Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ole Miss shocks SEC with its signing day bounty

Ole Miss muscled in on the powerhouses that usually dominate national signing day, landing several of the nation's most sought-after prospects Wednesday.

The Rebels, coming off a 7-6 season under first-year coach Hugh Freeze, signed three big names and built a well-rounded class.

"I do think (this class) has the possibility of being a program changer," Freeze said. "But it's all on paper right now."

The day started with defensive end Robert Nkemdiche from Loganville, Ga., rated the No. 1 recruit in the country by just about every recruiting service, deciding to join his brother, Denzel, in Oxford.

"I feel like it's the right place for me," said Nkemdiche (pronounced kim-dee-chee). "I feel like they can do special things and they're on the rise."

Nkemdiche made a nonbinding oral commitment to Clemson last year, then backed off and made his field LSU, Florida and Mississippi.

A couple of hours after Nkemdiche, Laremy Tunsil, a top-rated offensive tackle from Lake City, picked the Rebels over FSU and Georgia.

"Tunsil to Ole Miss I think was the biggest surprise of the whole (recruiting season)," said JC Shurburtt, national recruiting director for

Then touted defensive back Antonio Conner from Batesville, Miss., chose the Rebels over Alabama, and Laquon Treadwell from Crete, Ill., one of the top receivers, followed through on his commitment.

Mom won't sign son over to Arkansas

South Plantation's Alex Collins, a five-star running back who was previously committed to Miami and then abruptly changed to Arkansas on Monday, saw his mother exit his would-be signing ceremony Wednesday.

Andrea McDonald, a single parent, went to the school with Alex's brother, Johnny, and older sister, but after a private chat with Alex, she left without signing his papers.

A parent or legal guardian must sign a national letter of intent if the prospective athlete is under 21.

"She said she didn't want to sign," Johnny Collins, 20, told the Miami Herald. "She's having anxiety. I know she preferred him to go to UM."

Alabama at top: The Crimson Tide wrapped up a 25-player class that was rated a consensus No. 1, with 18 of the ESPN 300. Five-star defensive linemen A'Shawn Robinson and Jonathan Allen, who could play defensive end or outside linebacker, were among six players rated as a five-star prospect by at least one recruiting service. "I think we added fast-twitch pass-rushing athletic guys to the defensive line category as being a higher priority because of more spread offenses, more athletic quarterbacks," coach Nick Saban said.

Gone to Bruins: Asiantii Woulard, ESPN's top dual-threat quarterback who orally committed to USF then decommitted, signed with UCLA. Woulard, out of Winter Park, is expected to be the backup to Brett Hundley, who will be a sophomore.

Boston College: Former Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio, the new Eagles coach, will be joined by his son, Louie, who is transferring from Syracuse, and Matt Patchan, an offensive lineman transfer from UF who was an Armwood standout.

UCF-Penn St.: The Nittany Lions will host the Knights on Sept. 14 and make a visit to UCF in 2014 or 2015.

Ole Miss shocks SEC with its signing day bounty 02/06/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 10:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting


    UPDATE, 12:45: Cash said Robertson was taking better swings Friday and so he wanted to move him up today, liking the idea of having three straight right-handers vs. a LHP they don't know much about. ... Souza was still smiling this morning about his failed dive attempt last night, and the reaction it got. .. The …

  2. Why the Lightning would consider trading Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — This summer, the Lightning could trade one of its most dynamic young players ever.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) celebrates with his team on the bench after beating Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling (33) to score his second goal of the period and to tie the score at 4 to 4 during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (03/27/17).
  3. Why the Lightning should keep Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    Keep him.

    Jonathan Drouin is live bait. The Lightning is ready to run the hook through him and cast him out there again. Drouin has enough talent for the Lightning to meet some defensive needs in a deal.

    Keep him.

    Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin celebrates after beating Los Angeles Kings goalie Peter Budaj during the first period of Tuesday's win in Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  4. This Tampa Bay Lightning wing rides the newest wave of fan interaction

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There are photos of Lightning fan Shaun Egger as a toddler at center ice at the then-Thunderome, aka Tropicana Field. He's played in the Lightning's high school hockey league for Palm Harbor University. But his closest personal encounter with players had been waving through a crowd after a training camp …

    Tampa Bay Lightning player J.T. Brown wears his anti UV glasses as he talks over the headset with a hockey fan while they play against each other on line in an XBOX NHL video game in Brown's game room at his home in south Tampa. The fan chose to be the Washington Capitals and Brown, of course, was the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brown interacts with fans through video game systems as he streams the games live on Twitch with plans for the proceeds to go to charity.
  5. ‘Biggest fight' behind her, Petra Kvitova returns ahead of schedule


    PARIS — Five months after a home invader's knife sliced into her left hand, Petra Kvitova will return to competitive tennis at the French Open, a last-minute decision to make her comeback earlier than expected.

    Petra Kvitova adjusts her hair during a news conference at Roland Garros Stadium, where she will make her tennis return at the French Open. Kvitova's left hand was badly injured by a knife-wielding intruder in December; she has recovered ahead of schedule. [Associated Press]