Role Reversal

Thomasville, Ga., linebacker Mario Mathis is firmly committed to Ole Miss.

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Yes, signing day is months away. But Mathis remains solid in the decision he made in May, committing to Hugh Freeze and staff after a few weeks of reflection following a weekend visit to Oxford.

Earlier this month, he returned to Ole Miss for its elite camp. And, again, Mathis reaffirmed his commitment. His sole focus currently is on rehabbing his injured knee. He's been "running full speed," and is nearing a full return to action.

"Ole Miss all the way. Nowhere else," he said. "I've just been keeping my head straight, training three days a week, getting ready. I'll probably be ready soon. I've been running pretty good."

The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Mathis, rated a three-star prospect by, has turned into a recruiter. He's keeping in contact with some uncommitted prospects in an effort to add to an Ole Miss commitment list that has already hit double digits.

Mario Mathis

"I'm putting my recruiting hat on," he said. "It's a great place. It was on my heart and was where I wanted to be. They said they wanted to start something new. I was ready to go. It was on my heart. It was where I wanted to go.

"I told one of my friends down in Tallahassee, Garrett Hudson, that he should come (to Ole Miss) ‘cause it's a great place.

"I've been trying to get in contact with Mark Dodson, but he's already committed. I know Shaq Wiggins. Me and him are pretty good friends."

Mathis had his reasons for commiting early. lists Mathis as the No. 83 outside linebacker in the country. The interest was there, sure, but Ole Miss felt right, especially his relationships with Freeze, running backs coach Derrick Nix and linebackers coach Tom Allen.

"Coaching staff and academics, especially Coach Freeze and Coach Nix. And Tom Allen, linebackers coach, he pretty much got me, hooked me on quick," Mathis said.

"And everything I saw in the team meeting room was true. They weren't hiding nothing. Everything's real about this program. It feels like home."

And as for his injury, well, Mathis feels confident he'll return to form sooner rather than later. He's feeling better, and he's eager to strap on the pads and hit someone. It's been a while.

"I'm pretty confident. I'm ready. I've been running. It's been a good five, six months since I hit somebody. I'm pretty much ready to hit somebody again. I can't wait," he said.

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