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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Ole Miss Lands Three Key Commitments

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxOle Miss has enjoyed a good week on the recruiting trail.

It started with commitments from safety C.J. Hampton from Meridian (Miss.) High School and defensive tackle Garrald McDowell from Covington (La.) High School.

Hampton, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 16 safety by Rivals, reaffirmed his pledge to the Rebels after he had decommitted just days earlier. Ole Miss was able to secure Hampton’s commitment after a strong push by Alabama.

“It came down to my family and talking to coach (Hugh) Freeze and looked at the depth chart and it’s a good position for me to go into,” Hampton said of his decision to choose Ole Miss. “Everybody knows Ole Miss isn’t the biggest winning program up here on the table, but I think I can go do something different and be a ball hawk and change it.”

McDowell is confident Ole Miss’ program is changing for the better. He pointed to the Rebels’ young talent, which includes defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, as a reason to choose Ole Miss over Arkansas and LSU.

“What I like about Ole Miss is it is a good, rebuilding program,” McDowell told “Ole Miss has a winning program, a great staff and a great family around the community.

“My decision was very difficult. My family and I talked about it a lot and my heart said Ole Miss.”

Ole Miss received more fortune when Marquis Haynes became available. The defensive tackle from Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy committed to North Caroline but couldn’t get into school. Tar Heels coaches helped Haynes land at Ole Miss after North Carolina wouldn’t admit him.

“The UNC coaches told me to trust Ole Miss,” Haynes told Rebel Grove. “That helped my decision. I saw some similarities (between Ole Miss and North Carolina). That’s why it felt like home for me. All the coaches were there for me.”

The coaches will be happy to have Haynes on campus in January. He said the Ole Miss coaching staff believes he can help right away.

“They told me they need a speed rusher,” Haynes said. “That’s where I come into play. Right now, they told me I could get up the depth chart and on the field real quick.”

Ole Miss will continue to recruit several highly-touted defenders that would have a chance to help the Rebels immediately. Cornerback Terrence Alexander from New Orleans, linebacker Nyles Morgan from Crete, Ill., defensive tackle Elisha Shaw from Tucker, Ga., are all considering Ole Miss.

The Rebels have 24 commitments for the class of 2014, which is ranked No. 14 in the nation by Rivals. That’s ninth-best in the SEC and No. 5 in the SEC West.

There’s a lot of recruiting work to be done for Ole Miss, but the Rebels have made a strong move in the last week.


The latest on Cook

Florida will find out next week if it will hold onto the commitment of running back Dalvin Cook from Miami Central High School.

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UF’s Orr Busted For Weed

Every year it’s like clockwork.  The BCS Championship Game is played.  A week later, the arrests begin.  Ex-Alabama star Dre Kirkpatrick was the first to be popped for possession of marijuana.  Now it’s a Florida Gator.

Sophomore defensive tackle Leon Orr faces misdemeanor marijuana possession charge after less than 20 grams were found in his on-campus dorm room by UF police.  He’s also being charged with possession of drug paraphernalia thanks to a pipe and rolling papers that were also found in the room.

For those thinking that Will Muschamp would be able to clean up the Gators’ marijuana culture, that’s a no-go.  Orr is the eighth Florida player arrested under Muschamp and six of those arrests have been pot-related.

Smoking marijuana in college isn’t as rare as it used to be and from the 60′s on it hasn’t been that rare to begin with.  But if Florida were to strengthen its drug policy, it might lead one or two Gators to occasionally put down their pipes.

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Ex-Bama CB Kirkpatrick Arrested For Weed

Eight days ago, Dre Kirkpatrick was celebrating a BCS championship with his Alabama teammates.  Five days ago, Kirkpatrick announced that he would leave school early for the NFL.

Way to start that draft push.

Kirkpatrick was arrested and booked around 1am ET this morning for misdemeanor possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana.  The arrest took place in Manatee County, Florida.

Kirkpatrick is expected to be a first-round draft choice in April’s NFL draft.

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Bama Expected To Lose 3 To The NFL

According to, three Alabama stars will announce shortly that they’re heading to the NFL early.

Lineback Dont’s Hightower, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and tailback Trent Richardson are all expected to leave Bama early according to an Alabama source. 

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SEC Headlines – 8/12/11 Part Two

1.  Nick Saban has no qualms with the NCAA’s new tougher, meaner APR policy.  (Here’s more on the new plan.)

2.  Linebacker Dont’a Hightower has a fracture in his left hand, but it’s not considered to be too serious.

3.  The development of Dre Kirkpatrick is good news for Bama’s secondary.

4.  Here’s a UA practice report.

5.  Practice conditions at Auburn are better now under Gene Chizik than they were under Tommy Tuberville.

6.  Onterio McCalebb’s 8.53 yards-per-carry average last season was the best in Tiger history.

7.  AU’s running backs feel they can fill the void left by Cam Newton.

8.  Arkansas has announced that Knile Davis is indeed expected to miss the 2011 season with “an injury to his left ankle.”  (That’s too bad for Davis, too bad for Arkansas, and too bad for the SEC.  Best wishes to Davis in his recovery.)

9.  Davis has had a long history of unfortunate injuries.

10.  In other news, Tyler Wilson looked sharp in last night’s scrimmage.  (I’m reminded of the old joke: “Aside from that, how did you enjoy the play, Ms. Lincoln?”)

11.  Want stupid?  Country music star Brad Paisley actually had to apologize for burning a Razorback rug as part of a simple tour prank.  (Some folks just have no sense of humor.  Or sense, for that matter.)

12.  Two of LSU highest-ranked — and biggest — recruits are squaring off daily in practice.

13.  Redshirt freshman center Cameron Fordham has left the Tiger team.

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