In the end, home won out for Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College cornerback Tony Bridges.
The four-star prospect, who has been committed to Auburn since February, flipped to Ole Miss on Friday. He’s the second addition for the Rebels in as many days, following four-star offensive lineman Javon Patterson.
“I’m a Mississippi boy and I grew up playing with most of those players on the Ole Miss team,” he said. “I just feel comfortable around the Ole Miss players and coaches.”
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Bridges, originally from Perkinston, Miss., held a number of offers ranging from Ole Miss and Auburn to Mississippi State, Florida State, Georgia, LSU and Missouri.
He was named first team MACJC All-State in Mississippi and first team NJCAA Region XXIII last week. He finished the season with 33 tackles, three interceptions (one of which he returned for a touchdown) and five pass breakups.
“I love watching the Ole Miss defense play,” he said. “They fly around to the ball and they trust their corners to leave them on an island to make plays. (Ole Miss cornerbacks) coach (Jason) Jones has shown me how he’s going to use me next fall, and I’m really excited about it.”
Ole Miss is 8-2 on the season and 4-2 in Southeastern Conference play. The Rebels travel to face Arkansas Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on CBS before closing their season against in-state rival Mississippi State for the annual Egg Bowl game.
“A big corner, Bridges plays the position like a free safety,” Scott Kennedy, director of scouting for Scout.com, said. “He excels at jamming his man at the line of scrimmage as well as shutting down the yards after the catch with his physical presence. He's acrobatic in the air and can elevate with bigger receivers and has good ball skills to maneuver his body around a player to high point a ball and break up the pass. Ideal corner in a jam-and-release scheme.”
Ole Miss is set to lose senior cornerback Senquez Golson following the season. Golson was recently named one of five finalists for the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which honors the national defensive player of the year in college football.
Golson has had a breakout senior year leading the No. 1 scoring defense in the nation. He tops the SEC and ranks second nationally with nine interceptions, which are the second-most in a season at Ole Miss.
“I plan on getting their in January and coming in and competing for the open spot with Senquez Golson leaving,” Bridges said. “But I’ll do anything they need. I just want to help Ole Miss and the state of Mississippi win a national championship.”
Bridges is the 15th commitment for the Rebels for the class of 2015.
“I really appreciate the way Auburn recruited me and for them giving me a chance,” he said. “They were great to me.”