By PARRISH ALFORD / NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – An Ole Miss football recruiting class that gained momentum in the summer has has room for a few more big names.
With an open date Saturday, Ole Miss coaches were scattered among a number of high school games Friday night.
Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt said his team’s 1-2 start, which included a loss to Division I-AA Jacksonville State, did not have a negative impact on the class, and interest in the program has been strong since the Rebels have won their last two, scoring 97 points in the process.
“It’s always much more positive when you win, and especially when you win and they’re here,” said Nutt, noting a large group of recruits making official visits for last Saturday’s 42-35 win over Kentucky. “They’re around our players, and they feel that atmosphere. It’s been a very good response.”
Rivals currently rates the 19-commitment class No. 10, fourth in the SEC behind Alabama (No. 2), LSU (No. 4) and Florida (No. 9).
The recent surge in offense has been boosted by a running game that put up 636 yards against Fresno State and Kentucky – 425 of them in a 55-38 win over Fresno – and has shot up to No. 2 in the SEC in rushing offense.
The key component in that rushing game is junior tailback Brandon Bolden, and Nutt is trying to stock the 2011 class with skill position players. The class of non-binding verbal commitments currently contains one running back, three wide receivers and two players listed as “athletes,” which could project at several different positions.
Also, the Rebels are in the mix with a pair of four-star backs from Florida, Rivals.com reports, in Tre Mason of Boynton Beach and Andrew Buie of Jacksonville. Both are less than 200 pounds, and Auburn and West Virginia – in addition to other schools – are chief competitors for both.
Freshman running back Jeff Scott has been an integral part of the team’s rushing success the last two weeks, and the Rebels are redshirting another freshman, Nick Parker of South Panola.
Contact Parrish Alford at 678-1600