Saturday, December 9, 2023

Rebel Baseball Looks Poised to Bring in a Highly-Ranked Class

Mike Bianco
Mike Bianco

Ole Miss is currently ranked third in the country in college baseball recruiting according to re-ranks teams based on players that decide to forego college and enter professional baseball.

Ole Miss, it appears, will get an extremely talented nucleus of freshmen on campus this fall, as Grae Kessinger, Cooper Johnson, Thomas Dillard and Ryan Rollison all turned down top-ten round draft inquiries and have expressed their desire to play college baseball at Ole Miss.

Kessinger is a local native whose name is one Ole Miss fans should be familiar with. His grandfather, Don Kessinger, played and coached at Ole Miss and his dad Kevin also played for the Rebels. Kessinger could help the Rebels fill a void left by three-year starting shortstop Errol Robinson.

Cooper Johnson was a projected top-ten round pick in the MLB draft, but the Illinois native stuck to his original signing bonus number. Johnson is known for his brilliant defensive play and his ability to control the running game from the catcher position. Johnson will compete immediately for the catching position with sophomore Nick Fortes.

Ryan Rollison also stuck to his original signing bonus number when teams came calling in the MLB draft. Rollison is a left-handed pitcher from Tennessee with a fastball that plays into the low-to-mid 90’s with good off-speed. Rollison could compete for a weekend rotation spot as a true freshmen, as the Rebels lost two-year weekend rotation pitcher Brady Bramlett.

Ole Miss is also getting the nation’s leader for homeruns in high school to campus for the 2017 season in Thomas Dillard. Dillard, an Oxford native, has amazing raw power and likely will find himself with an immediate role in the Ole Miss lineup when he arrives on campus. Dillard can factor into the Rebels lineup at many different positions as he caught and played the outfield during his senior year in Oxford.

The Rebels also have a commitment from Brady Schanuel, the number one junior college pitcher in America. Schanuel was drafted in the 36th round by the Oakland Athletics. Schanuel hasn’t made his future decision clear, but if the sophomore winds up on Ole Miss’ campus he could also play into the Rebel’s rotation immediately.

Rollison, Kessinger and Johnson were all drafted in the MLB draft and could elect to sign with professional teams, but the teams would have to use pool money from their top ten round picks to sign the prospects. The signing deadline is July 15.

Collin Brister is the staff writer for He can be reached at

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