First in a series …
Taking a look at the Rebels’ offensive line signees and why not begin the series with the elephant in the room – Drew Richmond.
Clearly the Ole Miss group would have been better had it included this elephant.
Richmond’s late withdrawal was a double-edged sword because it came too late for Hugh Freeze and his staff to pursue offensive line replacements, and they would like to have had at least one more in the class.
As it stands they signed three, an elite player and two who they hope will contribute in the future.
If you’re comparing Richmond and Petal’s Javon Patterson the Rebels got the guy they needed most, hands down.
There’s greater need for help on the OL interior, and Patterson, a 6-3, 313 guard, will be in position to contribute quickly – especially since he’s enrolled now and will go through spring drills and off-season conditioning. When August rolls around fatigue will not be a factor.
Alex Givens and Michael Howard are both tackles with big frames and swing span.
Ole Miss lists Givens at 6-6, 270. I heard The Ole Miss Spirit’s Yancy Porter tell the Quarterback Club Wednesday that Givens’ weight is up to 295.
Heights and weights during recruiting are always a moving target.
Howard is listed at 6-6 and lighter at 248.
They were not consensus four-stars, but both were listed as four-star prospects by at least one major recruiting service.
The key here is athleticism. If they have the footwork – and Freeze and staff believe they do – weight gain can come.
Laremy Tunsil will be a first-round draft pick not because he powers through a defensive line with brute strength. He doesn’t do that. If he did the Rebels could just line up and run that way every play.
Tunsil is special because of his footwork and athleticism, and that’s what give Givens and Howard potential.
When you add the weight, footwork and height you could really have something.
Speaking of powering through people on the left side, I noticed in Bleacher Report’s analysis of the Ole Miss class that they believe Patterson will team with Tunsil to make that happen.
There’s a chance for playing time at left guard. Aaron Morris started there last year as a junior, but he’ll be coming off ACL surgery for the second time.
Whether it’s to be a starter or a key part of the rotation there’s no doubt there will be a lot of “coaching up” going on for Patterson in the days ahead.