Grading the OM Defensive Tackle class

There are many variables that could make the 2009 DT class from elite status to below average compared to the rest of the SEC. To learn why, read below.

Grading Scale

A = Your position is ranked in the top three in the SEC
B = Your position is rated anywhere from 4-6 in the SEC
C = Your position is rated anywhere from 7-9 in the SEC.
D = Your position is rated 10 or 11th in the SEC.
F = Your position was last in the SEC


**It is interesting looking around the SEC at the other DT classes. Here is how the Rebels compared to other schools within the conference.

Alabama - One 4 Star and three 3 Stars
LSU - One 5 Star and two 4 Stars
Georgia - One 4 Star and 3 Star
Auburn - Two 4 Stars, one 3 Star, and one 2 Star
OM - Two 3 Stars and one 2 Star
MSU - One 4 Star
Arkansas - Three 2 Stars
Tennessee - Three 2 Stars
Florida - One 5 Star and one 4 Star
Kentucky - Two 3 Stars (juco) and one 2 Star
Vandy - Zero DT's signed

Why B-

Going off pure rankings, this would put Ole Miss in sixth place by my count.

Alabama looks to have pulled in the top DT class. LSU would come in second due to the quality of DT's they signed. Florida would come in third due to their qualify, but they were one short 4 star DT than LSU so that puts them at third. Auburn looks to have the fourth best DT class by numbers. Georgia would come in fifth, while Ole Miss looks to be in sixth. We would put Arkansas in seventh, and by the looks of the size of their DE's, you could see a couple of those highly rated DE's move down to DT. MSU would come in eight place, as they did only sign one DT but he was a 4 Star. Tennessee signed 3 DT's but they were all two stars. Kentucky signed two 3 star DT's but they were jucos, and Vandy comes in at the rear as they failed to sign a DT.

This gives Ole Miss a B- ranking on paper, but you have to look a little deeper than the surface to get a feel for the DT class. For one, Corey Gaines was rated a 2 Star, but judging by his film and accolades, he seems to be vastly under-rated by our service. Two, Mike Thomas could end up at offensive tackle, so that possibly negates one 3 Star. Thirdly, Eric Smiley might not qualify, which would negate another 3 Star DT.

But on the flip side of the coin, what if Bo Tillman is cleared in time for 2009? He is a 4 or 5 star material DT. And what if a Craig Drummond were eventually to move down to DT. Hey, when you are 17 years old and you already weigh 275 pounds. Well, you get the idea.

If you add those two pieces to the puzzle along with a Eric Smiley qualifying, then you could see this class leap frog to the top of the SEC. On the other hand, if Tillman and Smiley were not to qualify, and Drummond stays at DE and Mike Thomas moves to OT as expected, then this class goes to bottom third of the SEC.

The one(s) who got away:

2010 Outlook: We look for Ole Miss to start looking for the future as they will have Jerrell Powe, Lawon Scott, and Ted Laurent become seniors in 2010. Powe could regain a year of eligible back if he were to graduate in four years after he started playing, which is very realistic, but the pros will probably be in his cards before he gets to his fifth year at Ole Miss. Justin Smith and Justin Sanders are the only underclassmen DT's returning next season that are not incoming freshmen, and there is talk that Sanders could eventually move to OL.

You like to have 8 DT's on scholarship at all times, so going by this rule of thumb, look for Ole Miss to sign as many as one to four DT's in the upcoming class, depending on the scenarios we discussed above (who qualifies and switches positions) pans out.

Video from OM DT Signees

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