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Ole Miss Rebels fans looking to ink a top-25 2012 class are likely to be disappointed, as Ole Miss is recovering from a disastrous 2-10 football season – the worst record in program history – and still getting acclimated to new head coach Hugh Freeze. While Freeze is known for both his offensive coaching style and his recruiting abilities, the young, energetic coach has had less than two months to recruit, convince, and influence prospective football players. Suffice it to say that Ole Miss’ class this season will be smaller than classes past, and looks to address some immediate position needs where possible while adding depth at others.
Ole Miss’ two biggest commitments on the offensive side of the ball are quarterback Bo Wallace and halfback I’Tavius Mathers. Wallace, a 6’5", 215-pound quarterback out of East Mississippi Community College, was named the Junior College Offensive Player of the Year by the NJCAA. While at EMCC, Wallace set new NJCAA single-season records for passing yards (4,604), yards of total offense (4,810) and touchdowns thrown (53). His offensive production was key to EMCC winning the NJCAA national title. Wallace will likely compete to start immediately at his position.
I’Tavius Mathers is a 6’, 200-pound halfback out of Murfreesboro, Tennessee , rushed for over 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns in each of his two final high school seasons. With the departures of Brandon Bolden and Enrique Davis, Mathers is sure to see playing time as a true freshman.
On defense, the Rebels’ most heralded commitments are defensive tackle Isaac Gross and defensive end Channing Ward. Gross, a product of South Panola High School, Ole Miss’ de facto farm program, and Ward, a native of Aberdeen, Mississippi, were both named Under Armor All-Americans. Both played well in the Under Armor All-American game, with Gross being named a starter on his side of the ball. Ward is considered by many recruiting services as the best high schooler from Mississippi this year, as well as one of the nation’s best high school defensive ends, making him a crucial get for Hugh Freeze’s first class in Oxford.
Ole Miss’ biggest remaining needs, position wise, are on the offensive line and in the defensive backfield. Ole Miss has several offensive linemen committed, including Junior College star Pierce Burton at tackle, while the Rebels are still looking to ink cornerback Trae Elston out of Alabama. Ole Miss is also in the mix – along with Georgia, Tennessee, LSU, and Auburn – for Junior College wideout Cordarrelle Patterson, an NJCAA all-American.