Ole Miss commit Drew Donley never got to officially visit Ole Miss. But that didn't stop him from getting to Oxford on his own.
The 6-foot-2 track star wide receiver from Frisco, Tex. committed to Ole Miss last week. Two weeks before that, he came to campus with his father and high school quarterback for the first time. That trip pushed him over the top.
"It really felt like home. I had been praying about it and it really felt like (Ole Miss) is where I'm supposed to be," Donley said. "That's my dream school. It's close to home. It's in the south, warm weather, SEC. It has everything I wanted. Whenever coach (Derrick) Nix offered me, I knew I had to go see Ole Miss and then I had to commit."
The Donely's stayed in a hotel on the square and ate at a restaurant Drew couldn't remember the name of, but he joked that the food played a factor in the decision.
They couldn't take a real visit and actually meet the coaching staff due to COVID-19 regulations, but they walked around campus, peeking through windows of the Manning Center and the gates of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
For the three-star receiver with legitimate 4.3 speed, that super unofficial visit was the tipping point that caused him to commit. But in reality, the situation in the SEC and the strengths of the Lane Kiffin and Jeff Lebby offense was also a major factor.
"I want to be the best player I can and going to the SEC and playing against the best," Donley said. "If I want to go as far as I can in football, which has been my dream since a kid, playing against the best players I can is the only way to do it. I'll be practicing against the best players in the nation every day."
As of right now, Donley is one of three wide receivers committed to Ole Miss for the class of 2021, highlighted by four-star Bralon Brown out of Florida.
Clearly, high school pass catchers are liking what they're hearing about of this new-look Rebel offense. For Donley in particular, he knows exactly what his role will be when he steps on campus.
"I really like the offense that they run. They put receivers in the league and that offense really fits what I do," Donley said. "I know coach Kiffin likes to press the ball downfield. With my speed, I'll be able to open up the top and take the top off the defense."
To this point, Ole Miss has twelve players committed for the 2021 class that currently includes a handful of SI All-American Candidates. Donley's speed will make him a factor regardless of how the class shapes up.