OXFORD • The Ole Miss defense has gained attention for its improvement against the run this season.
A big part of that has been the play of a senior-led defensive line with tackles Benito Jones and Josiah Coatney and end Austrian Robinson.
Between them they have 13½ tackles for loss and eight sacks.
With one regular-season game remaining, the Rebels have improved from No. 116 in rushing yards allowed to No. 35.
As the early signing period nears – it begins Dec. 18 – Ole Miss has three spots left to fill and remains close to several highly-rated defensive linemen.
Sources believe the Rebels are still in strong position with four-star Horn Lake defensive tackle Josaih Hayes, a former Ole Miss verbal commit who reopened his recruiting several weeks ago.
Hayes was in Oxford on an unofficial visit for last week’s LSU game. He has an official visit scheduled to Kentucky for Dec. 6.
Ole Miss also appears to be in good position with George County tackle McKinnley Jackson and Memphis Briarcrest tackle Omari Thomas. Both are four-stars.
The transfer portal could be a means for rebuilding as well.
“Where you have a lot of seniors graduating that’s where you look for immediate needs,” Ole Miss coach Matt Luke said. “Obviously you look at the defensive line. Based on needs in recruiting the transfer portal is always an option now.”
Luke said prospects “love seeing the direction” that Ole Miss is headed.
The Rebels currently have one defensive tackle in a class of 23 commits, three-star DeSanto Rollins of Parkview Baptist School in Baton Rouge.
Rollins also lists offers from Colorado, Oregon and Tennessee among others.
The Rebels have three 2019 defensive linemen who are redshirting this season.
Patrick Lucas, a tackle, was playing in his fourth game – the maximum allowed – when he tore an Achilles against Alabama. He had surgery soon after.
LeDarrius Cox, an end, has appeared in three games including the last two weeks against New Mexico State and LSU.
Lucas recorded three tackles, and Cox has two.
Brandon Mack signed as a defensive end but was moved to outside linebacker. He has not played this season.