Daniel and the DL

The addition of Elijah Daniel to the Ole Miss recruiting class – and the continued anticipated addition of Robert Nkemdiche – creates a lot of excitement for the defensive line position that was really playing well at the end of the season.

Gilbert Pena continued his high level of play in the all-star game in Montgomery over the weekend. He should get a shot at the next level, a great story for good guy.

Nkemdiche on his visit to Florida apparently sent out the vibe that he wants to attend Ole Miss. That’s no surprise, but it seems like it would boost the class if he would go ahead and commit. Maybe that’s not the case as long the feeling among recruits is that Nkemdiche will attend Ole Miss. That might be what caused Ole Miss to fall out of favor with defensive end Carl Lawson, if the Atlanta-Journal Constitution report over the weekend is correct.

Whatever the case, DL coach Chris Kiffin did a great job with his group last year. The group got better as the season went along was a big part in the Rebels’ surging run defense numbers. Ole Miss finished the season 25th nationally, sixth in the SEC, in rushing defense giving up 129.31 yards a game.

Most in that group return, including Channing Ward, who Kiffin expects to really take off in spring drills.

In addition to Daniel, a four-star end from Avon, Ind., the Ole Miss class includes juco tackle Jarran Reed and tackle Herbert Moore of Memphis.

Ole Miss also signed coveted four-star tackle Lavon Hooks of Northeast CC during the mid-term signing period.

The defense stands to improve all over the field, but it should continue to be talented at deep up front.

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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