The preparation for the 2022 football season is under way in college football but the path towards building the future of the sport is never on hiatus.
It’s true for Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss, fresh off of a top 25 recruiting class and its raid of the NCAA transfer portal of late. The program has gone through considerable transition, from coaching staff to roster, coming off of the first 10-win regular season in program history.
Can the success be sustained? Continued strength on the recruiting trail would have to continue to play a primary part if so in the competitive SEC West and well beyond.
Stick with The Grove Report as we track the top class of 2023 recruits considering Kiffin’s program all in one spot, dissecting offers, visits, top groups, commitments, decommitments and everything else Rebel recruiting-related with the next senior class.
MAY 11, 4:15 PM UPDATE:
Details surrounding one of the most anticipated announcements in the state of Mississippi’s 2023 class have emerged less than 48 hours away from Dante Dowdell’s ceremony begins.
Long planned for Friday, May 13, the Picayune (Miss.) High School running back has been busy on the visit trail in narrowing the process from more than two dozen scholarship offers down to one.
The public will be presented with the pick ahead of Picayune’s spring jamboree, also featuring Ocean Springs (Miss.) High School and Theodore (Ala.) High School from the late afternoon hours, through the evening.
Dowdell’s pledge is to come before the proverbial ‘kick,’ currently tabbed for 4:30 pm CT. Expect the commitment just prior, perhaps closer to 4:00 pm.
Ahead of the pick, per a source close to the rising-senior recruit, the commitment is expected to come down to Ole Miss, Oregon, Tennessee, Arkansas and Florida State. Dowdell has frequented many of the aforementioned campuses, including Ole Miss just ahead of the 2022 Grove Bowl.
As a junior in 2021, Dowdell rushed for 2,555 yards and 28 touchdowns to lead a 14-1 state-championship-winning campaign for the Maroon Tide
MAY 9, 9:50 PM UPDATE:
Lane Kiffin and the Rebels appear to be determined to haul in top Sunshine State talent. Even in the class of 2024, the Rebels are making their presence felt.
The recruit in question is one of the fastest and most explosive players Florida has to offer. Izaiah Williams plays just north of Tampa at Wiregrass Ranch High School, and he also plays with Team Tampa 7v7. He’s already racked up offers from Ole Miss, Penn State, Georgia, Michigan, Michigan State, Florida State, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati among others.
His sub-11 second 100 meter speed, ability to stop on a dime and change direction, and overall athleticism are a big part of those offers. Those that have seen Williams also know that he’s adept at catching the football in traffic. That’s vital for a player that’s at home in the slot like Williams; he’s also a capable receiver on the exterior of he formation.
Just now becoming a national name, Williams is likely to truly blow up after his excellent seven-on-seven season. Ole Miss got itself in the running early. Now let’s see if the Rebels can get this young man on campus before his junior season of high school football kicks off.
MAY 9, 9:00 AM UPDATE:
An Ole Miss legacy has trimmed his list and the Rebels made the cut.
Entering the weekend, Pinson Valley (Ala.) High School class of 2023 defensive back TJ Metcalf named top programs with Ole Miss of course included.
“Ole Miss has done a good job, so far, since offering TJ,” Metcalf’s father Tarrus recently told The Grove Report. “They have had an open line of communication with him and the rest of my family.
“How he’s being recruited is very important to our family.”
Following the top 10 release, Metcalf participated at an FBU camp and walked away with defensive MVP honors. He is also running track at a high level and will compete in the Alabama state track meet soon.
MAY 4, 12:00 PM UPDATE:
As Ole Miss scours the country for top talent, one state is likely to be on the hit list for Rebels coaches no matter the year. That would be the state of Florida.
Ole Miss signed one player from Florida in the class of 2022 (Preston Cushman), and three in 2021 (Markevious Brown, Dink Jackson, and Bralon Brown). To help ensure that the pipeline to Florida continues, Ole Miss Head Coach Lane Kiffin and his coaching staff are not only recruiting seniors in the Sunshine State, but underclassmen as well.
Hylton “Drake” Stubbs is one of the more athletic and gifted underclassmen Florida has to offer. His long frame, at roughly 6’2″ already, has intriguing possibilities in the defensive secondary.
As the SEC West continues to get more and more difficult, finding more long and lean defensive backs like Stubbs will be necessary for the Rebels.
APRIL 28, 2:15 PM UPDATE:
One of the best in Texas still has Ole Miss on his mind.
Braxton Myers, the Coppell (Texas) High School defensive back with more than 30 scholarship offers to his name, cut his list of favorites down to just seven. In addition to Ole Miss, Myers is still considering USC, Auburn, LSU, Arkansas, Clemson and Cal.
During Thursday’s announcement of the top seven schools on social media, Myers also revealed a verbal commitment date of May 16.
The Texan, who has plans to leave the state for college, was initially targeted by Ole Miss last summer. He was last on campus two weekends ago for an unofficial visit to Oxford, when he spent time with Lane Kiffin and assistant coaches.
As a junior, Myers posted 11 pass breakups and three interceptions for Coppell.
APRIL 27, 2:30 PM UPDATE:
Ole Miss is still in the hunt for Robert Grigsby.
The Kennesaw (Ga.) North Cobb offensive line prospect, a rising-senior in the class of 2023, named a top six on Wednesday afternoon with North Carolina, NC State, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and UCF among the top programs in addition to Ole Miss.
Grigsby was just offered by the Rebel football coaching staff on March 9 and has been busy on the visit trail since.
The two-way lineman, who checks in at 6’5″, 275 pounds, told On3 Sports that he is expected to make a verbal commitment before the start of the Warriors’ 2022 season.
APRIL 24, 8:30 PM UPDATE:
After spending more time in Oxford this weekend for the spring game, Marcel Reed is ready to make a decision.
The Nashville (Tenn.) Montgomery Bell Academy quarterback recruit, who has frequented Oxford and has long held an offer from Lane Kiffin and company, announced his plans to make a verbal commitment on Monday afternoon.
Reed was in Oxford in March and has also recently spent time at Arkansas and Vanderbilt.
APRIL 21, 1:30 PM UPDATE:
On Wednesday evening, Ole Miss made the cut for one of its top offensive line recruits.
Wilkin Formby, the Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Northridge star tackle talent, working with a list of more than 30 scholarship offers, trimmed the list of contenders to just five via social media.
In addition to Ole Miss, Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee and Oklahoma made the cut for the towering 6’7″ prospect.
Formby was most recently in Oxford in late January and he’s visited each program still in contention since. Ole Miss initially offered him in June 2021 after working out at a prospect camp. He was back in town in July, October and November, too.
APRIL 20, 2:55 PM UPDATE:
The Rebels are in play for top wide receiver recruit Ayden Williams as he announces on social media that he has a top six list.
As the Rebels continue to build their 2023 recruiting class, one of the keys will be patience. Some of the top prospects, like Ayden Williams, will take their time and make an informed decision.
The Ridgeland (Miss.) High School wide receiver has just announced his top six institutions:
As arguably the state of Mississippi’s top prospect regardless of position, Williams will continue to be a top priority for many schools, Ole Miss included. His offer list is quite impressive already.
Ole Miss, Auburn, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi State, Florida, Florida State, LSU, South Carolina, UCF, and Oregon among others already extended an offer to the highly touted Williams.
APRIL 19, 1:45 PM UPDATE:
Ole Miss has had success at tight end and one of the top recruits at the position has the Rebels in the mix late in the game.
Jelani Thurman, the Fairburn (Ga.) Langston Hughes tight end talent, announced his top schools and the program of course made the cut on Tuesday afternoon.
Along with Ole Miss, Thurman listed Alabama, Ohio State, Tennessee, Auburn, Clemson, Miami and Michigan State in the top eight.
The 6’6″ standout was initially targeted by Ole Miss with an offer in September of 2021, one of more than two dozen that came his way to date. Michigan State, Clemson and Auburn have had him on campus this month.
APRIL 18, 10:10 AM UPDATE:
The Rebels are looking to stock up on top offensive linemen for the class of 2023. One of the prime targets for Ole Miss will be headed to campus for an official visit to Oxford this next weekend in Wilkin Formby.
“That’s the plan,” Formby stated about his upcoming travel plans for an official visit to Ole Miss.
At 6’8″, 300-pounds, Formby is a pure tackle prospect and one that can help provide the size needed to play in the SEC West. He’s earned offers from numerous college programs, including Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida State, Southern California, Miami, and many others.
This will be his first official visit, and there’s no definitive timeline for a decision being made by the talented lineman.
APRIL 14, 1:05 PM UPDATE:
One of the best in Texas has a decision upcoming and Ole Miss is a finalist.
Ryan Yaites, the Denton (Texas) Guyer defensive back standout who also holds his own as a sprinter in track and field events, will commit on Friday morning between Ole Miss, LSU, Cal and Texas Tech.
“I’ve been talking to those guys since I was a little kid,” Yaites told SBLive’s Andrew Namec. “I have Ole Miss ties since I was eight or nine years old. Now that I’m older and know what it’s all about, it’s definitely interesting.”
The class of 2023 recruit did not have the Rebels in his previous top group, but the program did make his top eight late last year.
Yaites was most recently trying to get to Oxford in March, when he told The Grove Report the program made the group of four expand to five.
APRIL 11, 5:30 PM UPDATE:
Ole Miss is still in the running for one of Florida’s best.
Miami (Fla.) Dade Christian standout wide receiver William Fowles cut his list of programs to a top eight on Monday evening and the Rebels made the trim, as many expected.
“Ole Miss is a good program, I like Lane Kiffin’s offensive scheme,’ Fowles said in February. “He likes to throw the ball deep all the time. It’s a good scheme for me, it’s a good fit for me. I think that would be a good fit for me.”
In addition to the Rebels, Florida, Florida State, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Auburn, Michigan State and USF made the cut. Fowles previously mentioned making a verbal commitment before the 2022 season began.
The Grove Report broke down Fowles’ game recently, click here for more.
APRIL 9, 11:30 AM UPDATE:
The first official visitor of the cycle for the Ole Miss Rebels has been a consistent visitor over the years.
Brycen Sanders began his trip late in the week and is set to be in town through Sunday morning, wrapping up the first official visit of the offensive lineman’s recruitment.
“It’s going really well,” Sanders told SI All-American on Saturday morning.
The Chattanooga (Tenn.) Baylor School standout offensive line recruit dropped a final four less than two weeks ago, with the Rebels battling Tennessee, LSU and Oklahoma for his services from here on out.
“They were my first offer after my sophomore year,” Sanders said recently. “Coach (Lane) Kiffin is a great coach, one of the best in the country. Coach (Jake) Thornton, their offensive line coach, is super young and can relate well to the players.
“I like what they are doing with their program.”
Sanders wants to make a final decision after his official visits conclude in the month of June.
APRIL 7, 3:20 PM UPDATE:
The Ole Miss staff made sure Nakai Poole knows where he stands with the program on Wednesday.
“Yes on FaceTime they offered me, telling me about the program,” Poole told The Grove Report Thursday. “They re-offered me. I was already offered in the past.”
Now the 6’3″, 205-pound wide receiver out of Norcrosss (Ga.) High School will look to visit Oxford in the very near future.
“I’m supposed to visit next week,” he said with a laugh. “No date in particular right now, I’ve been busy visiting schools. Definitely in a couple of weeks.”
Of the program, the new pass catcher target has considerable interest.
“Legendary program! Great staff!” Poole said of Ole Miss. “Great staff, great people and we all know Ole Miss is legendary based off the past and Lane Kiffin.”
APRIL 6, 3:30 PM UPDATE:
One of the nation’s top tight ends still has Ole Miss in the mix.
Riley Williams, the Portland (Ore.) Central Catholic tight end recruit with more than 20 scholarship offers to his name, trimmed said list to eight programs including the Rebels. Alabama, Ohio State, LSU, Oregon, Michigan, Michigan State and Miami also made the cut for Williams, listed in the 6’6″, 230 pound range ahead of his senior season.
Ole Miss entered the race for the west coast talent in February, via assistant coach John David Baker, not long before he planned an ambitious slate of campus visits (including to Oxford). The visit coming to fruition will help the Rebels remain in the hunt moving forward.
“I’m excited to see what Ole Miss has to offer,” Williams told Brandon Huffman of 247Sports. “I like what coach Baker has to say. We talk regularly and are building a strong relationship.
“I cannot wait to get to Oxford for a visit.”
In 2021, Williams helped Central to a state championship win in hauling in four passes for 140 yards and a score. He is already committed to play in the Under Armour All-America Next Game in January.
APRIL 4, 11:30 AM UPDATE:
Ole Miss is still in the mix for one of its top offensive line targets.
On Sunday afternoon, Madden Sanker announced the next stage of his recruitment with a top 10. Fresh off of a trip to Oxford last weekend, the Rebels made the cut for the Douglasville (Ga.) South Paulding standout.
Georgia, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Michigan State, Miami, North Carolina, Louisville and Rutgers rounded out the group he posted via social media. The Bulldogs, Hurricanes and Spartans each also hosted Sanker on campus like the Rebels recently did.
APRIL 2, 11:45 AM UPDATE:
Ole Miss signed multiple recruits from the state of Alabama in the class of 2022 and it continues to push in the Yellowhammer State for 2023.
On Saturday, among the visitors are a trio expected from Highland Home (Ala.) High School, each hearing from Lane Kiffin’s program. The most well known is rising senior pass rusher Keldric Faulk, a towering 6’6″ athlete who plays football and basketball and has been on the Rebel radar for some time, though he wasn’t offered until March 1. His younger brother, Jakaleb Faulk, is a versatile athlete in the 2025 class and already stands 6’3″ ahead of the trip.
The emerging talent on the roster, though, is KD Shepherd, who is a two-way athlete listed at 6’2″, 192 pounds. The wide receiver projection will be making his first visit to Oxford Saturday, looking for the program to become his latest scholarship offer.
“Biggest thing is that Coach (Derrick) Nix wants me to get down there!” Shepherd told The Grove Report. “This will be the first time. Just trying to enjoy the process. Build some relationships and find a home.”
The elder Faulk brother and Shepherd, who has offers from Arkansas and UCF among others, are both in the class of 2023 but they may not be a package deal in the recruiting game.
“We’ve definitely talked about playing against each other,” Shepherd said earlier this week.
MARCH 30, 12:40 PM UPDATE:
The newest Ole Miss Rebel secondary target has his eyes on a trip to Oxford.
Lake Wales (Fla.) High School rising senior Jaremiah Anglin heard the good news from the Ole Miss coaching staff on Monday afternoon, the latest in what has become 20-plus scholarship offers in short order.
However, the SEC West extension isn’t one he is taking lightly. The 6’1″ standout told SI All-American’s John Garcia, Jr. that an initial visit to Oxford could be in the works.
“My dad and I are trying to plan a couple more trips now,” Anglin said Tuesday. “They (Ole Miss) just really want to get on board and would really like for me to be apart of what they are building in trying to get to the next level.
“They want me to come up ASAP.”
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Anglin, who was second team Class 6A all-state as a junior in 2021, will visit Florida on Saturday. He was recently at Florida State, UCF and USF in his home state.
MARCH 27, 9:50 AM UPDATE:
Ole Miss hosted a strong group of recruits over the weekend and one new offer has been reported.
Class of 2023 wide receiver Harvey Broussard, visiting Oxford with some 7-on-7 teammates, picked up the extension from Lane Kiffin’s staff while in town on Saturday. The Rebels join Maryland, Troy and others as recent programs to jump in on the 6’4″ standout. Arkansas and Baylor are also among those courting the Saint Martinville (La.) High School star.
Also a basketball player at the varsity level, Broussard is an emerging wide receiver prospect who is worth keeping an eye on down the line.
Ole Miss has just one verbal commitment in the class to date via in-state athlete Suntarine Perkins.
MARCH 24, 4:00 PM UPDATE:
As Ole Miss hones in on top targets across Dixie, the state of Alabama continues to come up as one where the Rebels are really trying to make a dent with recruiting. One of the top recruits in the Yellowhammer State would be safety Dakaari Nelson from Selma (Ala.) High School. Located in the central region of the state, Nelson has seen a plethora of college coaches pass through his area and offer a scholarship.
He’s been offered by the likes of Ole Miss, Auburn, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Michigan, Oregon, Clemson, Tennessee, Florida State, UCF, Penn State, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Duke, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and North Carolina State.
Listed as a safety but a player that’s played cornerback as well in high school, Nelson is a ball hawk. He’s one of those rare athletes that possesses the long arms to play in the deep secondary, but also be very athletic with his lateral movements despite being listed at 6’3″, 200-pounds. His instincts take care of the rest as he breaks on the football and intercepts passes.
So far for the 2023 recruiting class, Ole Miss offered over 20 players in Alabama. Seeing Nelson’s junior film is a great example of why Lane Kiffin and his staff are continuing to make a concerted effort to lure Alabama prep prospects to Oxford, Miss. Keep in mind, Ole Miss signed two top Alabama players last year in cornerback Jarell Stinson from Opelika (Ala.) High School and running back Quinshon Judkins from Pike Road (Ala.) High School.
MARCH 22, 8:15 AM UPDATE:
One of the top junior college prospects in the class of 2023 will be on campus Saturday.
As the visitor list grows with spring practice underway in Oxford, Keenan Landry has been added to the list. The Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College defensive lineman, listed at 6’3″. 335 pounds as a freshman in the fall, is originally from Jennings (La.) High School.
In 2021, he played in nine junior college games and registered 31 tackles, including a sack in helping MGCCC to a seven-win regular season.
Landry, who says he has been in contact with new Coordinator of Recruiting Strategy Kelvin Bolden, reports an offer from Florida International and visited the Florida Gators earlier this month.
The Rebels will conduct their third practice of spring on Saturday, March 26, a day The Grove Report is expecting to become popular among junior college and prep recruits alike.
MARCH 21, 8:30 AM UPDATE:
The Rebels are becoming known for their transfer portal prowess but it doesn’t slow high school recruiting all together.
New offers are going out and it means new targets are on the board for Lane Kiffin’s staff, on both sides of the ball. Sunday provided another example as Antonio Cotman Jr. added the Rebel extension to his list.
The Colonial Heights (Va.) Life Christian Academy standout won MVP honors at the Rivals camp early in the day before getting the good news from cornerbacks coach Sam Carter. Nearly 20 programs now dot the rising-senior’s offer list, including Arkansas and South Carolina within the SEC.
Cotman is a bigger prospect for the secondary, checking in at 6’2″, 190 pounds. He has visited North Carolina, Penn State, Virginia Tech and South Carolina early in 2022.
Ole Miss has one verbal commitment to date in the class of 2023 in Suntarine Perkins.
MARCH 17, 8:30 AM UPDATE:
One of Ole Miss’ top defensive line targets is coming back to Oxford.
Zavion Hardy, a rising senior recruit out of Macon (Ga.) Tattnall Square Academy High School, announced intentions to be back on campus by the end of the month. He will visit on March 26, coinciding with one of the Rebels’ spring practice dates as well.
Hardy spent time at Florida earlier this month, not long after dropping his top eight programs. In addition to Ole Miss, UF, Miami, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida State, UCF and Jackson State made the cut for the Peach State standout.
Listed at 6’6″, 260 pounds, Hardy does not have a public timetable for a decision. It appears the SEC programs are in best position to jockey for his eventual verbal commitment.
MARCH 16, 3:00 PM UPDATE:
Ole Miss is still in it for one of the top running back recruits on the board.
Denton (Texas) Ryan junior tailback Kalib Hicks, also a track standout in the Lone Star State, trimmed his list of options on Wednesday and the Rebels are still in the running for his verbal commitment. Alabama, Arkansas, Miami, TCU, South Carolina, Baylor, Louisville and Colorado rounded out the group.
The Rebel coaches initially moved on Hicks in late January with a scholarship offer. A visit to Oxford could help the program stay in the hunt. He was recently at Alabama for an unofficial visit.
As a junior in 2021, Hicks helped Ryan High School to a state championship by rushing for 1,448 yards and 18 touchdowns in 13 games of work.
MARCH 14, 8:30 AM UPDATE:
In a move potentially built for Lane Kiffin on Twitter, Ole Miss’ top football commitment spent time at Alabama over the weekend as a priority recruit for Nick Saban and his staff.
Suntarine Perkins is arguably the top recruit in Mississippi for the class of 2023, committing to Kiffin’s staff back in November of 2021. Since then, many programs have targeted the 6’3″, 200-pound athlete, who can play a variety of positions on defense between linebacker to defensive back.
Alabama got involved with a scholarship offer in late January and got Perkins on campus over the weekend along with multiple coaches who lead him at Raleigh (Miss.) High School. Georgia, LSU, Florida State and others continue to recruit the rising-senior recruit despite the pledge to the Rebels.
Perkins, who has frequented Oxford since making his pledge public, is committed to play in the Under Armour All-America Game. He remains the sole verbal commitment to Ole Miss for the class of 2023.
MARCH 9, 9:40 AM UPDATE:
Ole Miss is still in the mix for one of the top tight end prospects in the recruiting class of 2023.
Arlington (Texas) Sam Houston High School tight end Lafayette Kaiuway updated his list of contenders on Wednesday morning and despite several in-state programs making the cut, so did the Rebels.
The next step for Lane Kiffin and company with the 6’6″ pass catcher who was offered in November, is to get him on campus in Oxford. With the spring practice schedule now public, there are 15 more opportunities to potentially do so in the near future ahead of the Grove Bowl on April 23.
Kaiuway, who is being recruited primarily by assistant coach John David Baker, will attend the Under Armour All-American camp in Dallas this weekend. As a junior in 2021 he scored nine touchdowns in nine games for Sam Houston.
MARCH 7, 11:30 AM UPDATE:
One of the most critical prospects for Ole Miss to make a run at in the 2023 cycle is highly-recruited defensive lineman Kelby Collins of Alabama.
The inside-out pass rusher out of Gardendale (Ala.) High School visited Oxford over the weekend for the elite junior day and came away with an understanding of how the Rebels have built up to a known recruiting force both from the prep ranks and as a second chance in the transfer portal.
“It was definitely a shocking visit,” Collins told John Garcia, Jr. “I see now why they are leading in the transfer portal. The coaching staff is great, they are young and have great experience. I mean they have the greatest defensive coach, possibly, in Lane’s dad (Monte Kiffin) and the best, if not one of the best of the offensive minds in Lane Kiffin.”
“At the end of the day I’m glad I got down there. The visit shocked me, in a good way, I’ll definitely be going back.”
Just getting Collins, already an Under Armour All-American, on campus was a win for Kiffin and company considering Ole Miss wasn’t apart of his top schools released in the fall. Also, it’s easy to see why he is wanted up front, especially from an athletic standpoint.
Collins says he will visit Tennessee this weekend and then start to narrow his list further.
MARCH 4, 10:45 AM UPDATE:
While there will be a strong Alabama contingent heading to Oxford for a visit on Saturday, the state of Georgia will have elite recruits set to see Ole Miss as well.
Both Ethan Nation and Cayden Lee have confirmed plans to be in town for a fresh look at Lane Kiffin’s program this weekend.
Nation is a blue-chip defensive back from Roswell High School who has sported an offer from Ole Miss for well more than a year at this point. Lee, a.k.a. Honeycomb as the graphic he posted suggests, is a pass catcher out of Westlake High School who just recently picked up the Rebel offer in February.
Both are members of the class of 2023, where Ole Miss has just one verbal commitment at this time.
MARCH 3, 12:30 PM UPDATE:
The state of Mississippi is loaded with talent just about every year. Even with that in mind, the Rebels need to pick their spots and go after specific out-of-state targets. To that point, there are certain positions that require scouring the country to find the best possible prospects, and that’s what Ole Miss is doing with cornerback recruiting.
If you look at the rosters of the teams that are consistently competing for a College Football Playoff berth, many of those rosters will be full of in-state players. Fair enough. When looking at cornerback for any one of those schools – such as Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State – there’s a good chance that at least one if not two of the starters hail from out of their own state borders.
Point blank, cornerback recruiting matters. A lack of cornerback talent will get a team beat really quick. That’s one of the reasons that Kiffin and his staff are taking a broader look at cornerback recruiting. Case in point, the offer to a top St. Louis cornerback today.
The 6’0”, 180-pound talent from a DeSmet High School program that’s commonly churning out prospects has been tested. It’s the same program that sent players to Missouri, Baylor, Illinois and Ohio State from the class of 2021 alone.
As for Gray specifically, he has the quickness and speed to already hold offers from LSU and Notre Dame (the two perceived leaders), Ohio State, Tennessee, Florida, Southern California, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Indiana, Kansas State, Iowa State, Miami, Kentucky, and Minnesota among others.
Good to see the Rebels jump in the mix for Gray, as well as potentially look at a very talented St. Louis area that consistently produces players that are SEC worthy.
MARCH 2, 7:30 AM UPDATE:
Dee Crayton is one of the most well rounded linebacker prospects in the country. The ability to play middle linebacker or weak side linebacker is evident with his pass coverage skills, and the 6’1”, 220-pound linebacker with a self-reported 3.4 GPA is still a threat to be a thumper in the middle of the defense as well.
Crayton has been adding offers along the recruiting trail of late with free rides from Ole Miss, Clemson, Kansas, Jackson State, Arizona State, and Coastal Carolina among others for the Under Armour All-America Game invitee.
Another linebacker was also extended an offer by the Rebels coaching staff with S’Maje Burrell from North Crowley (Texas) High School. Located just south of Fort Worth, Texas, the high school Burrell plays for is in the midst of one of the most competitive high school football areas in the country on the edge of Dallas.
With offers from Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Kansas State, Houston, Southern California, Arizona State and many others under his belt, Burrell has a plethora of offers to choose from already. The 6’1”, 215-pound linebacker also self-reports a 3.6 GPA.
MARCH 1, 4:45 PM UPDATE:
Over the course of the past few days, Lane Kiffin and his staff have been very busy along the recruiting trail. As The Grove Report and Rebel fans prepare for Ole Miss spring practice, note that the coaching staff in Oxford is still putting in the work with recruits.
One of the best players in all of South Florida was offered in Jayvant Brown, a linebacker that recently transferred to Saint Thomas Aquinas. Brown has offers from several Power Five programs like Texas, Ohio State, Florida, Alabama, LSU, Penn State, and Florida State.
With Kiffin’s connections to South Florida, along with his well known recruiting prowess, it will be interesting to see how many players out of the greater Fort Lauderdale-Miami area that Ole Miss can sign within the class of 2023.
Continuing with the skill talent but moving to the state of North Carolina, Ole Miss has offered top running back Daylan Smothers. He plays for Charlotte (N.C.) Chambers. Just in the month of February, Smothers earned offers from North Carolina State, Miami, Alabama and now Ole Miss. That’s quite a month for the 5’11”, 185-pound running back.
It’s interesting to see Ole Miss attempt to dive deep into ACC territory, showing that Kiffin and his staff want to go after the best athletes regardless of where they may reside.
FEBRUARY 29, 9:00 PM UPDATE:
ALPHARETTA, Ga. – One of the best players the state of Mississippi has to offer for the class of 2023 talks about the Rebels, as well as Ole Miss Head Coach Lane Kiffin.
Top prospects from across the South, including the state of Mississippi joined up to compete at this year’s Atlanta Under Armour Camp. One of the top prospects in attendance was Ayden Williams from Ridgeland (Miss.) High School.
Williams’ recruitment really started to take hold last summer when he was one of the more well known recruits along the seven-on-seven circuit, as well as turning heads at the University of Florida’s Friday Night Lights even at the end of summer. He’s been a top target for the Rebels for quite a while.
He took a few minutes to discuss his recruitment with The Grove Report after his performance.
“I’m about 6’3”, 190-pounds,” Williams said after stepping off the turf at Denmark High School. “I lost a little weight because of basketball season, but I’m going to say 190.”
The lanky receiver is taking his time with visits come the month of March, but he’s taking recruiting one day at a time.
“I really don’t have any visits planned in March right now. It’s really just undecided right now. I’m just taking it as they come right now.”
As for the schools recruiting Williams the hardest, he offered the following.
“The hardest? Ole Miss, Oklahoma…I don’t have the Oklahoma offer yet, but I talk to Oklahoma a good bit. And I just talked to Georgia during the (Under Armour) Camp. They said they are going to hit me up Monday, and they are definitely going to be one of my top schools.”
When discussing distance from his home, Williams was somewhat undecided.
“It doesn’t matter to me, as long as I am able to come back and see my family I can really go to New York or somewhere (for college).”
As for the Rebels, the curiosity of what Williams thinks of the Head Coach in Oxford had to be asked.
“No, he’s a different guy! He different. He’s chill, but he’s different. You can tell with Lane Kiffin, he’s cut from a different cloth. If you are around him, he’s so cool, like nothing bothers him. He’s just cool. He was talking to my family and stuff. He’s just a laid back person.”
Stay tuned to The Grove Report as we bring you more interviews with top prospects like Williams.
FEBRUARY 28, 11:15 AM UPDATE:
One of the top Ole Miss targets in the state of Georgia will be back in Oxford this weekend. As the visitor list for the spring visit period starts to ramp up, Keion Wallace will be on it, he says.
Lane Kiffin’s program is building up to a big visit weekend beginning March 5 and Wallace is one of many with offers expected to attend. The Springfield (Ga.) Effingham County standout, listed at 6’3′, 200 pounds, will make his return trip to campus Saturday.
The pass catcher initially picked up his Rebel offer back in August 2021 and the program has been in touch with the interesting athlete, who also plays varsity basketball and was named all region this month, ever since. Texas A&M, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Michigan State and others are among the suitors for Wallace at this time.
As a junior, Wallace suffered a shoulder injury that cost him the 2021 season. Now healthy, Wallace participated in the Under Armour Next All-America Game camp in Atlanta over the weekend and flashed his length and pass catching ability.
FEBRUARY 27, 9:00 AM UPDATE:
Arguably the top in-state wide receiver recruit in the state of Mississippi will likely be back in Oxford for the Rebels’ spring game.
Ayden Williams, the Ridgeland (Miss.) High School star player, told The Grove Report’s Brian Smith he would “probably” be back in Oxford to watch the annual game as the college football world turns the calendar towards the 2022 season.
The Under Armour All-American has been a priority for Lane Kiffin’s coaching staff for more than a year, originally picking up the offer way back in September of 2020, and he was recently on campus with his fellow Mississippi Heat 7-on-7 teammates in late January.
The 2022 spring game, a.k.a. the Grove Bowl, is set for April 23 with kickoff set for noon CT.
FEBRUARY 26, 7:30 AM UPDATE:
Ole Miss extended an offer to one of the best players in the Magnolia State, Dante Dowdell of Picayune (Miss.) High School. The 6’2”, 215-pound running back was named the Max Preps 5A Player of the Year after rushing for 2,555 yards and 28 touchdowns.
In addition to Ole Miss, Dowdell has been offered a scholarship by Georgia Tech, Auburn, Arkansas State, Louisiana, UCF, Oregon, Florida State, Boston College, Southern Miss, Akron, Western Carolina, Georgia State, Alcorn State, University of Louisiana-Monroe, and Tulane.
A one-cut-and-go running back that consistently delivers the blows more than accepting them, Dowdell also does a tremendous job of keeping his balance while tackles shoot for his lower legs. His vision and speed allow for finding the hole and creating big plays at the second and third level. Check out his highlights:
FEBRUARY 25, 11:00 AM UPDATE:
Ole Miss is targeting a Big 12 commitment.
On Thursday, the Rebels extended an offer to two-way Oak Grove (La.) standout Kamryn Franklin, a member of the class of 2023 who has experience at wide receiver and defensive back.
Franklin, who also plays basketball at Oak Grove High School, committed to Oklahoma State on November 21 following a campus visit, though he continues to pick up scholarship offers since. Arkansas, Louisville and Purdue are among those also interested in the 6’3″, 197-pound prospect.
As a junior in 2021, Franklin helped Oak Grove football to the Louisiana Class 1A state semi-finals on each side of the football. In college he likely projects as a defensive back, the same position group OSU is leaning towards projecting him at.
FEBRUARY 23, 11:45 AM UPDATE:
Ole Miss has been busy courting 2023 recruits and one of its premiere targets is still considering the program despite trimming his list.
Zavion Hardy, a rising-senior pass rusher out of Macon (Ga.) Tattnall Square Academy High School, released his top eight programs on Tuesday afternoon. In addition to Ole Miss, Jackson State, South Carolina, Florida State, Florida, Miami, Georgia and UCF made the cut.
Hardy stands 6’6″, 240 pounds and originally picked up the Rebel offer extension on September 1, the first day juniors in 2021 could receive communication from college programs electronically or via the phone.
The Rebels were among the first to offer the Peach State standout, who was named All-State following the 2021 season having registered 12 tackles for loss and four sacks in eight games, according to MaxPreps.
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