Rebels Run Mississippi On Signing Day

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Ole Miss Head Coach Houston Nutt

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Ole Miss Head Coach Houston Nutt
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

Feb. 2, 2011

Signing Day Central

By Kory Keys, Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations Assistant

Following the 2010 season, Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt and staff knew that work had to be done. One of those areas was the recruiting trail and on February 2, Nutt and staff signed one of the program's strongest classes to date.

"As soon as that last whistle blew we went to work," Nutt said. "I was really proud of our staff, how they did it the right way. I really felt like we dominated in a lot of areas."

The Rebels signed 22 players, including 10 players who received high school All-America honors, Wednesday on National Signing Day headlined by four U.S. Army All-Americans in WR Nickolas Brassell, OL Ethan Hutson, LB C.J. Johnson and WR Tobias Singleton. The four selections are the most from a single Army All-American game in one class in Ole Miss history.

Johnson, of Philadelphia, Miss., is rated as a 5-Star prospect by Rivals.com who also lists the linebacker as the No. 2 player at his position in the nation.

"C.J. Johnson is so athletic and so very, very special," Nutt said. "I had a lot of coaches tell me down at the (U.S. Army All-American Game) that he was the best they had seen at this stage."

Brassell recently finished his senior season as the No. 7 wide receiver in the country, according to Rivals.com, at South Panola High School in Batesville, Miss. with a national championship of his own per RivalsHigh.com.

"We know he's a great athlete," Nutt said. "He can also play cornerback or safety. He reminds me a lot of a guy like Darren McFadden the way that he loves ball. He's the first one on the field and he's the last one to leave."

Singleton is another wide receiver from the Magnolia State that completed his high school career playing for Bobby Hall at Madison Central High School. The 6-foot-2, 187-pound athlete came into National Signing Day 20th on Rivals.com's national wide receiver rankings.

With that trio, WR Donte Moncrief and OL Aaron Morris, Ole Miss inked the state's top five recruits according to Rivals.com.

That ensemble is among 12 players in the 2011 class that hail from the state of Mississippi including OL Justin Bell, DB Chief Brown, DB Senquez Golson, DL Woodrow Hamilton, LB Marcus Mayers, QB Maikhail Miller and DB Cody Prewitt.

Both Johnson and Serderius Bryant were honored as Parade All-Americans for their play in 2010.

ESPN's SEC correspondent Chris Low said, "of the top 15 prospects in the state, Ole Miss landed eight. That's compared to three by Mississippi State. This recruiting class is a sign that Houston Nutt and the Rebels aren't going away quietly."

Ole Miss signed eight of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger's "Dandy Dozen" prospects. That total is the most by any school in the history of the "Dandy Dozen." Brassell, Golson, Johnson, Morris, Moncrief, Mayers, Prewitt and Singleton all made that esteemed list.

In addition, the Rebels claimed five of the top seven players on the Ledger's "Top Ten Most Wanted" list, including the top three players in Johnson, Brassell and Singleton.

"Nobody gave us a chance to get any of these guys," Nutt said. "All of a sudden you look around and we about got them all.

 "I felt like the more you got into those living rooms and the more feedback I got from the mothers, the more I got around the conversation of trust, relationship and commitment. They felt like they knew where we were going and they wanted to do it here in Mississippi, to win a championship. They were hungry for home."

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