Ole Miss could lose its top three cornerbacks following the 2016 season.
The Rebels hope they’ve landed a player who could help fill the void.
Jones Community College cornerback Javien Hamilton announced for Ole Miss Saturday, becoming the 13th commitment for the recruiting class of 2017. Hamilton, who recently visited Ole Miss for the first time, chose the Rebels over Southern Miss.
“I sat down with (Ole Miss cornerbacks) coach (Jason) Jones on my unofficial visit,” he said. “We went over the depth chart to see who all was coming back. I felt like I can be one of the guys to help fill one of the open slots at corner next season. I feel like I made the best decision for me.”
Ole Miss opens its season Sept. 5 against Florida State with a pair of veteran cornerbacks, Ken Webster and Tony Bridges, set to anchor the Rebels’ defensive backfield. Webster, a junior, is a potential early-entry candidate into the NFL Draft, while Bridges and third cornerback Kailo Moore are seniors.
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Hamilton totaled 22 tackles as a freshman for Jones as a rotational player with a handful of starts last season. He’s on pace to finish his two-year degree in December with three years to play two.
“The campus was great,” he said of Ole Miss. “I can tell there’s a lot things to do around (Oxford). What really stood out to me was the academic setup at the FedEx complex. That, first and foremost, is what’s important to me, is I earn my degree. Everything they’ve got lined up with tutors and classes is exactly what I’m looking for.
“The football facilities are incredible. I went into the locker room, the team meeting room, the lounge and everything is nice. It’s one of a kind. I was kind of surprised. This is really the first visit I’ve gotten to see everything at a school. I was shocked at how everything is so different in north Mississippi compared to south Mississippi.”
Hamilton said the Rebel coaching staff was the primary factor in making a commitment. “I love how they coach, and I can tell they’re the coaches I need to get to the next level, which is my ultimate goal,” he said.
It also didn’t hurt that Hamilton has two cousins who attended Ole Miss, including former Rebel standout wide receiver Donte Moncrief, now a member of the Indianapolis Colts.
“It’s nice to have those guys to give me a behind-the-scenes look at Ole Miss, but I still had to go by my own instincts,” he said. “I had to go on my own first. I told them both I was thinking about going to Ole Miss, and they told me to do what’s best for me. That’s what I did.
“It feels like home at Ole Miss.”