Ole Miss has been stellar at recruiting tight end and wide receiver prospects in the Hugh Freeze era, nabbing top-rated wide receiver and SEC Freshman of the Year Laquon Treadwell, All-SEC second team tight end Evan Engram and a former four star wide receiver in Quincy Adeboyejo in 2013. Last year they potentially added to this pattern by signing four star wide receiver Markell Pack, explosive tight end Sammie Epps and 6-foot-3 wide receiver Dayall Harris.
This class looks to follow that trend as Ole Miss holds commitments from athletes La’Michael Pettyway and Willie Hibbler and is heavy in the mix for other enticing prospects.
Pettyway, the most recent of the Rebels’ commits, stands 6-foot-3 and is from Nashville, Ark. Although mainly recruited at wide receiver, Pettyway also plays safety and is a factor in the return game. According to Rivals.com, Pettyway committed to Ole Miss over offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Louisville, Ohio State and others.
Although Hibbler has been committed since 2013, his decision seems anything but certain as Florida is making a strong push for the North Panola athlete. Hibbler projects to be a wide receiver or tight end at the next level. Although he would need to add some weight to his 6-foot-6, 224 pound frame to play tight end, his height is superb for either position.
Damarkus Lodge is the highest rated prospect on the Rebels’ radar for 2015 wide receivers. According to 247Sports composite ratings, the five star is the fourth ranked wide receiver in the nation. It will be a tough battle for Ole Miss to land him as Baylor, Alabama, Texas A&M, LSU and Texas are among those also vying for him. Ole Miss’ chances are helped however, by the fact that Lodge grew up in Jackson before moving to Texas at age 13. In addition to this, current Ole Miss wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo was his teammate in high school, which could help sway Lodge’s interest to the Rebels. Lodge is scheduled to take an official visit to Oxford on Oct. 4 to see the Rebels take on Alabama.
Alex Ofodile comes in on the 247Sports composite rankings at number seven for wide receivers and a four star prospect overall. Hailing from Columbia, Mo., Ofodile ranks as the number one player in the state and is receiving strong interest from his hometown Mizzou Tigers, as well as from Michigan State, Notre Dame and Ohio State, among others. Ofodile visited Oxford for the second time on Tuesday and appears to have solid interest in the Rebels.
Tennessee wide receiver Van Jefferson is also highly rated, coming in as the number 18 wide receiver in the nation and a four star prospect on 247Sports’ composite rankings. The son of an NFL receiver, Jefferson has taken one visit to Ole Miss and plans to return to Oxford again. The Ohio State Buckeyes and Georgia Bulldogs have strong interest in the 6-foot-1 wide receiver, as well as Penn State and Tennessee.
Will Gragg is rated the seventh best tight end in the nation by the 247Sports rankings. Like Pettyway, Gragg is from Arkansas and being heavily recruited by the Razorbacks. Gragg’s older brother Chris played for Arkansas before being drafted into the NFL by the Buffalo Bills. In addition to Arkansas, Gragg has reportedly received 44 scholarship offers from schools around the country, including Texas, LSU and Alabama, according to Rivals.com. After the Crimson Tide committed fellow tight end Hale Hentges it’s unclear if they still remain in the mix to sign Gragg, but the LSU tigers recently hosted Gragg on a visit and are scheduled to host him again during the season. He also plans to revisit Texas and Ole Miss during the fall.
The next addition in the recruiting series will focus on the offensive line, where Mississippi boasts an impressive array of prospects with ties to the Rebels.