The roller-coaster ride of C.J. Hampton's recruitment came to an end, we think, on Friday night, when the 4-star safety from Meridian High School in Mississippi re-pledged his commitment to Ole Miss.
Hampton (6'1'', 195 lbs) was committed to Ole Miss for more than a year before re-opening his recruitment earlier this week, according to Barton Simmons of 247Sports:
CJ Hampton, committed to Ole Miss for 1.5 yrs, decommits for 3 days, has a ceremony, recommits to Ole Miss. This is recruiting now.— Barton Simmons (@bartonsimmons) December 20, 2013
The news of his reaffirmed vows in Oxford came as a minor shock. After decommitting from the Rebs so recently, it seemed like Hampton was ready to move on to a different school. The fact that Nick Saban and Alabama were on his tail didn't help.
247Sports' "Crystal Ball" had the Tide as an 83 percent favorite to land him.
But now that is all in the past, and Ole Miss can look forward to adding one of the best young defensive backs in America. Hampton is No. 100 on the 247Sports composite, which surveys a number of major recruiting services, but he ranks much higher at No. 63 on the site's subjective rankings.
The latter calls Hampton the fifth-best safety in the class.
Ole Miss now ranks 14th in 247Sports' team rankings, with Hampton checking in as its second-most touted player (behind offensive guard Roderick Taylor). That comes on the heels of last year's eighth-ranked class, which featured, among other blue-chip recruits, a five-star safety in Tony Conner, who enjoyed a fine first year in Oxford in 2013.
With AP All-American Cody Prewitt also expected back next season, Hampton likely won't get a chance to play early, but he'll have one of the best positional mentors in the country and a chance to soak in his wisdom. Ole Miss is fostering an environment where good players can become great ones, which in turn creates a self-sustaining cycle.
There's a reason Hampton came running back.