Yesterday Ole Miss landed the services of local, Oxford cornerback Devin Rockette. He is the eighth commitment of the 2017 class for Hugh Freeze and the Rebels football program, but also the third this week. The speedy corner joins Riverdale, Louisiana, linebacker Josh Clarke, who we told you about on Monday night and Greenville, Mississippi, offensive lineman Lavante Epson, about whom we will share more in a bit.
Ole Miss came through with the offer nine days ago following Rockette putting on a full on show at a camp. He ran a sub 4.40 40-yard dash, as well as a 4.43, and timed at 4.10 in the shuttle drill. Recently he attended a camp at Mississippi State where he also timed a 4.40 and jumped over 39 inches on a vertical jump. He announced his commitment on his personal Twitter account:
— DévinRockette (@D1Dreams22) June 16, 2016
Ole Miss picking up talented in-state players
Rockette becomes the fourth Mississippian in the 2017 class, as well. He will join former Charger teammates D.K. Metcalf and Korbin Harmon, who were members of the 2016 Ole Miss signing class. Last season he tallied 20 pass breaks, while intercepting one pass, and showed his physicality on 53 tackles. It appears the in-state rival Bulldogs were close to giving Rockette good news, but that ship has certainly sailed now.
Freeze and staff addressing positions of need
With the commitment, Freeze and staff continue to show their prowess on the trail. Each year there are a handful of targets they like but want to confirm at camp. Additionally, they are picking up coveted prospects at positions of need. The most desperate need? Linebacker. They addressed that on Monday with Clarke’s commitment. He is one of the best, if not the best, linebacker prospects Freeze has landed at the position. Defensive line would be next in the order of pressing needs and they have two guys there in Jones County CC product Markel Winters and Baton Rouge, Louisiana 4-star prep Bryan Jones. Now, they have their first commitment at cornerback, as well, another position they will need to stock in 2017.
The offensive line class could shape up to be the best in school history, as targets Trey Smith and Walker Little both appear to favor the Rebels and are both 5-star prospects. Factor that in with the commitment of legacy and Vicksburg, Mississippi, native Ben Brown who has already cast his lot with the program that runs in his family.
Epson commits to the Rebels
On Wednesday night, however, Ole Miss added a bit of surprise commitment in Lavante Epson of the Washington School. He is likely to be an interior offensive lineman on the next level–and potentially a very good one. He held offers from Alabama, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Southern Miss, California and others. Like Rockette, Epson, too, revealed the news on his twitter account.
While it seemed there would only be room for three offensive linemen in this class, it appears the talent Epson possesses is just too great to pass up. His impact could be felt at either guard spot, and I have a hunch Matt Luke will want him to learn how to snap, as well. He would be a punishing center.
The recent surge on the recruiting trail might not be over, either. Though a recent trip to Texas A&M muddied the waters with 4-star IMG linebacker Santino Marchiol, he is set for return to Oxford, with his mother, soon. If a decision comes prior to that visit, it will be a pledge for the Aggies. However, Ole Miss could emerge again if he makes another visit to Ole Miss.
Then there’s 4-star, in-state linebacker Willie Gay of Starkville, who appears to be friends with recent Ole Miss linebacker commit Clarke, and will announce in late July or early August.
Of course don’t be surprised to see other commitments either, though, because the summer months bring an opportunity for so many prospects to flow through campus.
And like Senquez Golson says, “If you don’t want to come to Ole Miss, don’t visit.”