive linemen, with the Rebs having already secured commits from Jeffrey Rush (#203 overall), Kamron Beavers (#113 overall), and William Echoles (#778 overall). Ole Miss also has two smaller EDGE rushers committed in Cameron Clark and Maurice Davis.
Pete Golding and co will need those reinforcements, as the Rebs are set to lose: Cedric Johnson, Jared Ivey, JJ Pegues, Isaiah Ukwu, Josh Harris, Stephon Wynn, Jamond Gordon, and Reginal Hughes after this season. So… the entire defensive line rotation, minus Zxavian Harris and Akelo Stone.
Looking to put Franklin’s commitment into context, we’d have to go back…ok, one year…to find a defensive player with a similar rating, with the signing of Suntarine Perkins in the 2023 cycle. Before that though, we’d have to go all the way back to 2016 to the signing of Benito Jones, who was ranked the consensus #15 player in the country, but had to suffer through the Matt Luke era. Basically, it’s becoming clear that Pete Golding is making a big difference in the kind of defensive talent Ole Miss is able to attract.