After all the miles traveled, scholarship money invested and conversations had, it all comes down to today.
Head coach Matt Luke and the Ole Miss football program are looking to add the final pieces to their squad and avoid the Rebel nation’s disappointment while doing so. This past December, the Rebels signed a class of 25 players that ranked No. 20 out of all Division I recruiting classes at the time, according to ESPN.com.
On Wednesday, Ole Miss hopes to sign a few more major targets, particularly in-state ones. This time, they will look to do so with an offensive and defensive coordinator on staff, something they lacked during the previous signing period.
A few recruits will be signing as multi-sport athletes, and one of these is five-star running back Jerrion Ealy from Jackson Prep in Flowood. Ealy was an Ole Miss commit before his senior season began back in August. That all changed on Jan. 8 when he announced his decommitment from Ole Miss via Twitter after a record-setting performance in the Under Armour All-America Game.
He did, however, make an official visit to Oxford on Jan. 26 for both football and baseball. His decision will likely be between Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Alabama and Clemson. He is set to sign Wednesday at 11:15 a.m., televised on ESPN2.
Even after signing today, he will have yet another decision to make. Ealy is widely regarded as a potential first-round draft pick in the upcoming MLB Draft and will have the potential to sign an estimated $2 million contract.
Ole Miss is also looking to sign four-star dual-threat quarterback John Rhys Plumlee Wednesday. The Oak Grove High School standout from Hattiesburg is, like Ealy, a target on the gridiron and on the diamond. Plumlee made official visits to Mississippi State, Auburn, Ole Miss and Florida State, and committed to play both sports at Georgia this past June before announcing his decision to flip to be at a multi-sport player at Ole Miss on Monday via Twitter.
Jonathan Mingo is an Ole Miss target from the Jackson-Metro area. The four-star wide receiver from Brandon High School led the state in receiving yards this past season. He has been an Ole Miss commit since July but has visited Mississippi State and Georgia as well since then. If signed, he will join his high school teammate Jay Stanley, who signed in December.
On the defensive side of the ball, Ole Miss will look to keep and gain a few key prospects.
Four-star defensive tackle Ishmael Sopsher out of Amite, Louisiana, will likely choose from Ole Miss, Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M on Signing Day.
Defensive end Brandon Mack has been an Ole Miss commit since late December. Mack is a three-star out of Jefferson Davis High School in Montgomery, Alabama.
In the junior college ranks, four-star linebacker Lakia Henry out of Dodge City Community College will likely choose between Ole Miss, Texas or Arkansas.
Ole Miss did miss on a few key prospects, however, during the early signing period in December. Five-star linebacker Nakobe Dean and four-star defensive back Raydarious Jones out of Horn Lake are among those players who chose not to sign with Ole Miss. Instead, Dean opted to sign with Georgia, and Jones went with LSU.
The Rebels even lost homegrown defensive back Brandon Turnage to the defending SEC champions, Alabama.
Despite those big blows, Ole Miss managed to get a bulk of three-star players and a few four-stars, particularly on the offensive side of the ball and in the defensive secondary. Among the most notable players are defensive end Sam Williams of Northeast Mississippi Community College, quarterback Grant Tisdale of Allen High School in Texas, wide receiver Dannis Jackson of Mississippi’s Sumrall High School and Darius Thomas of Jonesboro High School in Arkansas.
Luke also inked 14 other in-state recruits to accompany Williams and Jackson. Tupelo High School standouts wide receiver Jordan Jernigan and safety Tavario Standifer signed their letters of intent together earlier in the signing period.
Ole Miss also added a pair of in-state offensive lineman in Nanih Waiya’s Caleb Warren and Harrison Central’s Bryce Ramsey. Linebacker Eric Jeffries signed from Lafayette High School. Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Game MVP Jarod Conner from Hattiesburg signed as well.
Luke and the Rebels hope to ink a top-25 class on Wednesday. However, Ole Miss will have to get into at least the top 15 to so much as crack the middle of the SEC, with Alabama, Georgia and Texas A&M alone all ranking in the top 5.