OXFORD • After three years of futility in slowing an opponent’s run game with defenses ranked near the bottom of the NCAA statistics Ole Miss made big strides in 2019.
The Rebels became a top-50 run defense as they currently rank No. 45 and were higher than that much of the season.
How that run defense reloads could depend to some degree on what happens at Horn Lake High School this morning.
That’s where four-star defensive tackle Josaih Hayes will announce his college choice, and Ole Miss, in the abbreviated signing class under new coach Lane Kiffin, appears to be in good standing with Hayes.
The Ole Miss class includes Tupelo wide receiver Jaycob Horn. It’s unclear if Horn will sign today or at the February signing date.
The Rebels are replacing All-SEC defensive tackle Benito Jones plus veterans Josiah Coatney and Austrian Robinson.
Jones had 10 tackles and 5½ sacks last year.
Ole Miss also expects to sign three-star tackle DeSanto Rollins of Parkview Baptist High School in Baton Rouge. Rollins included Colorado, Tennessee and Oregon among his offers.
The Rebels return more experience at linebacker, but they’re beefing up there too, perhaps with another Horn Lake product in outside backer Jakivuan Brown, a three-star prospect.
Inside linebackers Austin Keys, of Seminary, and Daylen Gill, of Louisville by way of Jones County Junior College, are also expected to sign.
Gill will be a mid-year transfer and will go through spring drills.
The Ole Miss staff has coveted Hayes for a long time.
He actually committed to Ole Miss in early June but chose to de-commit in late October – before the school fired former coach Matt Luke.
Hayes took visits on back-to-back weekends in late November and early December to Auburn and Kentucky.
However, he took an unofficial visit to Ole Miss before those trips and an official visit last weekend.