Starkville, Miss., product said the Rebels recruited him the hardest

Ole Miss pulled off a signing day surprise Wednesday, landing four-star wide receiver A.J. Brown.

Well, the decision was a surprise to most everyone but Brown.

Brown said he pretty much knew Ole Miss was where he wanted to be weeks ago. However, an official visit to the school last weekend (the final official visit weekend of the recruiting season) pushed the Rebels to the finish line.

“I already knew before I went to Ole Miss,” he said. “The visit just increased my feeling with those guys. Just the relationships I built with the coaches, talking to them numerous times. I just felt wanted.”

Brown, the No. 45 player in the country according to and the No. 5 wide receiver, chose the Rebels over Alabama and the hometown Mississippi State Bulldogs.

“It was real tough,” the Starkville (Miss.) High School product said. “I just knew from kind of the middle of the recruiting process where I wanted to go, but I wasn’t sure. With me living in Starkville, it was going to be hard making the decision. Me leaving Mississippi State and going to the rival, that’s big. That’s huge. But I just had to trust my heart and believe in God that He was going to lead me in the right direction.”

Brown led Starkville to a Class 6A state championship, finishing his senior season with 83 catches for 1,371 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was named an Under Armour All-American.

He joins an Ole Miss offense that broke or tied 64 team and individual records last season, including most total yards, points, touchdowns and passing yards in a season. Quarterback Chad Kelly broke and wide receiver Laquon Treadwell set 32 records combined.

Treadwell opted to forgo his junior season and enter the NFL Draft. He’s a projected top-10 pick.

“I’m really excited to get in with Chad Kelly,” Brown said. “That’s my guy. We’ve got to try to make something happen this year.

“Every single time I went I loved the environment. I just could picture myself on the field playing in front of those fans. I guess home is where you make it, and that’s where I made my home.”

Brown is the third four-star-or-better wide receiver to sign with the Rebels, joining D.K. Metcalf and Tre Nixon. Ole Miss currently boasts the No. 5 recruiting class in the country.

Brown said Ole Miss recruited him the hardest.

“I feel like they didn't do a good job of recruiting me,” he said of Mississippi State. “I didn't feel wanted, to be honest. That's a whole ‘nother story.

“I felt like other schools wanted me more. I mean, I live in Starkville. I would expect Mississippi State would be hard every day here. I'd be tired of seeing them, but it wasn't like that.”

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