Ole Miss building 2017 class around talented, in-state prospects
After receiving four commitments last week, and another yesterday, Ole Miss is creating momentum on the recruiting trail without question. Perhaps even more important is the fact that three of the five recent commits are from Mississippi. Five of the ten total 2017 verbal commitments hail from within the borders of the Magnolia state.
Morton athlete D.D. Bowie and Starkville linebacker Willie Gay are ranked as the second and third best players in Mississippi for the 2017 class, respectively, according to the current 247composite rankings of the state.
Three-star offensive linemen Ben Brown of Vicksburg and Lavante Epson of Greenville give the Rebels two prospects with high upside. Brown is a legacy and could wind up at tackle or guard on the next level. Epson, who held offers from Alabama and Mississippi State, has the makings of a dominant interior offensive lineman in the SEC.
Local cornerback Devin Rockette, who stars for Oxford High, committed last week after putting on an impressive performance at an Ole Miss camp nine days earlier. The speedy defensive back accepted what he called his “dream offer” to play for the Rebel football program. Finding a guy with speed like he showed in front of Hugh Freeze and other coaches was likely a dream come true for them, as well. After posting 40-yard dash times in the 4.3 and 4.4 ranges, the local talent showed he could contribute on defense or special teams once he arrives on campus.
In recruiting, however, it’s always about the next man up. Who will commit next? With the slew of recent additions lately, there really is no telling who could be next for Ole Miss. However, at this time Freeze and company have positioned themselves nicely for a few other in-state targets, as well.
There’s an argument to be made that Grenada defensive C.J. Avery is Mississippi’s hottest prospect lately. He just got back from a visit to Clemson and placed the Tigers in his top group. Currently ranked as the fifth best prospect in the state, Avery has picked up offers from the likes of Notre Dame, Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, California, Louisville and others.
Avery’s cousin, Genard Avery, plays linebacker for the Memphis Tigers, who have also offered C.J. Genard was once interested in transferring to Ole Miss to be closer to home. It appears that proximity to Ole Miss is also attractive to C.J., but Mississippi State has not exited the discussion, either.
However, there is no bigger prize in Mississippi in the 2017 class than Cam Akers. Not only is he ranked as the state’s best prep, but he has also reached 5-star status.
With offers from all across the nation, it appears Akers’ focus has been on Ole Miss, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and Ohio State for quite some time now. In fact, he is expected to name a top five by summer’s end and those five teams are likely to make up the list. While Tennessee, Ohio State and Georgia, have each had momentum at one point or another, Ole Miss has been the clear leader since he backed off a commitment to the Tide last fall following a Rebel win over LSU.
Additionally, Akers and Avery have become very close, while both are also close with Gay and other top Mississippi prospects. The relationship between Avery and Akers, however, is what gives Ole Miss a better-than-good chance at landing four of the state’s top five prospects for the 2017 cycle.