The inaugural early December signing period has officially kicked off, and with a bang I might add. Clemson and Georgia have continued cementing their behemoth status, while Texas is officially back (in the recruiting top 10.)
Ole Miss, somewhat shockingly, has had an excellent day as well. Ole Miss flipped multiple key prospects, and won over other uncommitted prospects, as they soared up the 247Sports recruiting rankings. Ole Miss entered at 60, but they now sit at 33.
Ole Miss kickstarted the morning by flipping Elijah Moore, a four-star receiver, from Georgia. Moore is a 5’11 receiver who could make you miss a tackle if you were both in a phone booth. Ole Miss desired a “phone booth,” as wide receiver coach Jacob Peeler calls them, to round out the Nasty Wide Outs (NWO).
Next, Ole Miss reeled in a NJCAA First-Team All-American linebacker in Vernon Dasher. Dasher is a 6’3, 210-pound linebacker from Coffeyville Community College in Kansas. Dasher could immediately fill a position of need in Oxford, if he acclimates quickly. Ole Miss lost two starting linebackers, Tayler Polk and Demarquis Gates, to graduation. Linebacker has been a recurring problem for Ole Miss of late, and they hope Dasher can help to alleviate some of the problems on the defense’s second level.
Next, Ole Miss Jalen Cunningham out of Alabama. Jalen is a massive human being who stands strong at 6’6, 345 pounds. He played on the interior of the both offensive and defensive lines in high school. Ole Miss anticipates he will play offensive guard, but having a 345-pound defensive tackle wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world.
Later, Ole Miss placed additional icing on the cake when they flipped the number-one-ranked defensive end in Mississippi, James Williams out of Callaway. Williams had been committed to arch-rival Mississippi State since the fall, but had a last-minute change of heart. Williams stands 6’5, 285 pounds and is expected to play strongside defensive end.
Williams flipping was massive for several reasons. First and foremost, Ole Miss needs to stack their defense with talented, yet large human beings. Williams fits both of those categories. Secondly, Ole Miss needs to continue racking up small recruiting victories against Mississippi State so that they can win the 2019 class in Mississippi, which is absolutely loaded. Finally, stealing a commit from Callaway, a school that has fed several players to Mississippi State in recent years, proves that Matt Luke and his staff are successfully repairing previously broken relationships in the state.
Lastly, but certainly not least, Ole Miss secured the signature of the crowned jewel in the 2018 recruiting class. Matt Corral, the nation’s Number 3 Pro-Style Quarterback, officially signed with Ole Miss to round out the morning. Corral’s commitment last week spring boarded Ole Miss into their success today. Corral was a much-needed shot in the arm for Ole Miss.
Corral has drawn comparisons to Chad Kelly and Matthew Stafford, for two reasons. First off, let’s tangle the Chad Kelly thing. Much like Kelly, Corral was dropped by his dream school, which was USC in Corral’s case, for an off-the-field incident. However, the actions have been presented as more of a bone-headed decision than a criminal act. Also, Corral’s fiery personality and leadership tactics resemble Chad Kelly. If you recall, Chad Kelly thrived in Oxford. Corral is compared to Matthew Stafford simply because he has an intercontinental ballistic missile for a right arm.
On a national stage, Ole Miss only experienced a mildly successful day, thanks to teams like Georgia and Clemson. However, in more local crowds, Ole Miss experienced massive success on the inaugural December Signing Day.
Ole Miss filled needs. They replaced multiple transfers, and they signed three linebackers, one was a Juco All-American, while the other, Jacquez Jones, is a four-star high school prospect from Alabama. Ole Miss has 15 of their 17 commits signed, sealed, and delivered. Ole Miss will probably sign around 21 or 22 prospects in the 2018 class. Originally, they only anticipated around 16 or 17 scholarships, but a string of transfers opened additional slots.
Ole Miss executed the early signing day to near perfection. They got the guys they had to get to fill needs, so they can now go chase stars, especially with other schools classes rounding out, to fill out the remainder of the 2018 class.
Top candidates to watch are four-star Ohio linebacker Christopher Oats, who would be a need filler and excite fans, Marquez Ezzard, a four-star athlete who projects at receiver, and Noah Jefferson, a four-star defensive tackle from the 2015 recruiting class. Additionally, Ole Miss can chase two additional running backs, four-star Harold Joiner and three-star Charles Strong, a former Florida State commit.