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Ole Miss Football: Testing the Stars—Offensive Ratings by Recruiting Services

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Ole Miss Football: Testing the Stars—Offensive Ratings by Recruiting Services

In the argument between Ole Miss and opposing teams' fans, the selling point Ole Miss gives to predict success in the 2008 season is talent.  There are two main sources to rate high school, JUCO, and prep recruits making their jump to the D1 level: Scout.com and Rivals.com.

Today, we'll test Ole Miss fans' argument in a study of rankings of the potential Ole Miss offensive starters for 2008, as we take a look at the assumed depth chart for next season.

**Note: We take the latest ranking of the player by the services.  Some positions we will look at more than the first string if there is not a clear starter.**

 

Quarterback: No question here.  Jevan Snead will be the starter in late August. 

Jevan Snead, sophomore

Rivals.com Ranking: **** No. 3 ranked dual-threat QB in the class of 2006

Scout.com Ranking: **** No. 6 ranked QB in the class of 2006

 

Running Back: Cordera Eason had a good spring game but had problems in practice holding on to the football.  We'll include Enrique Davis in the conversation, since he was the spotlight of the 2008 recruiting class and the No. 1 prep recruit in the nation.

Cordera Eason, junior

Rivals.com Ranking: **** No. 19 ranked RB in the class of 2006

Scout.com Ranking: **** No. 12 ranked RB in the class of 2006

Enrique Davis, freshman

Rivals.com Ranking: ***** No. 1 ranked RB prep recruit in the nation in 2008

Scout.com Ranking: **** No. 1 ranked RB prep recruit in the nation in 2008

 

Wide Receivers: Ole Miss returns all of their wide receivers for the 2008 season.  We'll go with the assumed top four receivers that are currently on the roster and one freshman that could get in the mix.

Looking at the statistics from last season and the star ratings, it seems as though the top wide receivers were underlooked by Rivals and Scout in high school.

Dexter McCluster, junior

Rivals.com Ranking: *** No. 54 ranked RB in the class of 2006

Scout.com Ranking: *** No. 100 ranked RB in the class of 2006

Shay Hodge, junior

Rivals.com Ranking: ** No. 49 ranked ATH in the class of 2006

Scout.com Ranking: *** NR in the class of 2006

Mike Wallace, senior

Rivals.com Ranking: ** NR in the class of 2005

Scout.com Ranking: ** NR in the class of 2005

Lionel Breaux, sophomore

Rivals.com Ranking: *** No. 37 ranked WR in the class of 2007

Scout.com Ranking: **** No. 42 ranked WR in the class of 2007

Andrew Harris, freshman

Rivals.com Ranking: **** No. 10 ranked prep recruit in the class of 2008

Scout.com Ranking: *** NR

 

Offensive Line: Ole Miss returns four out of five starters on the offensive line, including star tackles John Jerry and All-American Michael OherOher initially declared for the 2008 NFL Draft and was projected early to mid first round, but he withdrew his name a day before the deadline to give the offensive line a much-needed boost and prepare himself to potentially be a top five pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.

We'll include the assumed starting lineman and one of the tight ends battling for the starting position.

Michael Oher, senior

Rivals.com Ranking: **** No. 7 ranked OL in the class of 2005

Scout.com Ranking: ***** No. 5 ranked OL in the class of 2005

John Jerry, junior

Rivals.com Ranking: ****  No. 16 ranked prep recruit in the class of 2006

Scout.com Ranking: **** No. 18 ranked prep recruit in the class of 2006

Daverin Geralds, junior

Rivals.com Ranking: ** NR in the class of 2006

Scout.com Ranking: *** No. 93 ranked OL in the class of 2006

Reid Neely, junior

Rivals.com Ranking: ** NR in the class of 2005

Scout.com Ranking: *** No. 77 ranked OL in the class of 2005

Maurice Miller, senior

Rivals.com Ranking: ** NR in the class of 2004

Scout.com Ranking: * NR in the class of 2004

Gerald Harris, junior

Rivals.com Ranking: *** NR (JUCO) in the class of 2008

Scout.com Ranking: *** NR (JUCO) in the class of 2008

 

Average Star Rating for Starters according to Rivals.com: 3.14

Average Star Rating for Starters according to Scout.com: 3.28

 

Conclusion

After thorough research, not only have I learned about Ole Miss's current starters on offense, but I've learned two things about the recruiting services.  They usually get the top players rankings correct, such as All-American Michael Oher being ranked a five and four star by Scout and Rivals, respectively.

Another thing I noticed was that Rivals and Scout can tend to miss a couple of players, such as Dexter McCluster, who was recruited as a RB.  McCluster is going to end up being the all-utility player next year by running the offense Darren McFadden ran—the former Wild Hog, now known in Oxford as the Wild Rebel offense—and being a lead receiver for the Rebels. 

Another receiver who didn't receive enough credit by the services was senior Mike Wallace, ranked a two star by both, who led the team in receiving yards, tied for receiving touchdowns, and led the SEC with yards per catch at 18.8 in 2007. 

As for the offensive line, besides tackles Michael Oher and John Jerry, nothing as far as the stars go really impresses you.  What should impress you is that four of those players, with the exception of Geralds, started last year.  Some have beaten out players rated higher, such as four star Rishaw Johnson and three star Brandon Green, which should add plenty of depth to an underlooked, experienced offensive line. 

Does Ole Miss have the offensive talent to win in 2008?  New offensive coordinator Kent Austin led the CFL Saskatchewan Roughriders to the Grey Cup (equivalent to the NFL Super Bowl) in his first season and runs various offenses based on the spread.

Also, expect Nutt to try the Wild Rebel with a different approach than he did with Darren McFadden, as small, speedy, and quick Dexter McCluster will run the snaps.

Regardless of if you believe in the star rankings, which have their pros and cons, there is no doubting that Ole Miss has the skill players and experience on the offensive line to make for a decent SEC offense—and arguably as much offensive talent they've had in one group in school history. 

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