Julian Whitehead was sitting in his dorm room at Hargrave Military School minding his own business two weeks ago when the phone rang.
"It was a Sunday night and I got a call from Coach (Chris) Vaughn. Then I got a call a three-way call with (Hargrave) Coach (Robert) Prunty and (Ole Miss) Coach (Houston) Nutt," said Whitehead, a 5-10, 180-pounder. "They told me they wanted me at Ole Miss on Tuesday to enroll. My Dad, Coach Prunty and Coach Nutt had kind of arranged the whole thing. They mainly talked to my Dad.
"It happened real quickly. I came straight here and don't have much stuff with me. A lot of my stuff is at home in Atlanta, a lot of my clothes, my X-Box, important stuff."
Whitehead was sold on the potential for playing time.
"They told me they only had three corners on campus and if I came in and worked hard this spring, I could play some next fall and would be ahead of the other newcomers because I had gone through a spring," he explained.
Julian was a full qualifier out of high school, but he had some knee damage his senior season and wanted to get back in the game via the prep school experience.
"Hargrave taught me to get focused and be patient. It taught me hard work pays off," he explained. "I didn't get to play my senior year. I knew (Ole Miss signee) Jared Mitchell's brother, Lionel, who went to Hargrave and signed with Alabama. I saw what he was doing, and that it worked for him, but I really didn't think about that option until I got hurt.
"After I got hurt, I called Coach Prunty and told him my situation and he told me to come up there. It was a good decision."
Whitehead said he got a lot better from his season at Hargrave.
"The wide receivers up there were All-Americans in high school, the backs too. Covering them and tackling them taught me a lot. The talent around me was incredible. Everyone was so fast. You had to play fast or get left behind," he explained. "I came off the bench the first couple of games at Hargrave but I started the last four games.
"I had four interceptions in four starts. I also forced a fumble and had two long returns that almost went all the way. I had a good year."
Julian said his strength is his, well, strength.
"I bench over 300 pounds and I'm good at jamming wideouts at the line because of my strength, but I need to work on my top end speed. I'm very quick, but I'd like to get a little faster and you can always work on your footwork," he stated.
Whitehead has already gotten a dose of the Rebel wideouts in 7-on-7 drills this offseason.
"They are fast. They are also smart. They bait you into thinking they are running one route and then they run another," he said. "I played against a lot of fast guys at Hargrave, but you can tell these guys have played in the SEC because they are a combination of speed, quickness and knowing the little tricks to get open.
"They are also confident. They will throw the ball at you when they catch it and talk a lot. They are rough when they beat you, but it's all just competition. When we stop them, we give it back to them. I like that back-and-forth, it keeps you motivated and it's all in fun."
The Rebels are on at least two more Hargrave players as well – RB Enrique Davis and WR Andrew Harris.
"Enrique is big and fast. He's really big and strong. He's like hitting a horse," Julian stated. "Andrew is very quick and faster than you would think. His quickness and route running are exceptional and he's got wide shoulders so you know he's going to put on weight.
"I hope they join me and Jared down here. Everyone on the football team at Hargrave was together 24/7, so we are like brothers. It would be great to have them back here."
The Rebs are also recruiting CB Josh Pleasant, who started at the other corner with Whitehead, and S Rufus Wilson.
For now, however, Whitehead and Mitchell are the Hargrave "reps" at Ole Miss.
"We're happy to be here. We are going to work hard to help the team any way we can," he closed. "It's exciting."
Julian Whitehead –
OM Spirit Top Stories
Spirit's Take: Predicting Ole Miss - AuburnOle Miss hosts Auburn Saturday at 6:15 p.m. The Ole Miss Spirit staff gives their thoughts on the game ahead.
OM SpiritYesterday at 12:30 PM
Who's In the Running for LB Monty Rice?Monty Rice makes a lot of noise on the field with his play at linebacker, but off the field, he likes to stay quiet. The talented linebacker has cut his list of schools, so who…
Scout FootballYesterday at 5:55 AM
Does New Offer Change Things for Burley?Jeffery Burley has been committed to Wake Forest since July, but an offer from an SEC school this week has him re-thinking things. Get the latest on Burley here...
Scout FootballYesterday at 5:40 AM
Freeze Frames: Players Meeting and MoreOle Miss head coach Hugh Freeze met the media Wednesday to preview Auburn, as well as discuss the recent players-only meeting, the development of Charles Wiley and more.
OM SpiritWednesday at 4:21 PM
Inside the Matchup: Auburn vs Ole MissThe Tigers and Rebels square off from Oxford
Scout CFBWednesday at 1:15 PM