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Kiffin and Rebels not just waiting for opportunity, they’re creating it

Kiffin and Rebels not just waiting for opportunity, they’re creating it

Playwright  George Bernard Shaw writes, “Don’t wait for the right opportunity: create it.” 

It appears Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin is taking this adage to heart. He and his staff have seized the day when it comes to rebuilding the Rebels’ program, and their approach has not only rejuvenated the football program but shows no sign of stopping any time soon.

2021 Recruiting Success

The Rebels closed National Signing Day stronger than most everyone — outside of Kiffin and his staff — expected with the No. 18 overall signing class in the country, according to 247Sports and Rivals. ESPN has the 2021 group sitting at No. 17. 

Last week, the team got another huge boost with the signing of Tywone Malone, the No. 1 defensive tackle in the state of New Jersey and the overall No. 6 at his position in the country. Things just got more serious in the ‘Sip — not only for the Rebels on the football field, but also on the diamond as Malone is a dual-sport star who looks to also play for head baseball coach Mike Bianco.

Ole Miss addressed the biggest areas of need with this recruiting class — especially the defensive line and the secondary. In addition to Malone, the Rebels signed the No. 1 and No. 2 JUCO defensive tackles in the country in Jamond Gordon and Isaiah Iton. They also shored up the secondary with players like 4-star safety Dink Jackson, 4-star DB MJ Daniels, and 4-star safety Tysheem Johnson. 

Chance Campbell arrives via the transfer portal

People are always blaming circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.

Playwright George Bernard Shaw

One would have to believe Coach Kiffin also agrees with this nugget from Bernard Shaw.

Even though National Signing Day came and went, the Ole Miss head coach was not done. The transfer portal is yet another road on which the Lane Train can travel, and he and his staff did just that with the commitment from linebacker Chance Campbell this week. 

The Rebels rolled into the land of crabcakes and football to pick up Campbell, a University of Maryland linebacker who was named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten after his 2020 season where he ranked third in the conference with 11 tackles per game.

Campbell, a former three-star prospect in the Class of 2018 who was recruited by Ole Miss co-defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin when he was coach at Maryland, announced his plans to transfer last month. In addition to ranking atop the league in tackles per game, he was third in solo stops per game (5.7). In four starts, he led Maryland in tackles (43) and tackles for loss (5 ½), had 1 ½ sacks and returned a fumble 34 yards for a touchdown in the Terps’ upset win over the Penn State Nittany Lions. 

After three seasons making an impact in his home state, Campbell, like many other athletes in the portal, set his sights on finding an opportunity to make the most out of his final season. So, he turned to the Southeastern Conference and the Ole Miss Rebels. 

He will graduate from Maryland in May and be eligible to play immediately for the Rebs this fall.

Campbell’s experience at the linebacker position will add to the Rebels’ depth in 2021. Ole Miss returns talented linebackers Jacquez Jones, MoMo Sanogo, Lakia Henry, and Sam Williams. Jones led the team in tackles last season with 75 in nine games, while Henry notched 62 in nine games, Sanogo added 60 in ten games and Williams tallied 40 in ten games.

Laying the foundation

If dynasties are built on recruiting, Lane Kiffin has laid a heck of a foundation in a short time. He and his staff are opening doors to “God’s Country” that haven’t been opened in a while, as players from all across the nation are turning their heads to see what’s going on in Oxford. In fact, only six players in this year’s class are from the State of Mississippi. As Kiffin explained in his signing day presser, some years that number will be higher than others — but what will remain the same is the nationwide search for top talent. 

So gear up, Rebs, because we are about to be winning more than just parties this fall!

(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)

About The Author

Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo

Lee Ann is the Director of Recruiting for The Rebel Walk. She is a veteran SEC sports journalist and NFL content writer. She is also the Sr. Editor for MESPORTS digital. Herring-Olvedo is a Brown University graduate who loves good cigars, good games, and a smooth glass of bourbon — not necessarily in that order.

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