December 27th, 2013 09:00 AM║ Posted By: Josh Ward ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: Alabama, Dre Kirkpatrick, Lineman Calhoun, Ole Miss
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 RebelGrove.com. “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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