PARRISH ALFORD: Better class overall than 2013?




Almost flip a four-star LSU commit, flip a Mississippi State commit at the buzzer and make national news for sharing a signee with Utah.

Just your average signing day for Ole Miss, right?

The ratings say it’s not a top 10 Ole Miss class as the 2013 group was a year ago, but Rebels coach Hugh Freeze says it may be better than last year’s – which was top heavy with five-star recruits – from top to bottom.

In reality the true measure of a signing class doesn’t come on signing day. It might be two years later before you can look at group and begin to measure it by its production.

One of the buzzwords Freeze floated on Wednesday was speed. Another was depth.

That alone is a big change from 2013, when so many of the signees like Robert Nkemdiche, Laquon Treadwell, Laremy Tunsil and Tony Conner were needed to play right away.

There will be guys from this class who will contribute right away, but many who will provide quality behind the first team and may even redshirt.

Meridian safety C.J. Hampton is the prime example. He’s ranked the No. 2 player in Mississippi by both and, but he’s arriving at a position that returns its top three players and adds a potential game-changer in Southern Miss transfer Anthony Alford.

Speaking of transfers …

There are two more who could could contribute next season, defensive end Fadol Brown (a July transfer from Florida International) and offensive lineman Christian Morris (UCLA). The road for Morris is less clear. He needs a waiver from the NCAA and now must overcome an achilles injury sustained in a workout.

It’s possible he climbs both hills and gives the Rebels three impact transfers.

Loading up on line

Aside from depth the Rebels did well in need areas particularly on the offensive line.

Junior college transfer Fahn Cooper has a very good chance to be the starting right tackle.

High school signees Rod Taylor and Jordan Sims could see quick playing time.

If cornerbacks Tee Shepard and Kendarius Webster play early as expected it creates the possibility of moving around the versatile Mike Hilton, a rising junior. Shepard, the former MSU commit, has ground to cover at Hinds Community College.

Beefy and nimble Jeremy Liggins – a quarterback and defensive end in junior college – makes the team better, Freeze says. It’s just not known exactly where at this point.

The Class of 2014 didn’t create the national buzz of the Class of 2013, but it looks like a group that adds depth and quick impact at the same time.

Check back in a couple of years, and you’ll have a better read.

Parrish Alford ( covers Ole Miss for the Daily Journal. He blogs daily at

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