Recruiting bonanza

If you think playing the number one team in America doesn't draw a crowd or influence recruiting, check out some of the star players coming to campus this weekend on unofficial and official visits. Some have already committed to Ole Miss, while others are still being courted hard by the Rebels.

The Ole Miss-LSU matchup Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, which will be televised nationally on CBS, is not only going to draw a huge crowd of fans, it is also peaking the interest of some of the area and nation's top recruits, who will be in attendance at the big game that will have national implications.

Over 100 prospects are expected on the Oxford campus. Some have already committed to the Rebel program. Some are still being wooed, and coveted, by Ole Miss Coach Ed Orgeron and his staff.

A lot of the names will be very familiar to anyone who follows Ole Miss football and Ole Miss football recruiting.

To call it a cavalcade of stars would be an understatement.

We'll hit the "highlights," and some of the top prospects visiting this weekend.

Ath
Daniel Thomas
Daniel Thomas - This 6-2, 230-pound pure athlete from Hilliard, FL, via Northwest Community College, has already committed to Ole Miss, but has taken a visit to Oklahoma and is also interested in Florida State. The Rebels like Thomas at just about any skill position on the field, but feel he's a natural at one of the safety slots. Scout.com rates him as a 3-star performer, but with his maturity and experience as a quarterback with the Rangers, Ole Miss believes he's one of the top skill prospects in the Southeast.








LB
Marlon Walls
Marlon Walls - Last Sunday, the 6-4, 215-pound linebakcer with 4.55 speed gave the Rebel coaches an early Signing Day gift by committing to Ole Miss over a host of schools hot in pursuit of his services. Walls, who has 111 tackles and 10 sacks for Olive Branch HS heading into the AAAAA playoffs, picked Ole Miss over Florida, UT, Auburn, Louisville and MSU, among others. He said his "heart" led him to Oxford. Marlon is a 3-star recruit who is ranked number 15 nationally among outside linebackers by Scout.com. Walls lived in Memphis and played at Wooddale high school until he transferred to the Mississippi power over the summer.






DE
Alonzo Horton
Alonzo Horton - The road to get to Ole Miss has been winding and long, but now it appears the 6-3, 260-pounder will end up in Rebel Land after committing to Ole Miss in late September. Horton, a New Orleans native, signed with Auburn out of high school and redshirted in 2005. After playing sparingly for the Tigers in 2006, he opted to transfer out last summer and hooked up with Northwest CC where he starred at OLB and DE. Horton developed a strong bond with Orgeron and RB Coach Frank Wilson during his recruitment the first time around and never forgot the value or depth of that relationship. Now, he'll be a Rebel. The 3-star recruit was the number 10 DE in the nation coming out of the high school ranks.





RB/DB
Tig Barksdale
Darius "Tig" Barksdale - South Panola HS Coach Lance Pogue is not shy when he declares Tig Barksdale "the best player in the state." Needless to say, when the Rebels got the cherished commitment from Darius back in the summer there was a major celebration in Oxford. The 6-0, 200-pounder has since led South Panola to another undefeated regular season wtih 1815 yards and 25 TDs rushing from the tailback slot. He has been named an Army All-American and is a 4-star prospect by Scout.com.








DB
Bud Barksdale
Bud Barksdale - Another South Panola stalwart, Bud, at 5-11, 203 pounds with 4.5 speed, also committed to the Rebels way back in June and has held firm ever since. The talented defensive back is being considered at safety and corner when his college career rolls around. The 3-star prospect made Second-Team All-State as a junior and is a shoe-in to make the first team this year.











RB
Ken Davis
Ken Davis - This 4-star performer from Tupelo committed to Ole Miss before his junior season. At 6-2, 215 pounds, he's one of the most talented running backs in the Southeast with a good combination of speed and power. His early commitment was lauded as "a real steal" for the Rebels. Alabama continues to plug away at Ken, but so far, Davis is holding firm with Ole Miss.










WR
DeAndre Brown
DeAndre Brown - The number one offensive target on many schools' list, DeAndre is the total package at wide receiver. 6-6.5, 222 pounds, 4.5 speed, 5-star player with Scout.com, number three WR prospect in the country. He is being recruited by "everyone" - Alabama, Florida, Auburn, Tennessee, LSU. You name a school, they want him. This weekend, Ole Miss gets another shot at showing him why he should choose Oxford, as Brown will be making his third trip to the University of Mississippi in as many months. If the Rebels could capture this Ocean Springs native the benefit to the program would be immeasurable.







LB
Patrick Trahan
Patrick Trahan - The impact DeAndre Brown would have on any school's offense would be matched by the impact of Trahan, a quicksilver LB, on any defense. Like Horton, Trahan signed with Auburn out of high school, but transferred out last summer to Northwest CC. The 6-3, 225-pounder with 4.4 speed - "reincarnation" of Patrick Willis? - had a 100-tackle year for the Rangers and is looking at Ole Miss and Auburn as his top two suitors. Trahan, also like Brown, is a rare 5-star recruit with Scout.com and would be a feather in any staff's hat. The impact he would have on the Rebel defense would be both instant and dynamic at LB.







DL
Andre Wadley
Andre Wadley - Last recruiting season, Hernando produced OL Bradley Sowell, now a RS frosh at Ole Miss. This year, the spotlight belongs to Wadley, a 6-3, 265-pound defensive end that is rated a 4 star recruit by our very own, Scout.com, is wanted by a host of schools. Besides Ole Miss, Auburn, Georgia, Mississippi State and Tennessee are all aching for his signature on Signing Day. Hopefully the Hernando native will follow Sowell's lead and head to Ole Miss.









CB
Alonzo Lawrence
Alonzo Lawrence - In today's modern football, pressure defenses can only thrive if lockdown corners are in the lineup. Many believe this George County product has those capabilities. At 6-0, 180 with 4.4 speed, Alonzo certainly has the physical gifts and they are being recognized by a bevy of schools, including Alabama, Auburn, LSU, MSU and USM, who are recruiting him heavily. Ole Miss covets Lawrence. With starting CB Nate Banks graduating, the Rebels have a need at corner, one Lawrence could fill nicely. Alonzo is also considered one of the top wide receiver prospects in the area - a very versatile athlete.








DB
Charles Mitchell
Charles Mitchell - Every year, it seems, Clarksdale has one or two dynamic players who are definite Division I prospects. This year, Mitchell falls in that category. In every writeup about Clarksdale HS games, Mitchell is highlighted. The 5-11, 187-pound RB with 4.5 speed is being sought after by Ole Miss along with Alabama, MSU and USM. Ole Miss would love his name on the dotted line in February. Another in a long line of outstanding Clarksdale players who could help make any college football program better as soon as he steps on campus.








WR
Horatio Williams
Horatio Williams - One of the fastest players in the South, Oxford's own Horatio Williams is a 6-2, 175-pound speedster who has been clocked in the 40 in the 4.3s. You can't be taught that kind of speed - it is a gift you are born with. Horatio committed to the Rebels last summer after an outstanding summer camp session and nobody has looked back since. Speed kills. Horatio has it.









LB
Josh Chestang
Josh Chestang - Through the years, not many schools in th Magnolia State have produced as many top-flight players as Moss Point. The tradition continues with Josh Chestang, a 5-10, 205-pound defensive back with 4.5 speed. Chestang is trying to decide between Ole Miss, LSU, MSU and Tennessee. To pull Josh out of Moss Point would be a boon to the Rebel recruiting efforts.










OL
Kermit Tyle

Kermit Tyler - The 6' 4", 325 pound Marrero (LA) native put on a show at the Ole Miss three camp this past summer and the Rebels sunk their claws into Tyler and a commitment was made shortly thereafter. This will be Tyler's third unofficial visit to Oxford since this summer. The soon to offensive guard preps at L.W. Higgens and is an honor roll student.










OL
Dallas Thomas

Dallas Thomas - The 6' 5", 270 pound offensive tackle could be the Rebels most single important non-committed offensive line prospect left on the board. Scout.com has the Scotlandville Magnet ranked as the #27 offensive tackle in the country. Right now, Thomas holds offers from all of his finalist which are LSU, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida State. Dallas' teammate, Brandon Bolden, is also a key running back recruit for Ole Miss and will also be in attendance.

 







And the list of this weekend's visitors does not stop there. It just gets bigger and more impressive.

East MS CC RB LaGarrette Blount, Baldwyn RB/CB Dominique Davenport (UM commitment), Jackson Central Merry LB Gavin Hardin (UM commitment), Whitehaven WR/S Marcus Rucker, South Panola OL Quinn Sanford (UM commitment), Cleveland HS QB/DB Derrick "Cierre" Herman (recent offer and commit), NWCC DB DeMareo Marr (UM commitment), DT Chris Davenport (rated Top 10 national recruit for the Jr class), Stone Mountain WR Charles Reeves, Baton Rouge RB Brandon Bolden, a pair of tall talented receivers at ICC in D.A. Griffin and Chris Wilson, and many more are also scheduled to visit this weekend at the LSU game. Their star status, ability and potential is vital to the growth of the Rebs' program.


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