Ole Miss put two of the final touches on its transfer portal class on Thursday, adding commitments from two starting offensive linemen from the University of Washington. UW starting left guard Nate Kalepo and starting right guard Julius Buelow made the call after visiting over the weekend.
For those unaware, the 2023 Husky offensive line won the Joe Moore award, given to the year’s best offensive line unit. Grabbing 40% of the starters on said line seems like a pretty big win in my book. For added context: Ole Miss started Victor Curne at left tackle this season, after Curne left UW when it became clear he wasn’t likely to start for the Huskies.
While Kalepo and Buelow both played almost exclusively at guard this season, On3 rates them both as offensive tackles, because who can bother to do 12 seconds of research when categorizing and ranking players? Regardless, Kalepo is ranked the #7 offensive tackle in the portal (pretty good for a guard!) and Buelow comes in at #28. Both are members of the 2019 signing class, so both will only be in Oxford for one year.
The two UW starters likely round out the Rebs’ offseason offensive line overhaul, which also includes UNC starting left tackle Diego Pounds and Southern Miss starting guard Gerquan Scott. Along with the additions of the top-ranked defensive tackle and top-ranked edge rusher in the portal, and I’d say Lane Kiffin and co. have done a pretty bang-up job of getting both fronts ready for a playoff push in 2024.
Ole Miss offensive line coach John Garrison now enters 2024 with a bevy of options to man his starting unit: along with the four portal studs, he returns starters at RT (Micah Pettus), RG (Jeremy James), and center (Caleb Warren). He also brings back LT Jayden Williams, who started as a redshirt freshman in 2022 before a preseason injury caused him to lose his spot in 2023. Williams did play his ass off in the Rebs’ Peach Bowl victory against Penn State, starting at left tackle while Victor Curne slid over to right tackle to replace the injured Pettus. The Rebs also bring back valuable reserves in Reece McIntyre (if he chooses to return), Brycen Sanders, and Preston Cushman.