By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Signing Day will start early for Ole Miss today – and most believe it’ll start in a good way, though that remains to be seen.
Loganville, Ga., defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, the nation’s No. 1 recruit, has long been considered an Ole Miss lean, but as recently as last weekend visited LSU, where he had dinner with former basketball star Shaquille O’Neal.
Nkemdiche, who’s brother Denzel Nkemdiche was one of the Rebels’ best defensive players in 2012, was set to announce at 6:30 a.m. on ESPNU.
That could get the ball rolling on a day for the record books for Ole Miss in its second recruiting class under coach Hugh Freeze.
The drama surrounding Houston five-star defensive end Chris Jones will finally end with his scheduled announcement at 9 a.m.
Jones, a long-time MSU verbal commit, will choose between Ole Miss and MSU.
About the same time Ole Miss should hear from Batesville, a local community that has been good to the Rebels through the years, whether four-star safety Antonio Conner will choose Ole Miss or Alabama.
The Rebels have a firm commitment from Laquon Treadwell, of Crete, Ill., the nation’s top wide receiver prospect.
Many recruiting analysts believe they will also sign the top offensive line prospect in Laremy Tunsil, of Lake City, Fla.
lost and found
While Ole Miss has become a national recruiting success story, there have been some departures from the class in running back Peyton Barber and defensive tackle Jarran Reed of East Mississippi Community College.
Both are rated three-star prospects.
The Rebels were able to quickly fill Barber’s vacancy with a commitment from four-star running back Jordan Wilkins.
In a class with four running back commits – including early enrollee Mark Dodson of Memphis – only Barber was a bigger, power back.
Wilkins, though, brings a similar skill set at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds.
Until now schools have been able to receive only non-binding verbal commitments. Today is the first day that prospects can sign binding letters of intent with NCAA-member institutions.