Published February 4, 2011 - 2:02pm
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Biggest Needs: It seems that the theme of offensive needs in the SEC has been on the O-Line this year. However, that is not the case for Ole Miss. The Rebs have no Seniors on the 2-deep O-Line depth chart. Really the only losses on offense are QB Jeremiah Masoli and WR Markeith Summers.
Most fans pointed at the loss of Dexter McCluster as the missing piece to Ole Miss’ offense in 2010, but I say that a guy like Shay Hodge’s 1,023 yds receiving and 8 TDs was missed just as much. The Rebs didn’t have a guy like Hodge in 2010, and Markeith Summers had the most yds receiving in 2010 with 575.
Defensively, Ole Miss loses 8 starters on that side of the ball (3 D-Linemen, 2 LBs, 1 CB, 2 Safetys), and add in two more guys on the 2-deep to bring that total to 10. I think losing both Safetys is a significant hit, but 3 of the 5 DB’s in Nickel Packages really hurts. The loss of Jerrell Powe is going to be tough to replace, but Kentrell Lockett’s presence will be missed just as much. All in all, this Defense was not great, so adding quality defenders was a big priority for Ole Miss.
Needs Met: Houston Nutt met the WR deficiency head on with this recruiting class by signing 5 WRs. Three of those receivers are high profile guys (Tobias Singleton, Nickolas Brassell, and Donte Moncrief), and I think Singleton may be the best of the bunch. Singleton is 6’2” 190 with 4.4 speed, and look for one or two of these guys to play a huge role on offense next season.
Ole Miss also signed two QB’s in this class. One JUCO guy (Zach Stoudt), and Maikhail Miller came straight out of high school. I think Stoudt is a short-term fix for the Rebs, and Miller is a quality long-term player at QB.
Four quality O-Linemen were added, and look for Aaron Morris to be the guy to push his way into the depth chart next year.
On the Defensive side of the ball, Ole Miss didn’t really make a lot of noise with their signings on the D-Line or defensive backfield. However, signing linebacker C.J. Johnson was huge. It looked like Johnson was going to Mississippi State, and in a late switch, he picked Ole Miss. Johnson will probably be the starter on Day 1. Besides Johnson, look for JUCO guys Uriah Grant and Wesley Pendleton to contribute. Grant is a DT and Pendleton is a DB, both of those guys will probably play a big part on improving the Rebs Defense next year.
Biggest Get: I know most of you think I am going to say C.J. Johnson, and he is a huge pickup. However, keeping Tobias Singleton and Nickolas Brassell in state was huge. I have already elaborated on Ole Miss’ passing deficiencies last year, and I think these two guys give a huge boost to the offense. Not only do they help the passing game, but they will certainly help Ole Miss in the run game by spreading out the defense.
Biggest Miss: I really think that Ole Miss needed to get one of these three instate guys: DE Leon Mackey, DB Jermaine Whitehead, and DB Jalen Collins were all guys that went out of state, and they are all positions of need. Any of these three recruits would have contributed in some way next year.
Final Evaluation: Ole Miss did a great job in state, and they absolutely out-recruited Mississippi State. However, this was another season where the colleges in Mississippi failed to close down the borders. I know I have said this before, but to win Championships at Ole Miss, they must lock down the instate talent. I think most of Ole Miss’ needs are met with this class, but a couple more quality guys on defense would have helped.
Final Grade: B+ (After going 4-8, this is a monster recruiting haul.)