However, in the eyes of the 6-foot-4, 275-pound Emerson, the Rebels are here to stay. It’s why he has them among his favorites, joining, among others, Alabama and Tennessee.
“Even with them being in trouble and all, I don’t think it will hold their program back ‘cause they push their kids to the limit, even in the lowest times,” he said. “It is what it is at the end of the day. There’s nothing they can do about it. You’ve got to move on and brush it off your shoulders.”
Emerson visited Ole Miss for its junior day on Saturday. He said the goal of the visit was to familiarize himself with new Rebel defensive line coach Freddie Roach, who replaced Tray Scott earlier this month. Scott left Ole Miss for the same position at Georgia after just over a month on the job.
“Get to spend some quality time with the new d-line coach, being that they have one who originally came, but he left for Georgia,” Emerson said. “Me and him sort of had a good relationship, but I plan on making a better relationship with this new defensive line coach. This will be my first time meeting him.”
Emerson is rated the No. 67 prospect overall by Scout.com and the No. 9 defensive end. The Jackson, Tenn., product holds some 20 offers, including the aforementioned schools, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, South Carolina, Southern Cal, Ohio State, etc.
“Alabama, to me what stands out the most is how much their community is involved with football,” he said. “On game days, it’s crazy up there. We couldn’t even get a room. We had to get a room like 30 miles away. It’s pretty interesting. It’s tradition. You can’t pass up that.
“Tennessee, that’s the home state. Everything’s really stood out to me about Tennessee — the coaches, and them having the d-line transition. I plan on making a better relationship with him, too. The one time that I did go up (to Ohio State) it was good. It was my second experience going up north, being that I went to Michigan State. What can you expect out of an up-north team? It was cold.”
Emerson, who will participate in the Under Armour All-American Game, said he’s planning to visit Tennessee next month. Other than that, his plans are up in the air, though he’s sure to stop by as many camps as he can.
Ole Miss was simply one of the first.
“Just how they’re determined to come get you,” Emerson said of what he likes about Ole Miss. “When they recruit, they’ll go the extra mile to come and recruit you, even if you’re in Hawaii. They’ve been recruiting me since the end of my sophomore year.”
Emerson hasn’t set a decision date, though he’ll narrow his schools to six on his birthday, March 6.