Rebels await word on top two linemen

OleMissLogoBy Parrish Alford

Daily Journal

On the last weekend before signing day, Ole Miss is still hopeful of adding bulk and talent along the offensive and defensive lines.

Various reports have the Rebels close to commitments from one of Alabama’s top offensive linemen, and a Tennessee native and former Vanderbilt defensive line commit.

The Rebels hosted their largest group of official visitors a week ago, but have been trying to finalize things since then with Jordan Sims, a three-star guard from Birmingham’s Homewood High School and with Michael Sawyers, a four-star defensive tackle from Nashville, who is rated by Rivals as the No. 16 player nationally at his position and the No. 7 player overall in Tennessee.

Both players are considering Ole Miss, Sims so much as to tell AL.com on Friday that the Rebels were at the top of his list.

Sims also expressed strong interest in Auburn and told the website that he’d been told that Auburn coach Gus Malzahn was working to fit him into their plays.

As of Saturday there had been no public word of stronger ties between Sims and Auburn. If that holds true Sims, voted by the Alabama sports writers as the state’s top lineman in Class 5A, could become the Rebels’ fifth offensive line commit.

Sawyers is one of many Vanderbilt commits who pulled up the anchor after former coach James Franklin announced he was leaving for Penn State.

Sawyers visited Tennessee this weekend, and he remains in play for Vanderbilt also.

With the loss of three starters, including center Evan Swindall, offensive line is the bigger immediate need for Ole Miss.

The Rebels recently added a commit from Sean Rawlings, of Madison-Ridgeland Academy, a center and three-star prospect.

The class also includes Rod Taylor, a guard from Jackson Callaway, who is rated the No. 7 player nationally at his position and the No. 1 overall player in the state.

Two true freshmen played extensively for Ole Miss in 2013. It’s not clear how many will be called upon in 2014.

parrish.alford@journalinc.com