Late Thursday night after an in-home visit with Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke and offensive coordinator Phil Longo, 4-star quarterback Matt Corral switched his commitment from Florida to the Rebels. Corral also had offers from Alabama, USC, and LSU, among others. Let’s take a look at what this means for the Rebels.
First and foremost, Corral’s commit gives Ole Miss its highest rated prospect in the 2018 class and fills a major need at quarterback.
But, just as importantly, is the domino effect the commitment of the 6-foot-2, 196-lb Corral could have on recruiting.
Ole Miss has been under NCAA scrutiny for quite some time, a fact that has not been lost on recruits. The verbal from Corral, however, has served notice that top players are still more than willing to head to Oxford, and this could potentially change the landscape of this year’s class.
Corral had been the vocal leader of Florida’s 2018 class and almost single-handedly held the group together during the Gators’ sub-par season this year and the resulting firing of head coach Jim McElwain.
When Dan Mullen took over in Gainesville, however, the former Mississippi State coach’s preference for a different style of QB seemed to bode well for Ole Miss and, ultimately, was another factor in the quarterback’s change of heart.
Signing Day: Corral is expected to sign with the Rebels next Wednesday and enter Ole Miss as an early enrollee in January. With Corral now committed to the Rebels, expect his recruiting hat to stay on–and look for him to go hard after some key guys that Ole Miss may not previously have had as big of a chance with prior to Thursday’s commitment.
Who to watch in the 2018 class
A few of the players Corral could potentially persuade to follow him to Ole Miss include:
- 4-star WR and UGA-commit Elijah Moore
- 4-star WR Marquez Ezzard
- 4-star OT and Florida-commit Richard Gouraige
- 4-star RB Harold Joiner
- 4-star OG Tank Jenkins
- 4-star WR and MSU-commit Malik Heath
These are just a few of the bigger names that could be impacted by Corral’s decision. It could also bring other guys into play that weren’t necessarily in the picture beforehand.
He seems to have already started as Corral tweeted out shortly after his commitment, “More on the way. #HottyToddy”
Impact on class of 2019
Not only does Corral’s commitment to Ole Miss help with this year’s 2018 class, but it will also help with the classes in 2019 and beyond. Ole Miss has already enjoyed some momentum brewing in the 2019 class with big commitments from in-state stars Jamond Gordon, Jordan Jernigan, and Tay Sandifer. Knowing they will be getting the ball from a star signal-caller like Corral once Jordan Ta’amu graduates will be a major plus for offensive recruits in the ’19 class.
With Mississippi having one of the strongest in-state classes in the history of the state in 2019, that is a huge bit of momentum to carry into the offseason, along with this season’s Egg Bowl victory.
Timing is everything
Additionally, Corral’s commitment also makes a positive impact on the Ole Miss program because of its timing. At this point Ta’amu, Ole Miss’ returning senior starter at QB, only has one year of eligibility remaining. Further, he has an inexperienced backup behind him in Alex Faniel. With Shea Patterson’s recent transfer to Michigan, Ole Miss was definitely looking for a solid QB to add depth and build for the future.
Ole Miss isn’t going away
The addition of Corral further solidifies a crucial position on the field, but off the field, it also shows the SEC and the whole country that just because the NCAA put Ole Miss on probation doesn’t mean the Rebels are going away.
Make no mistake; over the course of the past several years, rival schools have been in the ears of potential recruits, taking advantage of the NCAA investigation in Oxford by implying that the Rebels were going to suffer harsh penalties and be “down and out” for some time. Corral’s commitment, however, shows national recruits that Ole Miss is still on the scene, and that the NCAA issues the program faces could merely be a minor speed bump for the program.
Continuing excellence at QB
Corral’s pledge also continues an Ole Miss legacy, as of late, of having gunslingers at QB who are able to run a wide-open offense.
Yes, Ole Miss has certainly had some incredibly talented QBs in the past, but never have they experienced such a high-powered offense in successive years.
Bo Wallace, Chad Kelly, Shea Patterson, Jordan Ta’amu, and soon-to-be Matt Corral, constitute an elite list of names in back-to-back years with which only the best of programs can compete.
Maintaining this elite talent at such a crucial position on the field will also help the Rebels continue to attract extremely gifted wide receivers, as you can see (above) with three different 4-star wideouts listed as possible recruits to Oxford. This can only further help Ole Miss continue to own the moniker of “Wide Receiver U.”
Finally, Corral’s commitment means Ole Miss has added the #60 overall player in the country (per 247Sports Composite rankings) and the #3 pro-style QB in the country. This addition has moved the Rebs’ 2018 class, with only 12 commits, up to 60th in the country.
With room for only approximately 21 commits, give or take, Ole Miss’ class won’t finish in the Top 10, but it definitely has the potential to be in the 20-35 range, depending on how well the Rebels close out the cycle.
To compare recruiting over the past four years, Ole Miss finished 15th, 17th, 5th, and 31st per 247Sports Composite rankings. Even dealing with NCAA issues and a potential bowl ban in 2018, the Rebels could very well surprise many in college football with a great finish.
(Feature image credit: David Bowie, Gator Country)