July 21, 2024

Not quite time to panic, but we won’t blame you if you panic a little.

Momentum is a difficult thing to maintain; you can’t keep it long, and it can swing wildly back and forth in ways no one can predict. Ole Miss received commitments from two borderline 5-star recruits, Jerome Myles and Akylin Dear, which appeared too good to be true. Myles, who lives in Utah, canceled his commitment to Ole Miss a little over a week ago, which was unfortunate but not surprising.

Rumors circulated that Dear, a great running back from Mississippi’s Quitman High School, was considering canceling his pledge to Ole Miss. Things became a little tense on the Rebel recruiting message boards. And appropriately so; Dear’s *worst* national ranking among the major recruiting agencies places him as the #79 player overall in the country; he’s the consensus #36 overall recruit and the #2 running back in the country. Definitely a guy you want to pursue when he’s in your own backyard. But, unfortunately, Dear decommitted over the weekend, with all indicators pointing to Tuscaloosa as the saboteur whispering in his ear.

Dear is widely anticipated to pledge to Alabama in the near future, but unlike Myles, Ole Miss is planning a lengthy battle to retain the Magnolia State’s top 2025 rusher.

 

Michigan recruiting: Top 100 RB Akylin Dear talks offer

 

And, while it’s never easy to lure a recruit away from the Crimson Tide, Alabama is working with a first-year head coach who has no deep links to the southeast and faces an unrealistic mountain of expectations. If South Dakota native Kalen DeBoer manages to lose two or three games to Georgia, Tennessee, LSU, Oklahoma, and Mizzou, the honeymoon is gone.

Regarding Dear’s choice and the wave of Ole Miss decommitments in general, there is no need to fear. If we had a streak of four swift decommitments in 2019, I would be concerned. Currently, recruits, their “advisors,” coaching staffs, and NIL collectives are all scrambling to find out a new normal. Ole Miss has been successful in convincing some top in-state prospects to commit early in recent cycles; last year, Jeffery Rush, Kam Beavers, and Kam Franklin all pledged to Ole Miss relatively early, while this year, Andrew Maddox, Jarcoby Hopson, and Akylin Dear all jumped on board early.

But perhaps Dear, Myles, and others believe that an early commitment isn’t the best approach to maximize their NIL haul, preferring to hold things down and let the bidding battle continue for a while longer. As annoying as the issue is on a larger scale, it’s difficult to blame them. But I don’t believe the decommitment will be nearly as damaging as it would have been a few years ago. While it’s disappointing to lose top prospects, if you’re concerned about Lane Kiffin finding someone to carry the rock, you haven’t been paying attention.

 

 

 

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