"Cooley has been doing really good so far," Ole Miss tight end coach Harris said. "From the standpoint of learning the routes from the 7-on-7's he did this summer. He's pretty familiar with that. Cooley has some really good hands and runs really good routes. His route running is beyond his years."
The addition of having more options than one tight end, as we have seen the past couple of seasons, is going to give Ole Miss more flexibility in their play calling. Especially with the addition of a 6-foot-4, 250-pound tight end like Cooley.
"I think from a standpoint, in the past if we went two tight ends, you pretty much knew one guy was going to be on the ball and one guy was going to spread out on the wings. But with Cooley's athletic ability you can have a 12 personnel and a 10 pitcher. A four wide pitcher, basically. That's what he brings to the table. He runs cuts and routes. Cooley has the ability to really get in and out of his cuts. I don't know how fast he is, but I tell you what, he can get in and out of his cuts as good as Evan Engram."
Gabe Angel was also a top 300 national recruit and a 4-Star in the 2016 class.
"Gabe, you can tell man, he's been here a semester. When we start out practice, he knows the system, knows how to line up and knows how to practice. He doesn't have any problems with learning our system. I think he is going to really help us down the road."
The riches didn't end there as the Rebels landed the No.202 overall player in the country in 4-Star TE Jacob Mathis.
"Jacob is a big boy. He is probably further along learning the system than (Octavious) Cooley but Octavious is a better route runner at this stage and has better hands at this stage. But I'm really pleased with all three. I think all three will play a significant part in our offense at some point during their careers here at Ole Miss. There's no doubt in my mind about that."
Ole Miss brings back the three freshmen tight ends for the 2017 season, but those are the only three slatted to be on scholarship, for now.
"I tell you what Dawson Knox is going to be a really good football player for us. He's had an awesome start to the fall camp for us. He knows the system and is a very smart kid. Believe it or not he is even stronger than Evan Engram. When he learns how to play underneath his pads and become a dominate blocker; he's going to be a force to be reckon with."
If Knox is put on scholarship will there be any room to add a tight end in the 2017 class?
"It really depends on the needs at other positions. You know I'm lobbying for one. It will just depend on how good the player is versus our needs at other positions."
If there is room to take a tight in for the '17 class; what is coach "Mo" looking for?
"The same kind of tight ends we have been recruiting. Guys that are athletic enough to be a slot and to be a number two receiver. Also a guy that is physical enough to mix it up with the defensive ends. We are looking for an Evan Engram type of kid but probably a little bit bigger from a weight standpoint. Those are the kind of men that suit our offense."
Yancy Porter is the recruiting analyst for the Ole Miss Spirit and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org