Jan. 25, 2016
OXFORD, Miss. – Coming off back-to-back New Year’s Six bowl games, the Ole Miss football team took the first step in solidifying its future success Monday when eight members of the 2016 signing class began classes on the first day of the spring semester.
Hugh Freeze and his staff are gathering one of the nation’s top collections of talent this recruiting season, including the eight freshmen that enrolled early and will go through spring drills with the team.
Headlining the group is Shea Patterson, the No. 1 ranked quarterback in the country according to Rivals.com, Scout.com and 247Sports.com, which all list him among the top four prospects in the nation overall. A Louisiana native who played his senior year at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, Patterson was the MVP of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl earlier this month.
The Rebels’ Landshark defense will be bolstered by 5-star prospect and Under Armour All-American Benito Jones. The defensive tackle from Waynesboro, Mississippi, had four tackles for loss and a sack in the Under Armour All-America game and helped Wayne County to a 5A State Championship as a senior.
Tennessee tight end Gabe Angel, Texas defensive back Greg Eisworth, Georgia linebacker Donta Evans, New Jersey defensive back Myles Hartsfield, Mississippi offensive lineman Eli Johnson and Georgia defensive end Charles Wiley also have joined the Rebels’ squad.
Among them are four high school All-Americans, two 5-star rated prospects and four 4-star recruits.
The rest of the 2016 Ole Miss class can begin to submit national letters of intent on National Signing Day, which is Wednesday, Feb. 3.
Below are complete high school bios on all eight early enrollees.
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Gabe Angel | TE | 6-3 | 218 | Cookeville, Tenn. | Cookeville
HIGH SCHOOL: Listed as a 4-star recruit by 247Sports.com, Scout.com and ESPN.com … Ranked the fourth-best TE/H-back in the country by ESPN.com and the No. 12 TE by 247Sports.com … Listed as the No. 1 athlete in Tennessee by Scout.com … Ranked No. 202 overall on the Scout300 list … As a senior at Cookeville, caught 25 passes for 379 yards while adding 356 yards on the ground for a total of 11 TDs … Also threw a TD pass for the Cavaliers … Selected to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association’s All-State team … Named first team All-State at TE by USA Today … Rushed for 451 yards and added 227 receiving yards for 10 TDs as a junior … Coached in high school by Jimmy Maynord.
Greg Eisworth | DB | 5-11 | 180 | Grand Prairie, Texas | South Grand Prairie
HIGH SCHOOL: Listed as a 4-star recruit and the No. 25 athlete in the country by ESPN.com … Ranked the 36th-best safety in the nation by 247Sports.com … Starred on both sides of the ball in high school, playing quarterback and safety … Racked up over 2,400 yards and scored 24 TDs as a senior … Selected to Scout.com’s All-Midlands team … Named an honorable mention at QB on the Associated Press’ Class 6A All-State team … Coached in high school by Brent Whitson.
Donta Evans | LB | 6-1 | 222 | Lawrenceville, Ga. | Archer
HIGH SCHOOL: A consensus 3-star prospect by the major recruiting services … Rated the 21st-best inside linebacker in the country by Rivals.com and 22nd-best by 247Sports.com and ESPN.com … Played in the Offense-Defense All-American Senior Bowl … As a senior, he helped Archer to an 11-3 record and a quarterfinal appearance in the 6A playoffs … Collected 93 tackles and three sacks … As a junior, he racked up 116 tackles and six sacks … Coached in high school by Andy Dyer.
Myles Hartsfield | DB | 6-0 | 190 | Sayreville, N.J. | East Coast Prep
HIGH SCHOOL: Listed as a 4-star recruit by Scout.com … Ranked the No. 1 prep school safety by 247Sports.com … Recorded 29 tackles, two interceptions and seven pass breakups for ECP in 2015 … Also added 200 yards receiving on offense … As a senior in high school, scored 12 TDs … Coached at ECP by Dick Bell and by George Najjar in high school.
Eli Johnson | OL | 6-3 | 295 | Oxford, Miss. | Lafayette
HIGH SCHOOL: A consensus 3-star OL prospect by the major recruiting services … Ranked the fourth-best center in the nation by 247Sports.com … Played in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game and the Offense-Defense All-American Senior Bowl … As a senior, helped Lafayette to a 9-3 record and a 4A state quarterfinals appearance … Led the way for Lafayette’s rushing attack that racked up 2,753 yards and 46 TDs … Named first team All-State by The Clarion-Ledger, USA Today and Mississippi Association of Coaches … Coached in high school by Eric Robertson.
Benito Jones | DT | 6-1 | 285 | Waynesboro, Miss. | Wayne County
HIGH SCHOOL: An Under Armour All-America selection … Rated a 5-star recruit by ESPN.com … Listed as the No.7 overall recruit by ESPN.com, No. 44 by Rivals.com and No. 49 by 247Sports.com … Nationally ranked on the Rivals250, Scout300, 247Sports and ESPN300 lists … Racked up five tackles with 4.0 TFLs and a sack in the Under Armour All-America game … Played in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game … Helped Wayne County to a 5A State Championship … As a senior, recorded 83 tackles and 14 sacks … Tabbed the 5A Defensive Player of the Year by the Mississippi Association of Coaches … Named first team All-State by The Clarion-Ledger and USA Today … A member of The Clarion-Ledger’s 2015 Dandy Dozen … Coached in high school by Todd Mangum.
Shea Patterson | QB | 6-2 | 195 | Shreveport, La. | IMG Academy
HIGH SCHOOL: A U.S. Army and USA Today All-America selection … Ranked the No. 1 QB of the 2016 recruiting class and a 5-star recruit by Rivals.com, 247Sports.com and Scout.com … Listed as the No. 3 overall recruit by Rivals.com, No. 3 by 247Sports.com, No. 4 by Scout.com and No. 15 by ESPN.com … Named the MVP of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl after completing 6-of-9 passes for 90 yards and two TDs and leading the West to a 37-9 victory over the East … Named the MVP of the Elite 11 QB competition … Led IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) to its first undefeated season in school history as a senior … Was a team captain and named the Offensive Player of the Year at IMG … Named first team All-State by USA Today … Threw for 1,533 yards and 18 TDs as a senior … Led Calvary Baptist (Shreveport, La.) to back-to-back Louisiana Division III state championships during his sophomore and junior seasons … Threw for 2,428 yards and 38 TDs as a junior and 2,655 yards and 34 TDs as a sophomore … Named the Louisiana Sports Writers Association All-State QB after each season … Coached in high school by Kevin Wright.
Charles Wiley | DE | 6-2 | 240 | Stockbridge, Ga. | Stockbridge
HIGH SCHOOL: A consensus 4-star prospect by the major recruiting services … Ranked the No. 17 weakside DE by Rivals.com and the No. 26 DE by ESPN.com … Nationally ranked on the Scout300, 247Sports and ESPN300 lists … As a senior, racked up 32 tackles and 16.5 sacks to lead Stockbridge to a 12-1 season … Named the Southside Defensive Player of the Year by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution … Named All-State by USA Today and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution … Selected to the AJC’s Super 11 team … As a junior, recorded 57 tackles and 18 sacks … Coached in high school by Kevin Whitley.