Orgeron recruiting press conference

Ole Miss Football Coach Ed Orgeron addressed about 30 members of the media concerning his first signing class that netted 28 signatures in the first day. Orgeron said the class had some holes, but that in the time frame he and his staff had to work with, he is pleased.

The following is a transcript of Football Coach Ed Orgeron's press conference folling his first Signing Day as the Rebel mentor.

Ed Orgeron's Opening Statement: This has been a great time - really fun to be able to go throughout the South and recruit for The University of Mississippi. It's been challenging and exciting. I'd like to thank my staff - I really believe they set the tempo in terms of the way we are going to work in the future in recruiting. We wanted to set the foundation on the way we are going to recruit in the future and we achieved that.

I was really excited about these two young men - our top two priorities. DT Jerrell Powe is the first one and OT Michael Oher is the other. I felt one my strengths would be to recruit great defensive linemen and Jerrell is the best I have seen in a long time and I'm really excited he's coming here. He has some qualifications issues to clear up, but once cleared up I think he will be one of the best. I asked Michael to be the rock and cornerstone of our class. He was one of the first young men I saw here and I believe he will be a first round draft choice in the NFL. He's really, really a great player.

I also love LB Quentin Taylor. We had to compete really hard at the end to get him from several schools. I think he will be a tremendous player for us.

Every player we signed brings something to our team that we need. I believe one of the strengths of our staff is our ability to evaluate talent. We went out and got the best kids we could for our football team. Obviously, we lost some kids we wanted, especially in Mississippi, but in the future we will correct whatever mistakes we may have made in the three weeks we had to recruit these guys.

We have five linebackers coming in and we feel we have a strong defensive line group - Jada Brown, Lamark Armour and Peria Jerry are all quality players who I think will be fantastic. We had to get two new kickers and we did that. We think Rob Park and Justin Sparks will come in and kick for us immediately if they do everything they are asked to do, which I am sure they will. I think our defensive backs are athletic - Gary Albury gives us speed at the corner and was a steal out of Florida. I think Michael Hicks can play any skill position for us on the field.

I think Coach Frank Wilson did a great job in Louisiana and Matt Lubick did a great job in Florida. Besides Quentin, he got Dustin Fortson, who had 18 QB sacks last year, and LeRon King, who led the state as a junior in QB sacks.

I'd also like to thank Matt Luke and Tom Luke for what they have done as members of the former staff. They did a great job of holdin things together in the transition. We did nowhere near as well as we wanted to in Mississippi, but it will take time to build relationships. We have already begun the process.

These players will be expected to come in and compete for playing time as freshmen. We brought in some quality athletes with good character. We did extensive evaluations and we are very pleased with who we have.

Q: Who does Quentin Taylor remind you of?

Orgeron: He reminds me of the linebackers we had at USC. Between 5-11 and 6-1 and can run. He's listed at 6-1, but Langston saw him on his tiptoes - he's more like 5-11. He's just the type of LB I'm used to at USC and Miami - that quality. He's an exciting football player and it came down to the wire between us, Florida, Alabama and Georgia Tech. I'm really excited about him.

Q: What about Peria Jerry?

Orgeron: I think he will be one of the top players in the class. He gets off the ball well, is really quick and he will be an excellent football player here.

Q: Did you see a difference in recruiting the South and West Coast?

Orgeron: It was similar, but more competitive. Putting the ball down here is a religion. Out West, you've got Hollywood and the beaches. Not as many people are as concerned about recruiting. Here, you walk into a truck stop and everyone wants to know who you are recruiting. There is more passion here, but that's good. I love it.

Q: Was the time frame tough?

Orgeron: It was what it was. That is what we had to work with. The championship game on TV helped us some - helped create excitement we could use as a jump start into homes.

Q: How was the reception from Mississippi high school coaches you met?

Orgeron: Awesome. I spoke at a clinic on the Coast with 800 coaches and a lot of them I knew. They have been great.

Q: Talk about Lamark Armour.

Orgeron: I watched film on him before he came in on a visit. When he got here, I liked his size and his demeanor all weekend. Then I watched his film again - he uses his hands well, he's a good athlete and he turns the corner well. And he was raised right - I am impressed with him.

Q: Is there anyone else you are waiting on?

Orgeron: We're not finished. A couple are still waiting to make up their minds and we will continue to work through spring on this class and the next class.

Q: Where were the shortcomings of this class?

Orgeron: We didn't sign a tight end, we were shot on the offensive line and we didn't sign a quarterback. We could have signed kids in those areas, but we didn't want to lower the bar just to sign someone in those positions. We are raising the bar and raising expectations. I wanted to take the best athletes available right now and not worry too much with numbers at certain positions.

Q: Has this been a crazy recruiting season?

Orgeron: No, it's been fun and challenging. The reception we got was very good. Everyone respects Ole Miss and respects our staff. We are connected pretty well in this area. Most of us are from th South - that helped some.

Q: Talk about Marshay Green.

Orgeron: He's a difference maker in terms of speed. He can score from anywhere and can make you miss. We have some big backs - we wanted a Reggie Bush kind of guy. Don't know if we got that, but that's what Marshay could be if he develops like we anticipate.

Q: Talk about BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

Orgeron: He was a big-time RB at Indiana who wanted to come back closer to home. He had about 1800 yards in two years at Indiana. He's put together well. He also a proven college football player. That is huge - we know what he can do. It's not about potential with him - it's about proven performance.

Q: What are the chances of getting Powe in and some others who need academic work?

Orgeron: We don't know that yet, but whatever we have to do it will be worth our time and effort.

Q: What dimension do the three wide receivers bring to the team?

Orgeron: J.D. Lawhorn is a possession guy who has a lot of character - he helped us recruit too. Burnell Wallace is a sprinter with great speed and was a top recruit a year ago. He's on campus right now. Milton Collins was also a big time receiver in high school and JUCO. I relied on Frank Wilson on these evaluations and I trust he made good ones. We went for the speed with Milton and Burnell.

Q: Go over your linebackers.

Orgeron: Dustin Fortson is a steal out of Miami. I would have recruited him to any school I've been at. He's really good. LeRon King can play LB or DE. We had a connection with his coach who I coached at Miami. Rogers Loche was already committed to us and I think he will be a good player for Ole Miss. Jabarre Mitchell can grow to a linebacker and he's exciting. I expect Robert Russell to play immediately along with Fortson and Taylor.

Q: How are Oher's grades?

Orgeron: I think he will be fine. We need depth on our team, so we can't afford a lot of casualties and we don't think we will have many.

Q: How about JUCO recruits?

Orgeron: We didn't have time to do much JUCO work, but in the future we will probably sign five or six JUCOs a year. The rest of the recruits will be high school kids - I like time to develop recruits. We took a few shots on kids this year and we believe they will pan out.

Q: Why more Louisiana than Mississippi?

Orgeron: We didn't intend it to be that way, but Frank Wilson did a great job in Louisiana and we missed some kids in Mississippi. We will find out why and fix that. But we will always recruit Mississippi, Louisiana, Memphis, Florida and the surrounding areas hard. Mississippi comes first though.

Q: Talk about Robert Russell more.

Orgeron: He's like a nosetackle playing Mike linebacker. Big hands, good hips, runs well, tough. I went to his home visit and he was working out. I went to watch him and they were working out in the swamps of Louisiana. I was really impressed with him watching him work out.

Q: What about what was reported about Chris Herring and Cory Mills leaving the team? You expect any more attrition?

Orgeron: I don't know who may not be back. I expect some attrition. Those who do not want to be in this program, I wish them well. The ones who stay will enjoy success. We have some academic issues on the team, we have some guys with one-year scholarships. There are several things to address here shortly. I'm not ready to give up on Herring yet, but we'll see.

Q: Are you going to do much greyshirting in the future? (Greyshirting - a player signs, but does not go on scholarship until second semester of their first year.)

Orgeron: We could, if that's the way it works out. You have to be a pretty strong program to do that, and we are not to that point yet, but we will get there.

Q: How hard will it be to get true freshmen OL ready to play?

Orgeron: With Coach George DeLeone on staff, it's not very hard. He's a great OL coach who can prepare kids in a hurry. I expect Michael Oher to play next year. You can't ask a lot of them to do that, but some can with Coach DeLeone coaching them.

Q: How open will positions be in spring training?

Orgeron: The depth chart is etched in sand. Every position is wide open.

Q: What about late signee Wallace Bates?

Orgeron: He signed with Oregon State last year, but had some academic issues and sat out. He can be a big-time linebacker.

Q: What about a new strength coach and linebacker coach?

Orgeron: I have an idea who I want as a strength coach, but he has to interview for the job and win it. That opens up Friday. It will take a couple of weeks. At the other position, I may hire a DB coach and move Shawn Slocum to LBs or may hire an LB coach. I want the best guy out there and will take my time. There is no big rush right now, so I can get the best guy available.

Q: How are the players responding to your offseason program demands?

Orgeron: They love it. They like the intensity. It's the way you practice - full speed. It's different for them, but they like it. Or at least they don't tell me otherwise.

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