OXFORD • In the all-important area of relationship-building, Lane Kiffin’s staff was able to score well with one four-star recruit.
Defensive end Demon Clowney had a previous relationship with Chris Partridge, the Rebels’ new co-defensive coordinator that Kiffin hired away from Michigan.
“When you bring in coaches this late sometimes they know players already so Partridge was familiar with him from recruiting him before,” Kiffin said.
In addition, Clowney’s high school coach, Wayne Dorsey, is a former Ole Miss defensive end.
Clowney is rated the No. 222 overall player, the No. 11 weak side defensive end on the 247Sports.com composite list.
“It was a quick turnaround because we got on him late. He came in and visited and in 48 hours came back to go to school,” Kiffin said. “He’s a good player, really talented. We’re happy to have him.”
Kiffin said he’ll work the transfer portal in the spring to see what immediate help might be available at different positions.
He already signed two transfers in tight end Kenny Yeboah, a graduate from Temple who will be immediately eligible, and defensive back Otis Reese.
Reese left Georgia after this season. As a prospect he was ranked the No. 87 overall player.
He is a sophomore and is not automatically eligible but will seek a waiver from the NCAA.
“There’s always a scenario where they can be. You’ve got to go through a process, a wavier process. I believe he will be going through that process,” Kiffin said.
Yeboah (6-5, 240) had 47 career catches and six touchdowns in three seasons plus one game at Temple.
“That’s was really big. Kenny was obviously a need,” Kiffin said. “He is a talented kid that I thought could have gone out early in the draft, decided to transfer, play somewhere bigger.”
Hey, where’s Swayze field?
Kiffin got acclimated to the campus a little bit when he gave one of last year’s top freshmen – Jerrion Ealy – a lift to the baseball stadium, Swayze Field.
Kiffin was in his car when he saw Ealy walking across campus.
“I kept making wrong turns, and he said, ‘Do you know where the stadium is, coach?’”
Ealy and John Rhys Plumlee – the starting quarterback at the end of last season – are both freshmen with the baseball team.
How much they take part in spring football practice will depend on what type of baseball roles they earn in the weeks ahead.
“They’re all in right now for baseball. We’ll see. If they have a significant role they’ll stay in there. If not, they’ll probably come back and do more football.”
The baseball regular season begins Friday, Feb. 14, when the Rebels host No. 1 Louisville.