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Transfer Portal Heating Up: Here are some of Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss’ top targets

Transfer Portal Heating Up: Here are some of Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss’ top targets

OXFORD, Miss. — We are now finishing up day two of this window of the transfer portal that opened December 3, and Ole Miss has already received the commitment of the nation’s No. 1-ranked JUCO wide receiver, Deion Smith. The Rebels are expected to be active in the portal, which remains open for this period until the end of the day on January 1, 2024. 

Check out the TRANSFER PORTAL TRACKER for the latest Ole Miss comings and goings!

Head coach Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss are showing interest in a number of different prospects across the nation. At least two key transfer prospects will be visiting Oxford over the weekend as Carter Smith from Indiana and Chris Paul Jr. from Arkansas look to take a trip to God’s Country. On Tuesday, Keyshawn “Key” Lawrence, a safety from Oklahoma, visited Ole Miss.

Ole Miss transfer portal targets to watch thus far – updated 12/5/23

Carter Smith – Indiana OT

The 6’5, 300-pound offensive tackle was a redshirt freshman this season, where he took on a much larger role for the Hoosiers. The Powell, Ohio native gained experience against teams like Michigan, Ohio State, Louisville, and Penn State, making him the perfect candidate for offensive line coach John Garrison’s unit. Smith could be used as both a starter or depth piece, with three years of eligibility remaining.

 Chris “Pooh” Paul, Jr. – Arkansas LB

Paul is a linebacker from Arkansas, where he collected the second-most tackles (74) on the team for the Razorbacks in 2023. The sophomore, a Cordele, Georgia native, would be expected to help fill the absence left with the departure of Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste, Monty Montgomery, and Ashanti Cistrunk. Even with SEC experience, watching Pete Golding develop Paul into an even better player could be a lot of fun for Ole Miss fans.

Aside from Paul and Smith, official visitors this weekend, here are some of the notable prospects that have received an offer from Ole Miss.

Fernando Carmona Jr. – San José State OT

Carmona announced on Monday that he would be leaving San Jose State in search of a new home with two years of eligibility remaining. The offensive tackle has received offers from Ole Miss, South Carolina, Auburn, Texas Tech, and more. The Las Vegas native presents a strong frame at 6’5 and a little over 300 pounds, similarly to Carter Smith (Indiana), in whom the Rebels also have an interest.

 William Lee lll – Kansas State CB

Lee is a player transferring out of Kansas State who can do a little bit of everything at the corner position. The St. Louis, Missouri native led the corners on his team with 32 total tackles while deflecting six passes, forcing a fumble, and collecting two interceptions. Lee is 6’3, provides length, and is light on his feet. Other than from the Rebs, Will has heard from Auburn, Florida, and Washington. Keep an eye out for this one to see if Pete Golding can add a key piece to his secondary.

 Samuel Okunlola – Pittsburgh EDGE

The edge rusher out of Pittsburgh will be one of several highly-coveted players in the portal and the Rebels have extended an offer. Okunlola is 6’4 and collected five sacks, the most on the team, for Pitt this season. The Brockton, MA native is also related to Samson Okunlola, who is an offensive lineman for Miami. Due to that relationship, Miami will have a clear head start in his recruitment if they choose to engage. Regardless of that, though, the experience and potential that Okunlola could bring to defensive line coach Randall Joyner’s make him one that will definitely be pursued by the Rebs.

KeShawn ‘Key’ Lawrence – Oklahoma Safety (Visited Ole Miss Dec. 5)

Ole Miss has offered KeShawn ‘Key’ Lawrence, a 6-foot-1, 206-pound transfer safety from Oklahoma. Lawrence started six games for the Sooners this season, and will have one year of eligibility remaining.

The Nashville native tallied 44 tackles in 2023 with two INTs, three pass breakups and a forced fumble. Over the 2021 and 2022 seasons,  played in 24 games. He notched 105 total tackles, 6.0 tackles for loss, one interception, seven pass break-ups and five forced fumbles. He earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors in 2021.

Will Sheppard – Vanderbilt WR

The Vanderbilt wide receiver has done nothing but show his productivity since he joined the Commodores in 2020. The Mandeville, Louisiana native has not had a chance to play with a quarterback as efficient as Jaxson Dart; however, he has still put up over 650 receiving yards in back-to-back seasons. In a Lane Kiffin offense, the 6’3, 200-pound Sheppard would become one of the most reliable and consistent players on the field. Between his recent offers from Texas A&M, Tulane, Mississippi State, and South Carolina, the wide receiver will have a chance to take his game to the next level in 2024.

Andrew Mukuba – Clemson safety

The junior from Clemson announced that he would be entering the transfer portal earlier on Tuesday after racking up the most tackles in the entire Tiger secondary this past season. Mukuba surprisingly did not notch an interception but did deflect six passes. As far as we know, Mukuba has only announced offers from Ole Miss and Oregon so far, which hopefully is a good thing for the Rebs. The 6’0, 195-pound Mukuba would play a crucial leadership role in next year’s secondary and would be a fantastic addition for the defense.

Antwane ‘Juice’ Wells, Jr. – South Carolina WR

The South Carolina wide receiver announced Sunday night his intent to enter the transfer portal. Wells will be a graduate transfer who has two years of eligibility remaining. The Highland Springs, Virginia native suffered a foot injury earlier this season against Georgia and has not played since. The 6’1, 210-pound Wells was named preseason All-SEC after a junior campaign where he tallied 68 catches for 929 yards and six TDs and was named first-team All-SEC. 

Stay tuned! 

Stay tuned to The Rebel Walk for all of the transfer portal content you will need. Check out our TRANSFER PORTAL TRACKER where you can keep updated on who has officially entered the portal from Ole Miss and who has officially announced their transfer to the Rebels. Until then, Hotty Toddy!

Zach Moreth

Zach Moreth

Zach is a freshman at Ole Miss and is studying Sports Administration. Outside of watching and playing sports, he enjoys spending time with his loved ones and being active. I’m excited to help cover our amazing Ole Miss sports teams!

About The Author

Zach Moreth

Zach is a freshman at Ole Miss and is studying Sports Administration. Outside of watching and playing sports, he enjoys spending time with his loved ones and being active. I'm excited to help cover our amazing Ole Miss sports teams!

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