Seek and Find

Ole Miss remains in the conversation, if not atop the list, with some of the top wide receiver talent across the Southeast. Read about it inside.

Even before Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt announced the dismissal of sophomore wide receiver Pat Patterson from the football program for a "violation of team rules" Wednesday, finding reliable production from an already thin group of wide receivers was going to be difficult.

Ole Miss lost its leading receivers from last season, Shay Hodge and Dexter McCluster, to graduation, and has little experience behind veterans and current starters Markeith Summers and Lionel Breaux. Jesse Grandy, a special teams standout and promising sophomore, made only four receptions a year ago for 42 yards in 12 games.

By comparison, Patterson collected 12 receptions for 180 yards and a touchdown in his lone season as a Rebel. His best outing came against Southeastern Louisiana, when he hauled in four passes for 79 yards and a 29-yard scoring catch. He caught at least one pass in six games.

The silver-lining, however, is a crop of talented wide receivers targeted by Ole Miss in the 2011 recruiting class. In this class alone, Ole Miss plans to accept signatures from "five to six" wide receivers, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

Donte Moncrief, a 6-foot-3, 208-pound receiver out of Raleigh, has long considered Ole Miss one of his top schools. Moncrief holds offers from, among others, Ole Miss, Alabama, Mississippi State, Oklahoma and UCLA. He's rated a three-star prospect, according to Scout.com.

Donte Moncrief

"I think I can come in (to Ole Miss) as a freshman and make an impact," he said. "They most likely want to play me at wide receiver and put me on the outside and do a lot of inside routes and let me go get the ball on some deep routes. They want me to do a lot of the same stuff that Shay (Hodge) did."

Moncrief, who averaged over 20 yards a reception as a junior and had five interceptions as a safety, was disappointed to hear the news of Patterson's dismissal. But the opportunity for immediate playing time has made Ole Miss all the more appealing.

"It is a negative for me personally, because I wanted to play with Pat," he said. "I love how physical he plays, like myself. I see a lot of myself in Pat's game. But it's a positive, too, because now I can get even more playing time. I do hate it that he's not going to be there anymore, though. I really do."

Moncrief is one of a talented crop of Mississippi wide receivers, which also includes South Panola's Nickolas Brassell, a four-star recruit, Josh Pinkston of Forest and Tobias Singleton of Madison Central.

Brassell, one of the most highly sought-after recruits in the country, led South Panola to the 6A state championship game as a junior and finished with 62 catches for 1,272 yards and 16 touchdowns. His offers range from Ole Miss to Southern California and Alabama.

"I like how (Ole Miss') offense is," he said. "It's fun, like the wildcat (formation). We run the same offense. They got a good quarterback and everybody gets to touch the ball. And I've got a good relationship Coach Dickerson. Me and him are tight."

Nickolas Brassell

Tiger head coach Lance Pogue has seen many of his former players reach the college and professional level, including Jamarca Sanford and brothers Peria and John Jerry. Pogue said Brassell would have to be mentioned as "one of the best that have ever come through" South Panola.

"The thing about him is there are great players are all over the place, but this guy is an impact player in all phases of the game," he said. "He's got a chance to make a difference. That kind of puts him in a unique market."

Ole Miss remains in the conversation, if not atop the list, for all three, as well as Alabama standout T.J. Worthy. While the others were offered long before the summer, Worthy was extended a scholarship after the Rebels' elite camp in June.

Worthy, who stands 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, lists Ole Miss as his clear leader. He holds additional offers from Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisville and Southern Mississippi.

"Ole Miss is my No. 1 school," he said. "I mean, it's just a great, family atmosphere. I love all the coaches. Coach Dickerson is like a person I would look up to all the time. He seems like he'd be a good mentor to me. They make you work hard, but they like to have fun at the same time. But just like with Pat, you've got to do what you're going to do."

Worthy said there's a good chance he could commit to Ole Miss during or after senior camp on July 17.

Interestingly, the group of Ole Miss' wide receiver targets has built a strong rapport. They've acknowledged being friends in many published reports, and have even considered spending their college careers together in Oxford.

"We talk about recruiting all the time," Worthy said. "I talk to Donte every day, Nick, all of them. We all want to go play at the same school. We all want to play with each other."


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