Rebels hit the recruiting trail running

Coaches Ron Dickerson Jr and Tony Hughes visited four key prospects Thursday on the MS Gulf Coast, while Coaches Dameron and Nutt also saw several key prospects. To see how the visits went, read below.

Newly hired, Ron Dickerson Jr, is no stranger to the Mississippi Gulf Coast as he recruiting the area during his stint at La Monroe. The lone holdover from the previous Ole Miss staff, Tony Hughes, was also responsible for the coast and recruited four key players in WR DeAndre Brown, WR/CB Alonzo Lawrence, DT Willie Packer, and LB Josh Chestang.

On Thursday morning, both Ole Miss coaches went and visited these four coast prospects and many more before taking off to Florida.

**First up is's #3 nationally rated WR, DeAndre Brown.

Before Coach Orgeron was dismissed, there were whispers that Ole Miss had taken a solid lead for DeAndre's services. Brown took in an unofficial visit for the LSU game, which marked his fourth trip to Oxford in as many months. Everything was pointing towards the Rebels in the 6' 6", 220 pound receiver's recruitment until the coaching change took place.

The coach who was recruiting DeAndre for Ole Miss, Tony Hughes, was thought to be left out of the Rebel's equation until Tuesday when Coach Nutt informed the assistant to pack his bags and get back on the road recruiting for the University of Mississippi. The first line of item was to sew things up with his key prospects, which DeAndre certainly fit in that category.

How important was it for DeAndre to have Coach Hughes back in the fold at Ole Miss?

"DeAndre was very happy about it," commented Brown's mother, Patricia. "He found out about it a couple of days ago. I believe on Tuesday. Coach Hughes called us to let us know that he was remaining at Ole Miss. There is that comfort level he had with Coach Hughes."

What is Patricia Brown's thoughts on Ole Miss?

"When I visited the Ole Miss area, it was so nice, clean and quaint feeling. Just the overall area is so nice. I would make that my home if I did not live in Ocean Springs. I would love to raise my kids there. It reminds me of Ocean Springs, that homey feeling. I know DeAndre is crazy about it up there."

When asked which school she had personally developed the closest relationship with, Mrs. Brown had one college in mind.

"Ole Miss has gotten to know me better than any other college. They just have a really nice surrounding area, and it gives you that homey feeling. It reminds us of being home. Their staff is really great too. "

The Rebels still have some more work to go with Brown as Patricia said she had not "researched Coach Nutt" yet and the Tigers are still very much in the picture.

**Another highly sought after Coast prospect, Alonzo Lawrence, had been eyeing Ole Miss more and more until the dismissal of Coach Orgeron.

"I guess the coach I was closest to was Coach Orgeron, but he is gone now," stated the always personable Alonzo Lawrence. "But I was big time close with Coach Orgeron. I have not really talked much with the other coaches. Coach Orgeron came to the school last year and we just hit it off. We talked to each other like brothers. I got to meet Coach Saban in his office, but it was not like Coach O. That was my boy, Coach Orgeron."

The news shook Lawrence up so much that he dropped Ole Miss from first to a tie with MSU in second. Alabama is now ahead of the pack.

"I will have to re-look at things again now that Coach Hughes is back. I just found out today that Coach Hughes was staying when he popped up at my school. I was surprised that he came back because they fired everybody else."

What does it mean for the Dandy Dozen selection to have Coach Tony Hughes remain at Ole Miss?

"It helps a lot because he already saw me play and can tell the new coaches about me. Coach Hughes recruited me hard. With him coming back, it helps them big time. I had not heard from the new coaches at Ole Miss until now, so I was starting to wonder. But now that Coach Hughes is back, it moves them back up."

What were Alonzo's thoughts on the Rebel's new assistant, Ron Dickerson Jr?

"He is pretty cool. He was straight up with me. He talked about Tig (Barksdale) and the championship game. He told me that Tig was going to be their next Darren McFadden and that me and DeAndre (Brown) could be the center pieces for the wide outs. He was mostly just telling me about how straight up their new head coach is. He said if you can play, you will get your chance to start as a freshman."

**The Rebels headed East to Moss Point next to secure commitments from DT Willie Packer and LB Josh Chestang. While Willie stated that while he was still solid with his verbal to Ole Miss, he was still 'thinking about Tennessee a little bit.'

What were Willie's thoughts on the school visit he received from the two Rebel assistants?

"Coaches Dickerson and Hughes came by the school today," added Willie Packer. "I was happy Coach Hughes came back. They told me about when they are coming back to see me."

"It was important they kept Coach Hughes because we had that connection."

"Coach Dickerson was cool. This visit made me feel more comfortable about Ole Miss. I am just happy they came to see me. "

And what about Tennessee?

"Tennessee came by my school also today. Coach Luke was just telling me how badly they needed me. He wants me to come up there in January, but the only visit I have set up so far is Ole Miss (1/25)."

Packer's teammate, Josh Chestang, was a little more secure with his commitment after Orgeron was dismissed, but the school visit from the Rebels made him feel more at ease.

"I felt more comfortable because I know Coach Hughes is coming back," added Chestang. "They did not get rid of him. I am very excited about that. Other than that, the RB coach told me about Coach Nutt and said he will get me to where I need to go, but that I am going to have to take care of my books while I am in college."

"I was nervous when I heard they got rid of the (old) coaches, but when they told me that Coach Hughes was going to be a Rebel, it made me feel better about the whole situation, a whole lot better."

**It is no secret that the Rebels are looking to add a center this season and one that they might happen to have an inside connection with is Ron Dickerson Jr's commitment from La Monroe, Keating Holmes.

"Coach Dickerson called me the other night and handed the phone over to Coach Nutt," stated the 6' 2", 290 pound center from MS Gulf CC that has started all 21 games during his tenure with the Bulldogs. "He invited me to come up this weekend for a visit, but I really do not think they are going to offer me. Coach Nutt wanted to know if I could come up there this weekend, but I am not sure yet if I am going to go or not."

When will the former Gulfport standout make a decision about visiting Ole Miss?

"In the next day or two I will see how I feel. But to be totally honest, I do not want to go back on my word and screw things up with ULM. I do not want to mess up what I have with ULM. If Ole Miss did not offer, and ULM pulled their offer, I would be left out in the cold. I can not afford to take that chance."

**In other news, newly hired Kim Dameron made a pit stop to South Panola to talk with the three commitments of Ole Miss in Bud Barksdale, Darius Barksdale, and Quinn Sanford. Also on mind to see were DT Terrance Pope and several more rising seniors that include QB David Renfroe, RB Reuben Corley, and David Conners.

"Coach Dameron came by Wednesday," added the always quotable Quinn Sanford. "He said he just got in town and we were the first school he saw. Coach (Dameron) said to go through South Panola, you have to go through Ole Miss and he was going to keep it that way. He came over and watched us practice that afternoon and said my feet were so good he was going to have to put me at running back. I told him, that's for my boy Tig. I just pave the way."

Unfortunately for Coach Dameron, Tig and Bud Barksdale were not at school to see the new Rebel assistant.

"They had to go to a funeral for someone that they are real close too. They are keeping their spirits up though. I think they are going to come out and dedicate this game and do big things. They got that look in their eye. I just wish I were healthy. The doctor told me that I did not need to play in the game due to my shoulder (separated) but there is nothing that could keep me out of this game. They could even cut off my right leg and I would just got out there on my left (leg) and get it done. Nothing is going to keep me out of this game, nor the MS/AL All-Star game."

**Coach Nutt made his first inhome visit a successful one on Wednesday when he went into the home of LB Marlon Walls. As we reported after the visit took place, Marlon reconfirmed his commitment to Ole Miss and things are looking on the up and up again.

"He told me that he was really looking forward to getting me on campus," added Marlon Walls. "I did not know that he wanted me that bad, but he called me like 5 times after he left. I was not there but he kept calling. Finally he got a hold of me and told me that he was going to build his defense around me. That made me feel special."

One other factor made Walls feel special.

"I was the first person he went and saw for an inhome visit. That pretty much told me all that I needed to know. The only question I really had was how important I was going to be to him. I did not expect him to be that excited about me. He is just a real down to earth cat."

**While we have not spoken to Charles Mitchell, we hear that Coach Dameron also had a very good visit with Mississippi's 2007 Gatorade Player of the Year.

Stay tuned as the Rebel Express could be coming to a house near you!

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