Recruits’ Reactions: Ole Miss Targets React to the Rebels’ Season
Australian writer Markus Zusak writes, “…A fight’s worth nothing if you know from the start that you’re going to win it. It’s the ones in between that test you.”
In just a couple of hours, the Rebels head into battle against the Flames, so it’s time to embrace the elements and get ready to face Liberty! We’ve stayed in touch with some of the Rebels’ top high school targets and here’s a look back on their thoughts over the course of the last few games.
Stay tuned after the Liberty game for more reactions!
Rolling In Rocky Top Reactions
CB Davison Igbinosun – Class of ’22, 4-star CB (Union, NJ) 247Sports Composite No.40 Corner and No. 5 in New Jersey
1st touch. pic.twitter.com/vIcZkxBoDE
— Davison Igbinosun (@DaveIgbinosun) October 16, 2021
“That shows how good that Ole Miss team is, going into Neyland and getting that W was big.”
CB Davison Igbinosun
S Peyton Bowen – Class of ’23, 4-star (Guyer, TX), 247Sports Composite No. 67 Overall, No.4 Safety and No.10 in Texas
A massive special teams play should save Guyer here tonight.
— Reece Waddell (@ReeceWaddell15) September 25, 2021
“It was a good win. They have been on a good run especially with the offense playing like this, but the defense played good. For what I saw they played solid.”
Safety Peyton Bowen
OG Brycen Sanders – Class of ’23, 4-star (Baylor School, TN) 247Sports Composite No.17 IOL and No.7 in Tennessee
— Brycen Sanders (@BrycenSanders1) October 16, 2021
“The win at Tennessee was great. The offense played amazing, and it was a great win in a hostile environment. The team has been great this year, and they’re only getting better.”
OG Brycen Sanders
Safety Daniel Demery – Class of ’23, 4-star (Parish Episcopal, TX) 247 Composite: No.18 Safety and No.32 in TX
— Roger Joyner II (@rjoyner_33) October 23, 2021
“I enjoyed the game a lot. It was a great experience and the atmosphere was amazing. Ole Miss’ defense was playing lights out and the offense was electric. The visit as a whole was a great opportunity and I’m glad a made the trip.”
Safety Daniel Demery
Under The Radar Recruits
OT Ory Willams – Class of ‘24 (San Marcos HS, TX)
'24 6'8, 320 OL @ory_williams is a name you are going to know. Due to the Texas HS transfer rule, he is currently playing JV for San Marcos HS but the kid has 5🌟/ DI power already! Let's get him to the Sip @Coach_Leb @CoachThornton61 #RWRecruitinghttps://t.co/RbNurWZPxS
— LeeAnn Herring (@MissKYUS2011) October 25, 2021
— Ory Williams #BigBaby (@ory_williams) May 10, 2021
“I locked in seeing Coach Kiffin’s confidence and swagger. Very impressed by the win over a really good LSU team.”
QB Daniel Kaelin – Class of ’24 (Bellevue West, NE)
— Daniel Kaelin (@DanielKaelin5) October 24, 2021
“I had a great visit. The game atmosphere was wild. Probably the loudest and most into it fans that I have seen at a game so far. The offense was impressive, they have so many playmakers that the big play potential is always there. Matt Corral is also extremely impressive and runs the offense well, it was fun to watch.”
QB Daniel Kaelin
The Rebels have been bitten hard by the injury bug — especially on the offensive side of the ball — but that won’t stop them from doing their best to put out a few old Flames in town this weekend. And you can bet recruits will be watching!
If you love a good offensive showdown, you will get into this matchup against Liberty and its head coach Hugh Freeze! During his time at the helm in Oxford, he led the Rebs to three bowls wins in five seasons, a top five recruiting class, and a Sugar Bowl berth and victory.
This game presents what I believe to be one of the best QB matchups all season in Ole Miss QB Matt Corral and Liberty QB Malik Willis, both of whom are projected to be two future top draft picks.
Folks, two of the most electric playmakers will be in the Vaught in a few short hours. Pair them with two of the nation’s best offenses, and there could be plenty of action in Oxford.
The Flames boast the No. 16 scoring offense averaging 37.4 points per game and are 32nd in total offense with 445.4 yards per game. On the other side, the Rebels rank No. 12 in scoring offense with 39.1 points per game and are 4th in total offense at 531.5 yards per game.
It should come as no surprise that Malik Willis leads his team in rushing and passing. He already has racked up 684 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. Despite having some rough patches along the way, there is no question that Willis is extremely efficient in both in the air and on the ground and could pose some problems for this Landshark defense.
However, the Rebels’ defense has seen a slate of challenging QBs already this year and has, no doubt, been preparing for Willis.
With that being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if Coach Freeze decides to take it to the ground against the Rebels. After all, with weapons like running backs Shedro Louis and T.J. Green, matched with a QB like Willis, the Flames have the talent to get something going in the rushing game.
On Ole Miss
The Rebels are down offensively, as the injury bug has bitten hard. But, where there’s a will, there’s a way and no one has more of an iron will than Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral.
Corral is in a class of his own, especially when it comes to efficiency and his passing game. He enters today’s game with an ESPN Total QBR of 84.1, which puts him at No. 5 in the nation.
Malik Willis is one spot behind him at No. 6, with a Total QBR of 83.1
But in my opinion, if anyone should be worried about a “Freeze Warning,” it could be the Flames when it comes to “Matty Ice” at the helm of the Rebs — and hopefully he will be able to play today after suffering ankle injuries against Tennessee and Auburn. While he was limited at practice this week, we are hopeful we’ll see No. 2 take the field today.
Don’t be surprised if Liberty tries its best to get to Matt. The Flames are currently ninth in the country when it comes to sacks, with 27.
The Rebels’ O-line is also dealing with its own injuries. Starting right guard Ben Brown is out for the season with a torn bicep, while Caleb Warren and Orlando Umana have also been hobbled.
As a unit, the offensive line has allowed 19 sacks this season. It will be tested against Liberty in the form of defensive linemen Kendy Charles and Aakil Washington. The Rebels are also going to have to keep a handle on Flames’ linebackers Rashaad Harding and Storey Jackson as you can bet those two will try to get stops and create chaos.
This week, Coach Kiffin told us because of injuries the Rebels were only practicing with two of the original starters from the season-opener against Louisville. With Corral not at 100 percent, look for Ole Miss to go heavy on the ground game and really turn to running backs Henry Parrish Jr., Jerrion Ealy and Snoop Conner.
I look for Ole Miss to use its ground game to produce long drives that chew up some clock. (Feed Snoop!) After all, the Flames gave up over 200 yards on the ground the last two weeks.
How It Plays Out
It’s going to be a fun game to watch offensively, but even as limited as the Rebels are at this point with all the players who are out, I just don’t think the Flames have enough depth to beat the Rebels.
I think it could be another close one at home, but I look for Ole Miss to go back to the basics and come out on top, 38-28, in this showdown in the ‘Sip!
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.