Football Adds Seven to Top-25 Signing Class


By Brian Scott Rippee, OleMissSports.com

OXFORD, Miss. -- Ole Miss Head coach Matt Luke welcomed seven student-athletes on Wednesday to bring the 2018 recruiting class to 22 players.

Luke's first recruiting class is ranked 25th in the nation by Rivals.

"We were able to address our needs at every position," Luke said. "A lot of credit goes out to our staff and what they are able to do, not only capitalizing on the momentum of the Egg Bowl and the early signing period, but also addressing some needs in this.

"Anytime you start where we started and end up around the Top 25 in the recruiting rankings, it's just a credit to the staff and the job they're able to do."

On the offensive side of the football, the Rebels reeled in four-star wide receiver Miles Battle out of Houston Texas, and Mississippi 6A Player of the Year, Tylan Knight.

Battle joins a deeply talented receiving corps and Knight may be the most intriguing prospect of the day due to his ability to play on either side of the football. Knight was the MVP of the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game in December.

"We've talked about him at nickel, at returner, at running back, at slot," Luke said. "I think he's very, very versatile, but for his size, he is really physical, and that's what you saw in the Miss-Al game. You saw it in the Mississippi state championship... so the kid can play. We have him on the bus, now we just have to find him the right seat."

Knight possesses a lot of speed and will likely make Ole Miss more dynamic on special teams next fall along with slot receiver Elijah Moore who signed in December. Luke called Knight the steal of the 2018 class.

"Just a little bit different style of athlete than we've had in the past," Luke said. "I think they will add a dimension to us in the return game, potentially some speed sweeps, some screens, just to let them get the ball in the open field, and obviously the return game is now a chance for a big play and not just a fair catch all the time."

The Rebels also added another offensive lineman on Wednesday in Atlanta product Hamilton Hall. On the offensive side, the Rebels added two more linebackers in Luke Knox - the brother of Ole Miss tight end Dawson Knox - and Kevontae' Ruggs out of Montgomery, Alabama. Arizona Western Junior College transfer defensive tackle Noah Jefferson rounds out the seven that signed with the Rebels Wednesday and is seen as a guy that can come in and contribute immediately on the interior defensive line.

The 22-man class contains a variety of different pieces with 11 front-seven defensive players. Ole Miss signed five interior defensive linemen in this class and one defensive end, all of whom are pushing the 300-pound mark or are well over it. The Rebels undoubtedly got bigger on the interior defensive line.

"Just my overall viewpoint is to win in this league you have to run the ball and you have to stop the run," Luke said. "You see it on the offensive and defensive line in this class with bigger guys, so that's a big point of emphasis for us moving forward into the spring is stopping the run and running the ball, so that's why you see some of the size the way you do."

Luke noted that Cunningham will likely start off on the offensive side of the football due to the need to replace Rod Taylor and Daronte Bouldin, but did not rule out the 6-foot-6, 345-pound Cunningham getting snaps on the defensive line at some point.

Five linebackers signed in this class, which Luke said was Ole Miss' important position to address. Coffeyville Community College transfer Vernon Dasher will likely have an opportunity to compete for playing time at linebacker immediately as will a couple of other guys.

"It was much documented that we needed some help at linebacker, and we're able to get some length and some size at linebacker," Luke said. "We have three 6'4" plus linebackers, and I thought that was huge to get some size and some guys who could grow in the big, SEC linebacker."

Even with a defensive-heavy class, Ole Miss was still able to replenish its skill positions by signing All-American quarterback Matt Corral, and four-star receivers DeMarcus Gregory, Battle and Moore. The Rebels also got the number one junior college running back in the country in Scottie Phillips. Luke made it pretty clear Phillips has a chance to shoulder an important role with the departure of Jordan Wilkins.

"I think anytime you look at it, the one who jumps to my mind is Scottie Phillips," Luke said. "Just because of having to replace Jordan Wilkins, Scottie is the one that jumps to my mind, and that was a big need for us."

Six of the 22 signees are enrolled in school and will go through spring practice. The Rebels begin spring ball on February 27.

FEB. 7
NOAH JEFFERSON
DT | 6-6 | 330 | Las Vegas, Nev. (Arizona Western College)
FEB. 7
TYLAN KNIGHT
ATH | 5-7 | 170 | Pearl, Miss. (Pearl HS)
FEB. 7
MILES BATTLE
WR | 6-4 | 187 | Houston, Texas (Cypress Creek HS)
FEB. 7
KEVONTAE' RUGGS
LB | 6-4 | 190 | Montgomery, Ala. (Lee HS)
FEB. 7
JAKOREY HAWKINS
DB | 6-0 | 185 | Montgomery, Ala. (Lee HS)
FEB. 7
LUKE KNOX
LB | 6-4 | 210 | Brentwood, Tenn. (Brentwood Academy)
FEB. 7
HAMILTON HALL
OL | 6-5 | 315 | Atlanta, Ga. (Chamblee Charter HS)
DEC. 20
MATT CORRAL
QB | 6-2 | 196 | Long Beach, Calif. (Long Beach Poly HS)
DEC. 20
ISAIAH WOULLARD
RB | 5-9 | 195 | Hattiesburg, Miss. (Presbyterian Christian School)
DEC. 20
JACQUEZ JONES
LB | 6-1 | 225 | Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Hillcrest HS)
DEC. 20
CAMERON WHITE
DB | 6-2 | 195 | Madison, Miss. (Madison Central HS)
DEC. 20
SCOTTIE PHILLIPS
RB | 5-9 | 198 | Ellisville, Miss. (Jones County JC)
DEC. 20
JAMES WILLIAMS
DL | 6-5 | 285 | Jackson, Miss. (Callaway HS)
DEC. 20
KEIDRON SMITH
DB | 6-2 | 180 | West Palm Beach, Fla. (Oxbridge Academy)
DEC. 20
JALEN CUNNINGHAM
OL/DL | 6-6 | 345 | Odenville, Ala. (St. Clair County HS)
DEC. 20
KD HILL
DT | 6-2 | 275 | Eufaula, Ala. (Eufaula HS)
DEC. 20
JONATHAN HESS
LB | 6-5 | 222 | Vestavia Hills, Ala. (Vestavia Hills HS)
DEC. 20
HAL NORTHERN
DT | 6-2 | 290 | Tunica, Miss. (Northwest Mississippi CC)
DEC. 20
QUENTIN BIVENS
DT | 6-3 | 290 | Waynesboro, Miss. (Wayne County HS)
DEC. 20
VERNON DASHER
LB | 6-3 | 215 | Baxley, Ga. (Appling County HS)
DEC. 20
ELIJAH MOORE
WR | 5-11 | 181 | Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (St. Thomas Aquinas HS)
DEC. 20
DEMARCUS GREGORY
WR | 6-2 | 200 | Duncan, S.C. (Byrnes HS)

 

 

    • Luke, Players to Appear at SEC Media Days 2018

      Thursday, February 22, 2018 -

      The SEC announced its schedule for its annual SEC Media Days which will take place July 16-19 at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia. Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke and three players that have not yet been... read more

    • Luke, Plays to Appear at SEC Media Days 2018

      Thursday, February 22, 2018 -

      The SEC announced its schedule for its annual SEC Media Days which will take place July 16-19 at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia. Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke and three players that have not yet been... read more

    • SIDEBAR: Kessinger and Fortes Team Up to Top Tigers

      Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - Baseball

      Sitting atop the Ole Miss lineup and the first to dig into the batter's box, a conscious effort to be aggressive early in counts from shortstop Grae Kessinger has led to a productive beginning to his sophomore campaign. And... read more

    • Madlock's Experience to Lead Rebels Down the Stretch

      Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - Men's Basketball

      By Brian Scott Rippee Tony Madlock has over 20 years of coaching experience at the Division I level. Madlock was in his fourth year as an assistant coach for former head coach Andy Kennedy's staff before assuming the role of... read more

    • SIDEBAR: A Look Back at an Ole Miss Sweep of Winthrop

      Sunday, February 18, 2018 - Baseball

      OXFORD, Miss - Grae Kessinger got just enough of the bat on a breaking ball on the outside corner from Winthrop's Dalton Whitaker. The ball squirted towards the hole on the left side and grazed the outstretched glove of Eagle... read more

    • SIDEBAR: Clutch Hitting Drives Rebels in Game 2

      Saturday, February 17, 2018 - Baseball

      OXFORD, Miss - The pitch came out of Winthrop's Colton Rendon's hand at 81 mph with the intention of breaking but hung as it floated towards Cole Zabowski at the plate. The sophomore first baseman turned and crushed it... read more

    • SIDEBAR: Rolison, Rebels Roll Past Winthrop in Opener

      Friday, February 16, 2018 - Baseball

      OXFORD, Miss - A dominant summer in the Cape Cod League brought forth some lofty expectations for Ole Miss' Ryan Rolison, something he's never shied away from.The sophomore lefty certainly lived up to them on opening day as he put... read more

    • Rebel Alums: Where are They Now

      Thursday, February 15, 2018 - Men's Tennis

      In our second installment of Rebel Alums: Where are They Now, we take a look at the All-American twin duo of Marcel Thiemann and Chris Thiemann.In 2012, Marcel Thiemann became the fourth player in Ole Miss men's tennis history to... read more

    • Baseball Releases 2018 Walk Out Songs

      Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - Baseball

      With the first pitch of the 2018 season just days away, check out the much-anticipated walk out music list. Which song is your favorite? Let us know on Twitter by tagging @OleMissBSB and using the hashtag #RebWalkOuts.#1 Jacob Adams:... read more

    • Bianco Previews 2018 Team At Media Day

      Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - Baseball

      By Brian Scott Rippee, OleMissSports.com Mike Bianco spoke with a sense of excitement in his voice as he stood at a podium in the Diamond Club seating area at Swayze Field at media day. Ole Miss opens its 2018... read more

    • Kennedy Leaves Ole Miss Better Than He Found It

      Monday, February 12, 2018 - Men's Basketball

      By Brian Scott Rippee, OleMissSports.com One of the first things Andy Kennedy said on Monday afternoon following the announcement that he would step down at the end of next season is that he felt a sense of calmness and... read more

    • Softball Season Preview: Outfield

      Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - Softball

      The final edition of our Ole Miss softball preview looks at the Rebel outfield, a speedy and athletic group that head coach Mike Smith is excited about heading into the 2018 season.Left Field: Elantra CoxThe senior is an electric... read more

    • Softball Season Preview: Pitchers

      Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - Softball

      Part two of our Ole Miss softball preview takes a look at the Rebel pitchers. This group was headlined by Kaitlin Lee last season with Brittany Finney, Morgan Bruce and others providing solid options as well. Head Coach Mike... read more

    • Softball Season Preview: Infield

      Tuesday, February 6, 2018 - Softball

      Coming off the most successful season in program history, Ole Miss Softball begins its 2018 season on Friday. The Rebels come into the season ranked as high as 15th in the country and were on the cusp of reaching... read more

    • FRESH FACES: Softball's Abbey Latham

      Friday, February 2, 2018 - Softball

      In the 10th and final of a 10-part series introducing the Ole Miss softball newcomers for the 2018 season, Friday's profile features first baseman/designated player Abbey Latham. Abbey Latham | 1B/DP | R/R | 5-11 | Fr. | Livingston,... read more

OFFICIAL STORE

GET SOCIAL

Twitter

  • Loading Tweets...
    1 second ago

Instagram

Facebook