Hugh Freeze and the Rebels are off to strong recruiting start for 2014.
Seph Anderson, Sportswriter to The South, focuses his sports writing and photography skills on covering timely Ole Miss and SEC news, among all things sports across the South.
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February 28, 2013 brings an end to an amazing month for Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss.
On February 6, Freeze’s Rebels made national news by signing ESPN’s No. 5 recruiting class of 2013.
Not even into the month of March, the recruiting guru has already picked up six verbal commitments in his 2014 recruiting class. The Mississippi native promised he was going to focus on top talent in the state and he’s making good on his word.
Of the six current verbal commitments, five are from Mississippi. The one recruit who isn’t is a punter from Australia. Yes, Australia.
The star of the class, at least thus far, is 5’10”, 190-pound RB D.K. Buford out of Lafayette High School in Oxford, MS (literally Ole Miss’ backyard). Buford is the top-rated prospect in Mississippi and the No. 142 overall prospect in the nation (per Rivals.com). He chose Ole Miss over in-state rival Mississippi State and will add to an already-loaded running back corps being formed in Oxford.
Another Rebel commitment, S. C.J. Hampton (Meridian, MS), also falls in the Rivals 250 at No. 242 nationally. The 6’1”, 190-pound safety chose the Rebels over Auburn, Mississippi State, Stanford and Tennessee just to name a few.
The most recent verbal commitment coming on February 25 was 6’3”, 185-pound WR Dayall Harris out of Jackson, MS. Harris joins Callaway teammate and S Ronald Walker, who committed to Ole Miss at the end of 2012. The 6’2”, 195-pound Walker marks the second commitment at safety for the Rebels.
However, the Rebel coach isn’t quite done recruiting at CallawayHigh School.
Freeze hopes to land a couple more 2014 commitments from the school: OT Roderick Taylorand DE Breeland Speaks. At 6’3”, 245 pounds, Speaks is yet another player that has been offered by both the Rebels and Bulldogs. As for Taylor, he’s rated No. 166 nationally by Rivals.com. Not only is Dan Mullen also hoping to land Taylor’s services, but so is Nick Saban.
While it would be great to land both Speaks and Breeland to total four Callawaystudent-athletes in 2014, there’s no question Taylor would be the prize of the bunch.
Rounding out commitments from the State of Mississippi to date is 6’5”, 260-pound OT Tyler Putnam from DeSoto High School (Southaven, MS). The offensive tackle verbally committed to Freeze instead of the Bulldogs’ Mullen.
Thus far in 2014, the Rebels are ahead of their rival in the recruiting war. Mississippi State only has one 2014 commitment (per Rivals.com) entering March, and he’s from Tennessee.
The lone non-Mississippian among the six early commitments for the Rebels is a 6’3”, 200-pound Australian punter: Will Gleeson. Without question, he is the prospect that we know the least about right now. Freeze may expect the young Australian to step in early in 2014, because currently Ole Miss only has two punters on the 2013 rosterand they’re both seniors.
For a team slowly putting together all of the pieces, going after a quality punter is certainly a wise move.
Only officially one month into the 2014 recruiting cycle, Freeze and the Rebels are ahead of the game.