After gaining five commitments in less than 72 hours, Ole Miss football has jumped to No. 1 on 247Sports’ 2019 recruiting rankings. With 15 players verbally committed to the class, the Rebels now boast the most in the country, almost double the national average.
Although the ranking is impressive on the surface, the 2019 Ole Miss class is on top because of quantity, not quality. There are 10 other schools across the nation that have as many or more blue-chip recruits than the Rebels. The difference lies in the additional 11 three-star commitments.
The rankings, which are not intended to rate classes so varied in numbers, are certainly no indication of where the class will land. For example, Southern California has one commitment and sits 61st behind teams like Appalachian State and East Carolina, while Miami (Ohio) has seven and sits 20th.
However, it is a sign that the attitude surrounding Ole Miss football has been rejuvenated and does not mean that the class doesn’t hold talented players.
After an almost five-year NCAA investigation came to a close Dec. 1, 2017, the qualm surrounding the future of the program was evaporated and Ole Miss received a two-year bowl ban and a loss of 12 scholarships over the next three years. As a result, head coach Matt Luke is able to recruit with certainty toward the new direction of the team.
“The cloud of uncertainty is gone,” Luke said on SiriusXM’s “SEC This Morning” on Monday. “That really helps. We do have a really good product to sell here. People enjoy coming to Oxford. They like the type of offense that we run. They really enjoy coach (Wesley) McGriff’s energy on defense. No question, having all (of) the cloud lifted really helps our recruiting momentum.”
Among the momentum came commitments of four-star dual-threat quarterback Grant Tisdale and four-star athlete Diwun Black over the weekend, as well as a flurry of three-star recruits slated to join McGriff’s Landshark defense.
Though the recruiting period is far from over and the No. 1 ranking may not last until the end of the month, there is a swagger surrounding the program that has been lacking over the last few years and it shows in the number of early commitments.
Ultimately, if Ole Miss can put together a surprising year on the gridiron, the class could remain toward the top of the rankings. But more realistically, the Ole Miss faithful should enjoy the top spot while they can and find comfort in the return of the program.