Four-star forward Rodney Howard became the first member of the 2019 class to verbally commit to Ole Miss on Tuesday. Howard is Kermit Davis’ second four-star recruit since he was hired as the Rebels’ head coach.
Despite having only two years of experience under his belt, Howard caught the attention of recruiters early on. The 6-foot-10 forward from Roswell, Georgia, received early offers from Chattanooga, Georgia, Middle Tennessee, Troy and many others, but ultimately chose Ole Miss.
Davis had been recruiting Howard since June, when he was still Middle Tennessee’s head coach. Once Davis made the move to Ole Miss, he once again extended a scholarship to the Georgia native. After building relationships with members of the coaching staff and visiting the campus, Howard was quick to commit.
During his 2017-18 season at Centennial High School, Howard averaged 11.7 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game to earn himself the No. 9 spot on 247Sports’ top 10 list of Georgia basketball players.
Howard, one of the fastest rising prospects in his class, is nationally ranked as the No. 114 player and the No. 21 center.
The verbal commitment from Howard is the third commitment Davis has received in a week’s time. The Rebels also added two members to the Class of 2018 – small forward KJ Buffen and power forward Blake Hinson.
Buffen, a three-star prospect from Gainesville, Georgia, stands at 6-foot-6 and is the perfect size for his position. In the past, he led his team to a state title and was named player of the year for the region. Like Howard, Buffen also had several early offers, including ones from Middle Tennessee and Georgia Tech.
Four-star power forward Hinson, a Florida native who transferred to Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas, reclassified to the 2018 class in March. Hinson, a 6-foot-7 former football prospect and No. 84 player in the 2019 class, remains a top 100 player in this year’s class. Hinson averaged 15 points per game and helped his high school climb to No. 8 in the USA Today Super 25 rankings.
Considering Hinson’s impressive ball-handling skills and Buffen’s ability to defend all five positions, the duo will likely prove to be assets for the Rebels.
Davis has worked hard to recruit valuable players, and it shows in the rankings. The Ole Miss 2018 class is ranked 53rd in the country and ninth in the SEC. Davis only has two scholarships remaining for the 2018 class, which also includes signees Brian Halums and Zach Naylor.
An eight-time conference coach of the year with 403 career wins, Davis has been the head coach of the Rebels for less than two months’ time. Davis, a Mississippi native, is excited to be part of a prestigious basketball program in one of the best conferences in the country. These early commits are a sign that Davis is on the road to building a national brand in Oxford.