On the recruiting trail, though attracting elite talent like Arch Manning to campus, the tangible output has been a bit slower to digest.
It just took a more tangible hit within the senior class, too, as two in-state commitments are no longer on board with Lane Kiffin's program. Each, the first in the entirety of the 2022 cycle to defect after committing to the program, are now much more likely to sign elsewhere.
Both Lucedale (Miss.) George County wide receiver Marquez Dortch and Gautier (Miss.) offensive lineman Bryson Hurst announced their recruitment was back open on Sunday via social media.
Dortch, one of the state's fastest wide receivers, had been committed to the Rebels since January. Mississippi State has been pressing since before that point, offering a few days before Kiffin's staff did, and The Grove Report sources indicate a final decision is to be expected from Dortch very soon. Ole Miss fans are more likely to see him play against the program.
Hurst picked the program in late August over a late run from Florida, Florida State and others. The big lineman has a massive offer list, with national influence, so TGR is expecting his final decision to take more time than his fellow decommitment may.
The loss of each pledge re-emphasizes the greater need at both positions as far as the roster for 2022 and beyond is concerned. Trench talent and certainly wide receiver depth are key areas the program will have to address going into the offseason.
Ole Miss' class of 2022 is down to just 13 verbal commitments to date, tied with Florida and Auburn for the lowest amount of pledges to this point. It may not last long, but the rare late-in-the-cycle bad news has hit. Expect the Rebels to bounce back, and the transfer portal will again play a key factor, the rest of the way.
The Early Signing Period, where most Rebel targets will finalize their recruitment, opens on December 15. It is the first day high school prospects and junior college transfers can sign a National Letter of Intent.
Ole Miss was a top 25 program to kick off October, but it has not added a new commitment since.
UPDATE: Dortch has now committed to Mississippi State.
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