the republic logo

Mississippi has hits, misses on signing day

bug
Share/Save/Bookmark

OXFORD, Mississippi — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze has never been shy about chasing some of the nation's top prospects, no matter what other big-name programs are in pursuit.

That approach helped the Rebels grab arguably the school's best class ever in 2013.

It didn't work out quite as well on Wednesday.

The Rebels' class still includes a few highly-rated prospects — like receivers DaMarkus Lodge and Van Jefferson. But Ole Miss also lost out on some of its top targets in the final days of recruiting, including offensive tackle Drew Richmond (Tennessee) and linebacker Leo Lewis (Mississippi State).

Freeze said that this was a challenging class to recruit and acknowledged the Rebels didn't get everyone they wanted, but "you always lose some when you're batting for the nation's best."

Ole Miss, which is coming off a 9-4 season, did fill some needs at several positions.

Lodge and Jefferson could earn immediate playing time at receiver alongside junior Laquon Treadwell, who is coming back from a broken ankle. Lodge is listed as a five-star recruit by Scout.com, while Rivals.com has him rated as a 4-star.

The Rebels also added running back Eric Swinney from Fayetteville, Georgia. The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder is expected to fortify a running game that struggled to produce at times last season.

"We are extremely excited about a class that I think from top to bottom, could be our best since I've been here," Freeze said.

PHOTO: Mississippi head coach Hugh Freeze speaks at a news conference in Oxford, Miss., Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015, as he unveils his NCAA college football recruiting class on national signing day. (AP Photo/The Daily Mississippian, Thomas Graning)
Mississippi head coach Hugh Freeze speaks at a news conference in Oxford, Miss., Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015, as he unveils his NCAA college football recruiting class on national signing day. (AP Photo/The Daily Mississippian, Thomas Graning)

The Rebels also added five players during the early signing period who arrived on campus in January, including offensive lineman Javon Patterson and quarterback Chad Kelly.

Kelly, who is the nephew of Buffalo Bills Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, pleaded guilty in January to a non-criminal charge of disorderly conduct following a fight with bouncers outside a Buffalo, New York, nightclub. Freeze brought him to campus anyway, and he's expected to compete for the starting quarterback job if he stays out of trouble.

"He's got some strong reins on him hopefully," Freeze said.


MISSISSIPPI

Top 25 Class: Yes.

Best in class: Javon Patterson, OL. Petal, Mississippi.

Best of the rest: Eric Swinney, RB, Fayetteville, Georgia.

Late additions: DaMarkus Lodge, WR, Cedar Hill, Texas. Van Jefferson, WR, Brentwood, Tennessee.

One that got away: Drew Richmond, OT. Ole Miss hoped the 6-foot-5, 320-pound Richmond would be their left tackle of the future, but he ended up going to Tennessee

Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!

Story copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Feedback, Corrections and Other Requests: AP welcomes feedback and comments from readers. Send an email to info@ap.org and it will be forwarded to the appropriate editor or reporter.


We also have more stories about:
(click the phrases to see a list)

Category:

Follow The Republic:

All content copyright ©2015 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved. Privacy policy.