Ole Miss fans have a few things to smile about this week. As the team touches down in Fayetteville, Arkansas, for their Super Regional bout against the Razorbacks, Mike Bianco and company can look forward to the future and see it could be just as bright as the present.
Bianco is finally seeing the fruit of that top-ranked 2016 recruiting class as the Rebels make the push to Omaha. Six of the eight current Rebels drafted this week were in that class, an exciting achievement for the program. What may be more exciting, however, is the talent the Rebels retained in the 2019 class after the draft.
All the top prospects in the top-5 2019 recruiting class will play ball at Swayze in 2020 after getting drafted in the later rounds. With 19 commitments, Ole Miss holds the No. 4 class in the nation just above Texas A&M and below Florida.
The biggest news of the week came from Ole Miss’s most heralded recruit. Jerrion Ealy’s draft stock had dropped significantly after being ranked one of the top propects in the nation a year ago.
The two-sport athlete out of Jackson Prep was drafted in the 31st round by the Arizona Diamondbacks, but an earlier tweet let Rebel fans know his plans. Shortly after, an ESPN report confirmed that Ealy would, in fact, forgo the MLB draft and honor his commitment to Ole Miss football and baseball.
Ealy in Oxford is immediately valuable to Matt Luke and Rich Rodriguez and gravy for Mike Bianco. He’ll bolster the backfield along with Scottie Phillips and Snoop Conner during the fall and continue to hone his skills in the spring.
Joining Ealy on the baseball field are fellow top recruits Derek Diamond, Hayden Dunhurst and Connor Walsh.
Diamond, a right-handed pitcher and infielder from California, was also drafted by Arizona in the 40th round and will try to improve on that in his time at Ole Miss. Dunhurst was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in round 37. His arrival is crucial with the upcoming departure of Cooper Johnson. Dunhurst could make an immediate, everyday impact for the Rebels next season.
With those recruits and a host of others stepping up to the plate for the Rebels, Mike Bianco could see sustainable success in Oxford for years to come.