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Whiskey Wednesday’s Thursday Recruiting Hangover: What’s Left?

We take a look at the Rebs’ recruiting class so far and who they might be targeting to round it out

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 16 Georgia Tech at Ole Miss Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The “early” signing period for NCAA Division 1 starts on December 20 this year. With 12 weeks still to go, Ole Miss already has 23 commitments, setting up what will likely be Lane Kiffin’s largest signing class to date. Let’s take a look at how the class breaks down by position so far, and who Kiffin and co. might be targeting down the stretch:

A pretty well-balanced group, with a lot of the star power concentrated on the defensive line group, which is pretty ideal, I’d say.

While a quick scan would suggest running back, offensive line, and linebacker might be the biggest positions of need, the Rebs’ recent recruiting activity suggests the coaches might have other plans (or are just fantastically striking out at those positions… who’s to say?)

At running back, the only two targets I’m aware of are both committed to other schools. Lancaster, TX back Kewan Lacy is committed to Nebraska, but it appears Ole Miss is still on him. Picayune, MS prospect and former Rebel pledge Chris Davis is committed to Stanford, and we haven’t heard so much as a peep out of him lately. Seems like it’s Lacy or the transfer portal, and I’d bet on the latter. Alternatively, Ole Miss could just return all five of its running backs from this year (Judkins, Bentley, Griffin, Reescano, Jones), and not take anyone.

At wide receiver, Deion Smith has re-emerged as a prime target for Ole Miss. After signing with LSU as the #1 player in Mississippi’s 2021 class, it was a very poorly-kept secret that Smith was leaning towards transferring to Ole Miss after his freshman year. Well, that never happened, but Smith did end up leaving LSU for junior college, before seemingly dropping off the radar entirely for a while. Now starring at Holmes CC, Smith again seems pretty likely to join the Ole Miss wide receivers room. While there are already five receivers in the class, none of them have the day one impact potential that Smith does.

Along the offensive line, the lack of targets is confusing to say the least. Itawamba’s Isaiah Autry is committed to Oklahoma and appears to be firm in his decision, while former MRA standout and current IMG Academy offensive tackle Jimothy Lewis surprised many by committing to Mississippi State in June. Other than that… maybe this is the year Ole Miss gets serious about using the portal to grab some serviceable starting offensive linemen?

Pete Golding’s impact on the Ole Miss roster is already noticeable with the addition of guys like Suntarine Perkins, Isaac Ukwu, Akelo Stone, and Chris Graves, but next year things get real, as the Rebs have built an absolute dream DL class headlined by the nation’s #39 player overall in Kam Franklin. Still, Golding doesn’t appear to be done. Ole Miss recently offered Blinn (TX) CC’s Brien Taylor, a 6’5, 290 lb defensive end with big time offers. Further, the Rebs are in a strong position with four-star EDGE KingJoseph Edwards (sorry, I forgot to precede this with a COOL NAME ALERT), also with an elite offer list. Finally, Picayune four-star EDGE and Florida commit Jamonta Waller is still out there… you never know.

Ole Miss loses at least three linebackers after this season in Monty Montgomery, Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste, and Ashanti Cistrunk, and would need Khari Coleman to exercise his extra COVID year to stay around. That potentially leaves Ole Miss with Ladarius Tennison, Suntarine Perkins, and a few unproven guys next year. Raymond Collins out of Jones Junior College is rated by On3 as the #1 JUCO player in the country regardless of position. That’s great, but JUCO guys are always a gamble, and unfortunately, the Rebels’ prospects in the high school ranks don’t look so great. According to On3, out of the top 50 linebackers, only TWO are not already committed. And those two aren’t going to Ole Miss, friends. I believe Golding is still recruiting Tupelo’s Tristan Jernigan, currently committed to Texas A&M, but it looks like a year where Ole Miss will hit the portal and see if they can find another Chance Campbell or Troy Brown.

With seven DB commits, Ole Miss could be done, unless someone unexpected pops up on their radar. Louisiana native Bernard Causey was recently offered by LSU, so that number will likely go down to six pretty soon, if we’re being realistic. We’ll see if any other names pop up, or if Golding might try to hit the portal to round out the DB class. Ole Miss does lose its top three cornerbacks, plus two of its top safeties in Daijahn Anthony and Teja Young; John Saunders and Isheem Young would need to use their COVID years to stick around. So it seems inevitable that the portal will once again be a lifeline for the Ole Miss DB room.