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Ole Miss Gains Portal Commitments From Key TE, DB Prospects.

Lane Kiffin and Pete Golding continue their efforts to build a title contender for 2024.

Wake Forest v Virginia Tech Photo by Ryan Hunt/Getty Images

As Lane Kiffin works to tie up the loose ends of his 2023/2024 offseason roster overhaul, Ole Miss hosted four visitors from the transfer portal over the weekend. Two of the four have already made the call and committed to the Rebs.

Virginia Tech tight end Dae’Quan Wright was the first to pull the trigger and commit. Listed at 6’4, 234, Wright was the Hokies’ starting tight end and third-leading receiver, with 28 catches for 366 yards in his sophomore season. I looked for highlights of Wright to include in this post, and while I couldn’t find a good video, I found enough footage of the Hokies offense to tell you with confidence that their passing game is #butt – Wright will likely stand to benefit from being surrounded by more talent. Wright likely comes to Oxford as a complement to returning starter Caden Prieskorn; he has a smaller frame, but better speed. With the addition of Wright, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see Ole Miss roll out some more two tight end sets in 2024; with returner Hudson Wolfe showing some flashes in his first healthy season since his junior year of high school, it looks like the Rebs will have at least three tight ends good enough to demand ample playing time.

South Alabama defensive back Yam Banks also entered the fold over the weekend. The Rebs recently lost a safety commit, as Tennessee’s Tamarion McDonald changed his commitment from Ole Miss to Louisville. McDonald, I believe, was slated to play a nickel corner/safety role, and Banks played a similar position for the USA Jaguars. A former Ridgeland (MS) HS product, Banks is listed at 6’1 and 208 lbs, and will come to Oxford as a senior with one year of eligibility. So it’s unclear whether Banks is viewed as a 1-to-1 replacement for McDonald, but he appears to be a solid addition as a three-year starter in Mobile.

While this article is mostly meant to recap the weekend’s recruiting news, it’s also worth a mention that Ole Miss starting safety John Saunders announced he would return for a final season in Oxford. Part of an underappreciated (in my opinion) trio of Rebel starting safeties, Saunders had 65 tackles on the year, 3 interceptions, and 4 passes defended. Ole Miss loses fellow starting safety Daijahn Anthony, but returns Trey Washington, and adds Oklahoma transfer Key Lawrence, Indiana transfer Louis Moore, and now Banks. Pete Golding and co. might need to add another cornerback to the mix, but the Rebels appear to be in great shape at safety heading into 2024.

Ok, on to our other two visitors this weekend: Alabama linebacker Kendrick Blackshire and Michigan cornerback Amorion Walker also popped into town. Blackshire hasn’t played much in his three years in Tuscaloosa; in 2023, he had the seventh-most tackles among the Crimson Tide linebacker unit. However, most years there are probably about eight linebackers at Alabama that could start at Ole Miss, so it’s understandable that the Rebs are interested.

Blackshire is listed at 6’2, 233 lbs, and is notably built like an 80’s superhero cartoon character:

Some within the Ole Miss recruiting world are feeling good about Blackshire ending up in Oxford, but after his visit, he did leave straight for Austin to visit UT. I’m officially skeptical.

Finally, a late addition to the Rebels’ visit list, Amorion Walker was expected to be a heavy contributor at cornerback for Michigan this year, though injuries and inexperience kept him lower down in the pecking order. A class of 2022 recruit, Walker hails from Ponchatoula, Louisiana (there’s always a Pete Golding connection somewhere…), and owns absolutely elite measurables. He’s listed at 6’3, 180 lbs, but has speed, agility, and vertical jump numbers that would still set him apart as a physical freak, even if he were 5’9.

We should figure out what’s going on with both Blackshire and Walker pretty soon; time is running out to get signed up for the Spring semester. We’ll keep you updated on the latest.