By John Davis, Oxford Citizen
A day after suffering a 39-point loss to TCU in the annual Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, the Ole Miss Rebels got 2015 off to a good start by landing the verbal pledge of a big in-state target.
Less than a month after leading Laurel to a 29-26 win over Oxford in the MHSAA Class 5A state championship game, the Rebels landed a pledge for the 2016 signing class from tight end Octavious Cooley.
The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Cooley impressed in the win, catching five passes for 68 yards. Cooley also caught a 2-point conversion following the Tornadoes’ final touchdown.
He finished the 2014 season with 41 catches for 994 yards and 10 touchdowns. Ole Miss offensive line coach Matt Luke and Derrick Nix were on the field at Mississippi State to watch the 5A title game.
Cooley, who is also being heavily recruited by Auburn and Mississippi State, knew the coaches were there to evaluate him, and said it inspired him to play well. Laurel coach Todd Breland said after the victory over the Chargers that Cooley always stepped up in the biggest games.
“The bigger the lights, the bigger he plays,” Breland said. “He feeds off of that. He’s a high energy player and it’s gotten him into trouble from time to time, but that’s what he is and we appreciate him for it. We feed off his energy as coaches.”
Cooley, along with Oxford wide receiver DK Metcalf, another verbal pledge for 2016, was named to MaxPreps.com All-American team as a junior recently.