The Rebels have not filled their allotment at the defensive tackle position in the past two classes. This has put a heavy emphasis of not only signing quality but quantity as well.
Numbers are always fluid but Ole Miss is looking to sign six defensive linemen in this class. They return six scholarship defensive tackles and six defensive ends in 2018. It's well balanced, but by the commitments rolling in, it looks like the three technique is getting most of the focus.
One of the top prospects in the Birmingham area this year is 6-foot-5, 320-pound defensive tackle Mackie McNeal. A talented defender, McNeal could wind up moving to the offensive line down the road.
The Alabaster (Ala.) Thompson High School star has a top five that consists of Ole Miss, MSU, Tennessee, Louisville and Auburn. All have offered outside of Auburn. The Rebels have already picked up two commitments from this surrounding area in Allen Love and K.D. Hill. The three have competed against one another through their high school ranks, and we hear Allen and K.D. have been working Mackie hard.
Why has Ole Miss made such a move in the state of Alabama after not being very active the past few years in the border state? Coach Freddie Roach is why. The former Alabama staff member is from Alabama and played for the Tide. He is very well liked in Alabama from the players to high school coaches to the administrators.
Sources tell me that there is no question that Mackie is leaning hard towards Ole Miss right now. It could be a matter of when, and not if, he pulls the trigger. The last question is just how many will the Rebels take at tackle. What about Jeffery Johnson and Fabien Lovett in Mississippi? There is certainly room for them.
Remember this, numbers are always fluid, and also remember McNeal could flip to the offensive side of the ball on the next level.
Yancy Porter is the recruiting analyst for the Ole Miss Spirit and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org