By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Close to 30 prospects have been on campus since Friday evening for the biggest recruiting weekend for Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt.
That’s why Nutt wanted to put the final touches on this coaching staff shake-up during the week, and it appears he has done that.
The three new coaches – offensive coordinator David Lee, wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer and defensive backs coach Keith Burns – have all been on hand to meet the prospects. Many of them have already offered verbal commitments, but many have not. The three biggest names of the “have not” side are Philadelphia linebacker C.J. Johnson, Amanda Elzy cornerback Jermaine Whitehead and South Panola wide receiver Nick Brassell.
Highly sought South Florida running back Tre Mason (5-9, 180) is also on campus this weekend. He told the Palm Beach Post this week that his final three schools are Auburn, West Virginia and Ole Miss and that he plans to make a decision after his visits are complete. He has already visited Auburn and West Virginia.
Tupelo High School defensive tackle P.J. Jones had been scheduled to visit this weekend, but Jones told the Daily Journal on Friday that he had given a verbal commitment to Mississippi State and cancelled, at least for now, his visit to Ole Miss.
Jones met with Ole Miss defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix late last week but told the Journal he felt Ole Miss coaches had “rejected” him and said they wanted him to drop Arkansas from consideration, something that bothered him.
Ole Miss coaches like their position with Johnson, a long-time commitment to MSU, Whitehead and Brassell.
Three other defensive linemen are visiting this weekend. End Kameron Wood of Birmingham and tackle Woodrow Hamilton of Raleigh were committed when they arrived.
Fullerton (Calf.) Community College tackle Uriah Grant is one the staff is still pursuing.
If Grant signs, he’ll be the eight junior college transfer in the class. Five are already signed and will take part in spring drills, including defensive tackle Gilbert Pena.
With Jerrell Powe, whose return was iffy, and seniors Lawon Scott, Ted Laurent and LaMark Armour, the defensive line interior is something the staff has been working to rebuild.
Contact Parrish Alford at 678-1600