By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – As National Signing Day arrives, Ole Miss appears poised to sign a Top 20 class, a ranking that could get a lift in a few hours.
Two primary targets have yet to announce, Amanda Elzy cornerback Jermaine Whitehead and South Panola wide receiver Nick Brassell.
Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt and his staff are believed to be in good position with both recruits, but both are considering border state rivals as well. Brassell has been pursued fervently by Alabama, Whitehead by Auburn.
News Tuesday that highly sought cornerback Marcus Roberson was no longer committed to Auburn was expected to make competition for Whitehead even more difficult.
The Ole Miss class is currently ranked No. 16 by Rivals.com, No. 21 by Scout.com, two websites noted by their recruiting coverage.
Whitehead and Brassell, both former Mississippi State verbal commits, are both rated four-star prospects.
Cream of the crop
The signature commit the Rebels hope to make official early today, also a former MSU commit, is Philadelphia linebacker C.J. Johnson.
A five-star prospect, Johnson is rated the No. 1 player in Mississippi, the No. 21 player in the nation and the No. 2 linebacker in the nation by Rivals.com.
Johnson and other defensive signees will be expected to compete for playing time early.
Getting faster on defense was a priority for Nutt who hopes to bolster a unit that allowed more than 400 points last season, a school record.
While emphasizing defense, the class isn’t short on offense, particularly at receiver and offensive line.
The class includes four-star receivers Donte Moncrief and Tobias Singleton – the latter who faces a Feb. 28 court date on domestic violence charges – and four-star offensive lineman Aaron Morris. All three are Mississippians.
Contact Parrish Alford at 678-1600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.