By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
Ole Miss made a national splash on national signing day. Mississippi State fans weren’t complaining by day’s end, either.
Wednesday was the first day that incoming college freshmen could sign their national letters of intent and it started as the sun came up in the Central time zone.
Ole Miss got a signature from Robert Nkemdiche (Loganville, Ga.), the nation’s top overall recruit, shortly after 6:30 a.m. Three hours later, Mississippi State maintained its grip on Houston defensive end Chris Jones, the country’s second-ranked recruit, according to 247Sports.
Jones had flirted with Ole Miss over the past two weeks with official and unofficial visits to Oxford.
“Actually, Ole Miss was the first to recruit me two years ago at Nettleton. It wasn’t about who was first or how long it was,” Jones said. “I just felt like Mississippi State was the better program for me. Even though Ole Miss does have a wonderful program and I love coach (Hugh) Freeze to this day.”
The Rebels finished the day with the nation’s No. 5 recruiting class, according to ESPN. Mississippi State finished at No. 25.
Ole Miss signed three top players at their positions, Nkemdiche at defensive end, offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil (Lake City, Fla.) and wide receiver Laquon Treadwell (Crete, Ill.). Freeze also landed the No. 2 safety in South Panola’s Antonio Conner and No. 3 offensive tackle in Austin Golson (Prattville, Ala.).
Mississippi State signed both Daily Journal Players of the Year, Jones (defensive) and Itawamba Agricultural High School running back Ashton Shumpert (offensive). Shumpert was also Mississippi’s Gatorade Player of the Year.