By John Davis, Oxford Citizen
ESPN’s first Top 300 list for 2016 was unveiled Wednesday afternoon, and several Ole Miss commitments, or targets, made the initial cut.
A total of seven verbal pledges for the 2016 class are on the list, including Oxford wide receiver DK Metcalf, who is ranked No. 268. Metcalf, who weighed 205 pounds and was measured at almost 6-foot-4 at the Nike Combine in March, is currently running track for the Chargers, competing primarily in the 110 and 300 meter hurdles.
Wayne County defensive tackle Benito Jones is the highest rated Ole Miss commit on the list at No. 11 overall. Others that made the cut include North Panola running back Justin Connor (274), Alabama running back Denzel Mitchell (254), Laurel tight end Octavious Cooley (266), Georgia defensive end Charles Wiley (233) and of course Louisiana quarterback Shea Patterson, who was ranked No. 38 on the list.
Patterson is ranked as a four-star prospect by ESPN’s Tom Luginbill, and as the third-best overall quarterback in the class. Targets for Ole Miss that made the list, just to name a few, include Noxubee County defensive end Jeffrey Simmons, who is ranked No. 78, and Madison cornerback Nigel Knott, who plays at Germantown High and recently just raked in an offer from Florida State.
Simmons told me in an interview following Noxubee County’s win in the Class 4A title game last December that he liked Ole Miss, and Alabama. He also talked about Mississippi State. At the state powerlifting meet held a few weeks ago in Jackson, I took a picture of Simmons spotting Lafayette’s Eli Johnson, who is a verbal pledge for the Rebels in 2016, in squats. Simmons is every bit of 6-3 and very wide in the shoulder. It’s easy to believe he is the 250 pounds he is listed by the recruiting services.