With college football's 2021 season officially underway, rumors are beginning to fly regarding visits and commitments for the 2022 class and beyond.
Under second-year head coach Lane Kiffin, the Rebels recruiting momentum is hitting full force, and as a result, recruits who were once thought to be unattainable, are now beginning to take a hard look at the makings of what Kiffin is building in Oxford.
Stick with The Grove Report for all of the latest updates in recruiting below:
OCTOBER 19, 12:45 PM UPDATE:
It is no secret that Ole Miss is about to receive its most anticipated visit of the year this weekend when top 2023 QB Arch Manning makes his way to Oxford for the Rebels matchup vs. LSU on Saturday.
However, per a report from SI All-American, Manning is not the only elite 2023 prospect that will be heading to campus this weekend, with DeSoto (TX) wideout Johntay Cook also set to make the trip.
"I was gonna go to Ole Miss on the 23rd (of October)," Cook said in the interview. "I was gonna go to Texas A&M vs. Auburn on November 6. I was gonna try to catch a night game at LSU."
Cook just recently released his top 12 finalists, consisting of Texas, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Oregon, LSU, Penn State, Notre Dame, Florida, Alabama, and USC.
OCTOBER 18, 1:00 PM UPDATE:
One of Ole Miss' top recruiting targets will come off the board in 10 days time.
Inglewood (Calif.) High School quarterback Justyn Martin will make the call between Ole Miss, UCLA and Michigan on October 28, he told SI All-American.
The No. 10 passer in the class of 2022 was in Oxford for its win over Tulane and had strong reviews of the official visit after meeting with Lane Kiffin and Jeff Lebby. UCLA got him on campus soon after and Martin will return to Los Angeles for his official visit there this weekend.
The other contender, Michigan, could not get a visit out of the California prep star, so it appears the Wolverines are on the outside looking in for the former Cal Bear pledge.
Ole Miss is recruiting Martin and current USC verbal commitment Devin Brown as its primary quarterback options in the class of 2022. Kiffin, Lebby and company have yet to reel in a player at the position in the class.
OCTOBER 15, 11:00 AM UPDATE:
One of the nation's top junior tight ends was in town for the Ole Miss and Arkansas thriller over the weekend. If you had ESPN on the television Thursday night, you saw him in action and in the end zone.
Ethan Davis, a class of 2023 recruit from Suwanee (Ga.) Collins Hill High School, has offers to play both football and basketball at Ole Miss. He helped the Eagles dominate North Gwinnett 35-7 on Thursday night, hauling in six passes for 108 yards and one touchdown.
The two-sport star showcases the type of skill set college coacges covet. Looking back at the unofficial visit Saturday, he couldn't isolate one highlight moment while in town.
"Honestly, everything, there wasn’t a dull moment I was there," Davis said. "From chilling in the office with Coach (John David) Baker to watching the last play of the game, man, it was crazy.
"I was cheering like I was an Ole Miss fan. On that last play when they didn’t convert the 2-point conversion, the whole stadium was shaking."
Davis is extremely coveted at 6'5", 210 pounds, with more than a dozen scholarship offers to his name. He broke out in the spring when committing more time to football as a flex tight end and sees a fit in Lane Kiffin's scheme.
"They feel they can get me to the next level," he said of the Rebel pitch. "And that's the main goal at the end of the day."
Davis will actually see the Rebels in action again on Saturday, attending as a Tennessee recruit in Knoxville.
OCTOBER 14, 7:35 PM UPDATE:
The Ole Miss Rebels have landed an official visit from one of the fastest rising prospects in the 2022 class, Creekside (St. Augustine, FL) offensive tackle, Matthew McCoy.
McCoy has been one of the hottest names on the recruiting trail over the last few weeks, landing offers from Ole Miss, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, TCU, Mississippi State, Louisville, and Maryland all in the last month.
OCTOBER 12, 6:00 PM UPDATE:
The state of Mississippi's best will soon be back in Oxford.
Khamauri Rogers, SI99 cornerback recruit from Lexington (Miss.) Holmes County and the highest-ranked nationally from the Magnolia State told SI All-American he will take an official visit to Ole Miss when the Rebels host LSU the weekend of October 23.
The Miami verbal commitment remains on board with the Hurricanes but has developed a longstanding relationship with Rebel defensive backs coach Terrell Buckley, along with communication with head coach Lane Kiffin of late.
"Coach Buckley has been recruiting me since I was in ninth grade, when he was at Mississippi State," Rogers said. "I just know he's a good coach, he produces a lot of good players and puts DBs in the league."
Mississippi State and Tennessee also remain in pursuit of Rogers, who had surgery for a torn ACL in September, despite his commitment status. He will be in Starkville for the MSU showdown against Alabama this weekend.
A one-time LSU commitment, Rogers ranks as the No. 6 cornerback recruit and No. 43 overall recruit in the class of 2022 on SI All-American. He grew up favoring Ole Miss over rival MSU, too.
An official visit to Tennessee is likely this fall, too. Rogers plans on signing during the Early Signing Period window, opening up on December 15.
OCTOBER 8, 9:40 AM UPDATE:
Ole Miss has a big recruiting weekend on deck for the bounce-back type affair with Arkansas and the list of prospects expected grows by the day.
Plenty of offensive talent, even quarterbacks through multiple classes, will be in Oxford but the defensive side has priorities on the way as well.
Jaron Willis, ranked as an SI99 prospect at off-ball linebacker, told SI All-American he will make an official visit to Oxford this weekend. The Leesburg (Ga.) Lee County star has been committed to Georgia Tech since May, but admits Ole Miss, Florida and Florida State continue to pursue him.
There are several connections to the current Ole Miss roster relative to Lee County High School, too. It starts with arguably the top player on the Rebel defense, Otis Reese.
"Yeah I actually play his position when he was at Lee," Willis said. "And Mark Robinson (Ole Miss senior linebacker) is my cousin, so he give me a big impact to see two guys I'm close with have the success that I'm having."
The Peach State linebacker has of course kept an eye on DJ Durkin's side of the football in 2021, too.
"Come on now it’s the defense," Willis said. "Really been impressive, even though OM lost to Alabama, but I don’t count 'Bama. 'Bama gonna be 'Bama if you know what I mean."
OCTOBER 7, 11:45 AM UPDATE:
A big surprise went down in the college football recruiting world Thursday morning as Mario Eugenio opened his recruitment back up.
The Tampa (Fla.) Gaither pass rusher, ranked among the nation's top prospects as a member of the SI99 for the class of 2022, had been committed to Michigan since the summer months. Eugenio was even a strong recruiter for the Wolverines, until now.
The Floridian had a bevy of scholarship offers, reporting 30-plus prior to making the move to pick the Wolverines and took a pair of official visits in June, seeing the Iowa State Cyclones as well as UM. Matt Campbell's program will be in the hunt moving forward, but they won't be alone.
A source Thursday morning said Ole Miss is one of the programs to make contact with Eugenio's camp following the public decommitment from Michigan.
"My recruitment is 100% open," Eugenio said Thursday via social media.
Oregon, Miami, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech and others are expected to be in the mix for one of Florida's top pass rushers, who registered 30 sacks between 2019 and 2020. A groin issue has slowed the senior down in 2021 to date.
Ole Miss has yet to secure a pass-rushing pledge in the class of 2022, so any progress with Eugenio is worth keeping an eye on.
OCTOBER 6, 12:00 PM UPDATE:
Ole Miss is in the thick of the race for the hottest senior-riser among offensive tackle prospects, nationally.
Matthew McCoy, of St. John's (Fla.) Creekside High School, has seen his stock sky rocket this fall given the play of the 6'6" converted tight end prospect, with offers from coast to coast pouring in. In addition to Ole Miss, programs like Auburn, Florida State, Miami, Maryland, Pitt, and Minnesota, where his older brother Luther plays defensive line, have jumped in.
The Rebels have been showing as much love as any program to date and now it will get the chance to host McCoy on an official visit. In speaking to sister site Nole Gameday, the senior confirmed an official visit to Oxford is in the works for the weekend of October 23, when LSU is in town.
“I’ve been talking to Coach (Jake) Thornton the most and Coach (Lane) Kiffin," McCoy said. "I love how both coaches reach out to me and keep me and interested and I love their offense. They are one of the top schools in the SEC.
"I can’t say too much because I will be officially visiting there soon.”
McCoy is a spring graduate so he may not sign during the Early Signing Period, which begins December 15.
OCTOBER 5, 10:15 AM UPDATE:
UCLA had similar early-season momentum to Ole Miss on the football field following its win over LSU to kick off the year, but it has since faded with the Bruins now sitting at 3-2 following a loss to Arizona State.
That Saturday evening game, despite defeat, featured a pair of prized quarterback recruits on campus for Chip Kelly and they happen to be the pair Lane Kiffin has zeroed in on of late.
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Justyn Martin, the No. 10 QB on SI All-American, was back on campus for an unofficial visit and he will return to UCLA for his official visit later this month. The former Cal pledge was in Oxford earlier this season and has been impressed, though he called UCLA his "dream school" as well. Michigan and USC are also in the mix for the Inglewood (Calif.) star.
The other passer on campus makes his first trip to Oxford this weekend. Devin Brown has been a USC commitment for more than a year and he has been saying the right things about the Trojans, but also has his head on a swivel. He was at UCLA, another new offer of his, for an unofficial visit and spent two days on campus.
Could the window for the next Ole Miss quarterback recruit really be in Kelly's court? Cal, which offered Brown and is still recruiting Martin, is also in the mix for the pair but tracking the visits suggests UCLA potentially landing Martin and Brown opting to stick it out at USC or being the latest west coast start to end up at Ole Miss.
"I’m sure Oxford and SEC football will be wild," Brown said Tuesday.
In any event, expect Kiffin and Jeff Lebby to air it out versus Arkansas with the nation's most prolific high school passer on campus. Brown has lit it up with Draper (Utah) Corner Canyon thus far in 2021.
SEPTEMBER 30, 6:15 PM UPDATE:
One of the nation's top 2023 football prospects, Sonny Styles, has trimmed a gaudy list of scholarship offers down to a handful.
The Pickerington (Ohio) Central hybrid defender, who is listed at 6'4", 215 pounds, included Ole Miss in his list of five programs along with Ohio State, Notre Dame, Clemson and Florida, he announced via social media Thursday evening. Styles has been coveted for years and has considerable visits under his belt, including a trip to Oxford over the summer.
Styles's father Lorenzo played at Ohio State while his older brother, Lorenzo Jr., is a freshman at Notre Dame. The youngest Styles could play safety or linebacker at the collegiate level.
SEPTEMBER 28, 1:15 PM UPDATE:
Ole Miss is gearing up for a run in the class of 2022, among high school seniors, but it continues to recruit multiple classes simultaneously. During the 3-0 run it has had thus far in 2021, several young prospects have learned of new scholarship offers from the Rebel coaching staff.
One to keep an eye on is Jaylen Mbawke, a sophomore from the state of Alabama with prowess as a wide receiver and defensive back. The Rebels became his eighth scholarship offer just last week.
"Ole Miss offered me as a wide receiver," he said. "They are pretty explosive on offense, which is a great fit for me."
The 6', 175-pound Pinson (Ala.) Clay-Chalkville product has additional offers in from the likes of Georgia, Auburn, Arkansas, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Louisville and UAB in addition to Ole Miss.
He is in no rush to make an early decision.
"I am keeping up with each school that has extended an offer," he said. "This is going to be a long but exciting and rewarding recruiting journey."
Mbakwe has offers on each side of the football, but his speed has Lane Kiffin and company interested on offense. The class of 2024 recruit ran a 10.76-second 100 meter dash in the spring and he has helped Clay-Chalkville to a 5-0 start on the football field. The Cougars are averaging more than 50 points per game and have shut out two opponents in the process.
SEPTEMBER 27, 9:10 AM UPDATE:
The time has come for Jarell Stinson.
The Opelika (Ala.) High School two-way star, a one-time Auburn verbal commitment, is coming off the board this week.
Stinson's Wednesday commitment will come with much anticipation considering the programs in the mix for his recruitment as well as the talent he possesses. Stinson is the reigning Alabama Class 6A 100, 200 and 400 meter dash champion on the track. On Friday night's he splits time between running back, defensive back and return man.
Ole Miss is coveting the Alabamian as a defensive back, similar to most programs, though the expectation to handle the ball in the return game is a fair assumption regardless of college destination.
Stinson originally committed to Gus Malzahn at Auburn, before he was dismissed. He has since visited UCF, under Malzahn, and the Knights are still in the mix.
Ole Miss, Penn State, Florida and Florida State round out the contenders for the senior, who visited Oxford for the home opener vs. Austin Peay. He was also on campus to cap the summer window in late July, reemphasizing how the Rebels are at the forefront of the discussion surrounding the commitment.
SEPTEMBER 24, 8:10 AM UPDATE:
Lane Kiffin has hit the road during Ole Miss' bye week and he appears to be on an important evaluation trip in California on Friday. The Rebel coach posted his arrival in Los Angeles on Twitter late Thursday evening.
Ole Miss is after several California prospects in the class of 2022 and beyond, most notably Justyn Martin. The Inglewood (Calif.) High School quarterback was in Oxford last weekend for his official visit and de-committed from Cal just days later.
Since, Martin has admitted Ole Miss, UCLA and others are squarely in the mix for his services.
Inglewood is undefeated thus far in 2021 and plays at Palos Verdes (Calif.) High School on Friday afternoon. Expect Kiffin to get a closer look at his next top quarterback target.
SEPTEMBER 21, 12:20 PM UPDATE:
Ole Miss football coaches, including head coach began the bye week on the road recruiting. Kiffin and running backs coach Kevin Smith spent some time at Clearwater (Fla.) Academy International on Monday, meeting with Knights head coach Jesse Chinchar on a variety of class of 2022 and 2023 recruits.
The Rebels have an offer into red-hot defensive lineman Isaiah Hastings, who has also reeled in Alabama and Georgia of late. The senior appears to be no rush to make a decision and will be busy on the visit trail, he says. Hastings was at Florida for the near upset of Alabama and is planning an official visit to Oregon, per SI All-American.
Ole Miss has also been recruiting junior offensive lineman Lucas Simmons for some time, too. The 6'7" left tackle prospect is among the most coveted at the position in the class of 2023. The Rebels offered on June 21 not long after Simmons hit a tour of top programs across the country as the prospect visit window opened back up.
The Knights have signed a steady amount of Power 5 prospects over the last several cycles and it features a group of talented international underclassmen as well. The Ole Miss staff could have a jump on the Knights' next wave.
SEPTEMBER 20, 10:38 AM UPDATE:
On the heels of a 3-0 start and the nation's top offense, Ole Miss is in the running for one of America's top running backs. On Monday, Quinshon Judkins announced the Rebels in the race through the end of the process, as he trimmed his list of scholarship offers down to three.
The Rebels will battle Notre Dame and in-state Auburn for the Pike Road (Ala.) High School star.
Judkins was a first-team all-state running back selection as a junior in 2020 in Class 5A after rushing for 1,428 yards and 25 touchdowns on just 150 carries (9.88 ypc). He made his 2021 debut on September 10, after dealing with a hamstring injury, and picked up right where he left off. Judkins has scored five touchdowns in his wo games back, including four in a 55-0 Patriot win over Dothan (Ala.) Rehobeth High School on Friday night.
There is no public timeline for Judkins' decision. He has taken several visits, including to Ole Miss for an official visit over the weekend, and figures to take more going forward.
SEPTEMBER 16, 11:08 AM UPDATE:
Ellenwood (Ga.) Cedar Grove High School linebacker and Ole Miss target CJ Madden announced his college commitment on Thursday, spurning the Rebels for the likes of the Georgia Bulldogs.
"I just feel like I just set myself up for the better position for the next step," Madden told SI All-American of his choice. "What I am looking for in a college is a great relationship with the coaches and a chance to win a national championship.
The projected edge rusher chose the Bulldogs over the Rebels, Tennessee, Oregon and Colorado.
September 15, 1:00 PM UPDATE:
One of the fastest prospects in the southern footprint, Jarell Stinson, continues to consider Ole Miss among his top programs. The Opelika (Ala.) two-way standout, who plays both running back and defensive back, was back in Oxford for the Rebel win over Austin Peay Saturday.
"It was great getting to talk to all the coaches and see the atmosphere," Stinson said.
A Class 6A Alabama state champion on the track in the 100, 200 and 400 meter dashes this spring, he says he has been in touch with multiple coaches on the defensive staff over the last several months.
Stinson was on campus in July to cap his offseason, before returning Saturday for his first game action on campus. A former commitment to nearby Auburn, the speedy talent is now focused on five other programs -- Penn State, Florida, Florida State, UCF and of course Ole Miss. The top five was announced the first week of August and he has visited each program in the mix outside of Penn State to date.
A decision could come at any time.
September 9, 2:30 PM UPDATE: Ole Miss figures to be square in the mix for newly-offered Florida prospect Tristen Sion.
Sion, who could play either side of the ball at the next level, says his list of two dozen-plus scholarship offers will soon begin to be narrowed. A group of top programs is due at the end of the month and the Rebels appear in position to remain in play for the talented Tallahassee (Fla.) Rickards prospect.
"Things opened up Sep. 1" the junior said. "Once 12:01 hit I realized the schools that really want me.
"Ole Miss is one of my dream schools. They're really recruiting me as an whole, instead of just my position coach. Coach (Lane) Kiffin was the first Ole Miss coach to text me at 12:01 -- I just didn’t expect an offer at the moment."
Sion has worked mostly in the secondary as a junior, with time spent at cornerbck as well as inside as a nickel. Rickards is 1-1 thus far in the 2021 season.
September 4, 7:30 PM UPDATE: On Saturday, elite 2023 Desoto (TX) wide receiver Johntay Cook announced that he's down to 12 schools including the Rebels.
Cook also included other prominent universities including Alabama, Ohio State, Penn State, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Oregon, USC, Florida, Texas, LSU, USC and Oklahoma. Expect to continue seeing Cook rise the ladder of the 2023 recruiting class.
It is worth noting that Cook is quite close with Elite 2023 Isidor Newman (New Orleans, LA) quarterback prospect and Ole Miss legacy Arch Manning, with the two hoping to end up playing on the field with each other at the next level.
Cook has recently visited Texas, Texas A&M and Alabama over the summer, among others, alongside Manning in most occasions.
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