Strengthening of Special Teams Clearly a Target in the 2021 Recruiting Class for Ole Miss

Nate Gabler

Ole Miss already had a six-star kicker committed to the Rebels in the 2021 recruiting class. They now also have a five-star punter.

Daniel Bethel, a five-star punter from Anderson County High School in Tennessee, committed to Ole Miss on Tuesday. He joins six-star kicker Caden Costa out of Louisiana as the second scholarship special teams player in the 2021 class for Ole Miss.

"I am proud to announce my commitment to play in the SEC, with my good friend Caden Costa, at Ole Miss," Bethel's statement read. "Thank you coach Gideon and coach Kiffin for the Opportunity. Hotty Toddy."

Bethel is the nation's No. 40 ranked kicker and No. 21 ranked punter according to Kohl's Kicking. He also had offers from Wester Virginia and others. It's expected that Bethel, at 6-foot-2 and 185-pounds, will be the punter in the class and Costa will kick. 

"He is an athletic lefty who's "A" ball is top 15 in the 2021 class," reads the Kohl's kicking profile of Bethel. "When Bethel is in a good rhythm he can beat anyone. His FG's have improved greatly since his last Kohl's event in January. Bethel is a very talented player who's leg strength gives him a lot of versatility. Bethel is one of the best players in his region in both kicking and punting!"

A big-legged kicker, he's shown the ability to punt for over 50 yards in game with a hang time of up to 4.8 seconds. 

Clearly, Lane Kiffin and Co. are putting an emphasis in the third phase of the game – special teams.

Ole Miss has been pretty consistent at punter the past few years. Mac Brown has been among the nation's best at the position for the past two seasons. 

However, the kicking game has been an issue. Current kicker Luke Logan has never hit a field goal from longer than 41 yards in his career, and has hit on only 13 of his last 22 kicks. 

Simply put, that's unacceptable for a kicker at the highest level in the SEC. Sure, Kiffin is going to want to go for a log of fourth downs. But at some point game script and situation forces you into kicking or punting. Moving forward, it seems like the Rebels are going to make a point at getting better in those departments. 

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