Nations top linebacker feels needed in Oxford

The nations top linebacker, Mique Juarez, made the trek to Oxford, Miss., this weekend for his official visit. How did the trip go? "It was a great experience in Oxford," Juarez said while driving to the airport from his visit. "It really is just like a big family. I loved it. I got to meet all of the players and a ton of their recruits. Shea Patterson showed me and Rashan Gary around all weekend. He pretty much showed us everything." Before

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"It was a great experience in Oxford," Juarez said while driving to the airport from his visit. "It really is just like a big family. I loved it. I got to meet all of the players and a ton of their recruits. Shea Patterson showed me and Rashan Gary around all weekend. He pretty much showed us everything."

Before he made the trip to Ole Miss he had one main question in mind.

"I wanted to see what it would be like to go to school there. I liked everything about it at Ole Miss. I didn't expect it to be like that. The people their just make the whole place. The town is awesome. Everyone is really like a big family. Everybody knows everyone, and they make you feel so welcomed. In California it's different. The people go about their own business here. At Ole Miss they want to get to know you. Their people are just so nice down there. I figured their campus would be really nice. I had heard a lot about it, but it was different. I love the architect of their buildings. They use a lot of brick and columns. You don't see a lot of that in California. I just loved their campus, town, people, everything."

Colleges from coast-to-coast are flooding Mique's phone with calls since he opened his recruitment back up recently. The Rebels began that process long before he decommitted.

"Ole Miss has been in the picture for a long time. They never backed off when I committed to USC. They kept telling me how important I am to their program and never stayed out of the picture. I actually told them I was going to take an official visit to them a couple months before I decommitted. I just lik how persistent they are with me. A lot of the schools quit contacting me when I committed (to USC) but they stuck with me. They make me feel not only wanted but needed."

Ole Miss graduates their top two middle linebackers this season. That has opened his eyes as well.


"A lot of people say it's helpful to take a redshirt your freshman season, but I want to play. I know nothing is going to be given to me if I go to Ole Miss. I'll have to earn my stripes. I will not be the only middle linebacker on their team. I'll have to earn it, but I know at the same time it's a great opportunity for me if I go there."

The game day atmosphere was something new to him as well.

"The game was awesome, first of all. I love how their defense flies around and plays with a lot of emotion. But what stood out to me were their fans. There was not an open seat in the stadium. I've never been to a packed game. You go to games out here at places like UCLA and Southern Cal and it's never packed. It's different in the South. They get into the games way more than they do out here. It was a great experience. The tail gaiting at their Grove was amazing too. I've never seen that many people tail gaiting. I've never seen anything like it. They love their football down there."

The passion for football in the South brings a little extra motivation to the field.

"When you have fans like Ole Miss' it can't but help you raise your game. It's so loud in their stadium. They scream the whole game. As a player that gives you the extra energy to bring it every play. It's so intense at their games. It was just a great experience. I would love to play in that type of environment."

The food that was served over the weekend was another highlight of the trip.

"Definitely. Man, I love southern food. I tried fried pickles for the first time. That's some good stuff. Their steaks are even different. They are bigger and juicier and just taste a lot better. I couldn't quit eating while I was down there."

The 6-foot-2, 227-pound linebacker is set to graduate in January. He'll take in a few more visits before deciding. The Rebels look to be a serious candidate when it does come decision time.

"Ole Miss is very high on my list right now. I'm definitely keeping them in the picture, but I'm going to take my visits first before I decide. I can see myself there. The big thing for me is being at a place that is safe. I felt very safe in their environment. I'm going to bring my parents down there on my next visit. They didn't get to go with me this time, but they want to see it up close. I can't wait to tell them about my experience when I get home. I know they are going to be excited to get down there and experience everything I got to experience."

What's next on the visit schedule?

"This weekend I'm going to Oklahoma State to see them play Oklahoma. They are losing a lot of linebackers too. That's the only visit I have scheduled for now, but I'll go on some more. I'll probably visit Ohio State too. I might go to USC and UCLA. I'll go to one of those two. It just depends if I have any officials left. If I don't I'll go over there unofficially. I plan on coming back to Ole Miss too."

Which college needs Mique the most?

"Honestly right now I would have to say Ole Miss or UCLA. Oklahoma State is losing some too, but I know Ole Miss and UCLA are losing their main guys."


Yancy Porter is the recruiting analyst for the Ole Miss Spirit and he can be reached at yporter@scout.com




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