Eye-opening Visit

Peoria, Ill., offensive lineman Josh Augusta had never tripped to a SEC school before. He left his official visit to Ole Miss knowing what the toughest conference in the country is all about.

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"The atmosphere at Ole Miss stood out the most to me," Augusta said. "They love their football players in that community. Everyone already knows your name. People you've never met. Everybody just comes up to you and welcomes you. I went through their Walk of Champions and loved it. I had never seen anything like that. They live and breathe football at Ole Miss"

The four-star defensive lineman brought his mother with him on the trip.

"She loved it too. She liked their academics a lot. She quizzed them about everything about their business school and she got some great answers. Mom was really impressed with their business program. That's what I want to major in. She loved the overall atmosphere like I did."

Things began to heat up between the Rebels and Augusta in the past month.

"They started writing and calling all of the time at the end of my season. Coach (Chris) Kiffin said he wanted me to play defensive tackle for him. He likes how athletic I am and my get-off. I'm new at a lot of techniques inside because I played defensive end until this season, but he said I was a natural big-time defensive tackle that can make money doing it one day."

The 6' 4", 275-pound Augusta had a couple of things on his mind before he came on the trip to Ole Miss.

"I wanted to see how much talent they had on the team and do they get along with one another and their coaches. I also wanted to see how good of a business school they had. I got a chance to hang out with some of their players and I asked them a bunch of questions. I hung out with D.T. Shackelford for the most part and he told me that they love their football players at Ole Miss. He told me I was going to have to come in and work hard but it's like a big family there. They all get along and the coaches treat you like family. I got a tour of the business school while I was there, and they're about to expand it even more. It was really nice."

The Rebels defeated their in-state rival, Mississippi State, Saturday night. Augusta was impressed with their defensive line play but sees a ninth he could help.

"I looked at the whole defensive line, basically. I think they're pretty good. They didn't get a lot of pass rush on the quarterback. They need some help with that but other than that they're strong. I think I can come in there and work hard and pursue to the ball-carrier. I like how they pursue to the ball-carrier. They swarm around, and I like that style. They never give up."

Augusta met with Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and his position coach, Kiffin, before going back home Sunday.

"Me and my mother went over to coach Freeze's house for breakfast. Coach Kiffin was there too. They just asked me to be straight with them and for me to tell them how we liked it at Ole Miss. I told them I really liked it on my visit and they were now in my top three."

With what other schools?

"Missouri and Michigan State."

What stands out about Missouri?

"I like their academics and their coaches a lot. I'm going to set up my official visit with them soon."

And Michigan State?

"I like their coaches. Coach Sharp is a real cool guy. I got a chance to visit their campus one time. I went over there for a practice so I didn't get to meet any of their players but their coaches are real cool. I want to get to know their players when I take my official over there."

Where else will Augusta trip?

"I'm going to Illinois on January 18th. That's it. I think that'll be it for me."

Which position is each school recruiting Augusta for?

"They all pretty much like me at defensive tackle. I can play defensive end too, but I liked it a lot at tackle this year. I think I'm equally good at both positions. It doesn't matter to me where I play. I just want to be out on the field."

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to watch Josh in action.

Yancy Porter is the Mississippi Scout for Scout.com and he can be reached at yporter@scout.com

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