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Come to the ‘Sip: Rebels experiencing meteoric rise up the 2021 recruiting rankings

by | Dec 11, 2020 | Football | 0 comments

Each recruiting cycle, it seems one or two teams sneak into the national spotlight as the result of a meteoric leap up the rankings. Head coach Lane Kiffin’s Rebels appear to be one of those teams this year.

As of Friday Ole Miss has jumped from No. 71 just a little over a week ago all the way to No. 18, according to 247Sports. The Rebels are ranked seventh in the Southeastern Conference, leaping six spots in that short amount of time.

The latest blue chipper to flip to Ole Miss is tight end Hudson Wolfe. The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder from Savannah, Tenn., recently de-committed from Tennessee before deciding on the Rebels. With Kiffin’s recent history with tight ends, one can easily understand Wolfe’s decision.

In Kiffin’s last season at Florida Atlantic, Harrison Bryant won the Mackey Award which is presented to the best tight end in the country. Bryant was selected in the fourth round of the NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns.

Current Rebel tight end Kenny Yeboah found his way to Oxford as a graduate transfer from Temple. Earlier this season, Yeboah said he chose Ole Miss because he knows Kiffin’s success with tight ends. Prior to the season, Yeboah did not have quite the draft stock he enjoys today. But after only eight games in a Rebels’ uniform, he has earned an invitation to the Reese’s Senior Bowl and will almost certainly be selected in the upcoming draft.

Ole Miss has also become a popular landing spot for players who have decommitted from Mississippi State. Just this week, two players, wide receiver Brandon Buckhaulter (Hartfield Academy, Flowood) and offensive lineman Makylan Pounders (Byhalia High School) chose to commit to the Rebels after originally pledging to the Bulldogs.

Last Friday, the Rebels also received a commitment from Starkville four-star quarterback Luke Altmyer, who had originally committed to Florida State. Altmyer and Hudson Wolfe look to have a very bright future together in Oxford.

‘Come to the ‘Sip’

So, how is Kiffin attracting these players to Ole Miss?

First, the Rebels have stuck together in a family-style atmosphere during the COVID-19 crisis. One player opted out in the preseason, another opted out due to a family situation and a couple have announced their intentions in the last week to enter the transfer portal. Compared to most schools, that is a small rate of attrition.

Secondly, Ole Miss has shown improvement on the field. Despite a hit-and-miss game schedule, the Rebels have won three consecutive games and would have been a handful Saturday had the game against Texas A&M not been cancelled. Ole Miss’ final home game is scheduled for Dec. 19 at LSU where the Rebels should be favored to win and virtually every media outlet projects Ole Miss playing in a bowl game.

Third, the players are having fun. Even with all the hoops the team must continually jump through, the players seem to be enjoying their season. On the field team and individual records are falling in an entertaining way. Plus, seeing the players in media appearances, they seem to always have a smile on their faces. That has not been the case for many programs this season.

Those are rather good reasons for a recruit to choose Ole Miss.

Add to those the facilities, a campus atmosphere that will hopefully be back fully next season, the city of Oxford and a faithful fan base.

It appears the adage is true, “If you don’t want to come to Ole Miss, don’t take a visit.”

Click here for a complete list of Ole Miss commits in the Class of 2021.

Hotty Toddy!

Steve Barnes
Steve Barnes

Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for, and as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.

He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.

A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.

Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.

He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.

Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.

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