Louisville football flips three-star defensive tackle commit from Ole Miss

Three days after defensive tackle Allen Love decommitted from Ole Miss, he pledged his commitment to the Louisville football team on Thursday.Love, a 6-foot-3-inch, 280-pound defensive tackle from Birmingham, Alabama, is a consensus three-star prospect. He visited Louisville last weekend before changing his mind from Ole Miss, where he committed in June."First, I would like to thank God for blessing me with life and the ability to play this wonderful game that I love!" Love tweeted Thursday. "I also want to thank my parents and family for always supporting me and being by my side throughout this long journey. Lastly, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank the universities for recognizing my abilities and offering scholarships to their schools. It all meant a lot and I am eternally grateful for your offers."The Cardinals continue to load up on defensive linemen in their 2018 class, which will come in after the team loses experienced starters James Hearns, Trevon Young, De'Asian Richardson and Drew Bailey on the line. Louisville's 2018 class already includes junior-college prospects Michael Boykin and Jared Goldwire, plus high schoolers Thurman Geathers, Dejmi Dumervil and Jarrett Jackson. All five of them are three-star recruits.According to 247Sports.com's composite rankings, Love is the No. 54 defensive tackle and the No. 26 player in Alabama.Ole Miss has lost several other recruits and roster players in recent weeks, stemming from the NCAA sanctions looming over the Rebels. "Thank you rebel nation for taking me in as family but I have to make a decision that's best for me," Love tweeted Monday. You may like: Louisville football's APR score will earn coach Bobby Petrino $500,000 again See also: This Louisville company is trying to change football. And the NFL is listening   Continue Reading

Ole Miss receives first commitment under Matt Luke with Alabama linebacker Jacquez Jones

Matt Luke earned his first win as a head coach Saturday when Ole Miss beat South Alabama.Six days later, he received the first 2018 commitment under his watch.Out-of-state linebacker Jacquez Jones, who is rated as a three-star prospect by the 247Sports composite, announced his verbal pledge to Ole Miss on Friday.Jones, an Alabama native, will likely be a middle linebacker for Ole Miss. And the staff likes his physicality and instincts. He drew a comparison to a mix of former Ole Miss linebacker D.T. Shackelford and current starter Donta Evans.He's the second linebacker commit in the '18 recruiting class, along with another Alabama native, Jonathan Hess, who is also a three star.Jones' commitment marks a start on the recruiting trail for Luke, but obviously there's still more work to be done.The interim tag provides uncertainty about the future, which isn't helpful to Luke, but it's the reality he's faced with.  RELATED: How do Ken Webster and Detric Bing-Dukes fit in with Ole Miss' defense after suspensions? When Hugh Freeze's resignation was announced, Ole Miss lost three '18 commitments with corner Jaylin Williams, offensive lineman Blaine Scott and defensive lineman Israel Antwine.Class of 2019 commit Bobby Wolfe also re-opened his commitment after Freeze's resignation.After Jones' commitment, Ole Miss is at eight players for its '18 recruiting class, which currently ranks 92nd nationally and 14th in the SEC.Jones, who is 6-foot and 225 pounds, is the fourth-highest rated player in the class behind receiver Demarcus Gregory, Meridian defensive lineman Deuntra Hyman and Jones County junior college running back Scott Phillips. RELATED: What's the meaning behind the Ole Miss receivers' championship belt? Per 247Sports, Jones also had offers from LSU, Mississippi State and Tennessee among others.Linebacker is a position of weakness for Ole Miss, which will lose DeMarquis Gates, its best player at Continue Reading

The A-Gap: Week 8 college football picks, including Ole Miss-LSU and MSU-Kentucky

Here are my Week 8 college football picks, which, as you will see by my record against the spread, are clearly for entertainment purposes only.Last week: 3-3 straight-up, 2-4 ATSThis week: 28-14 straight-up, 16-23 ATSKentucky at Mississippi State (-11.5): At the risk of being overly simplistic here, Kentucky has played every game within 11 points and Mississippi State has blown out or been blown out in every one of its games. So something has got to give. I'll roll with the guys who didn't struggle to put away Eastern Michigan, Eastern Kentucky and Missouri. My pick: Mississippi State 35, Kentucky 21No. 25 LSU (-7) at Ole Miss: LSU is a touchdown favorite on the road after beating Florida and Auburn, two teams that are better than Ole Miss. And I get it, but if the Rebels can score some points here, they can get into a shootout LSU probably isn't built to win. But the Tigers are giving up 5.9 yards per pass attempt (fourth in the SEC) and will lean on those running backs to get the win, but not quite cover. My pick: LSU 27, Ole Miss 21Southern Miss at Louisiana Tech (-2.5): Southern Miss is on a little bit of a roll here, with a road win at UTSA and a home win against UTEP. It's on to Ruston and the Bulldogs, who have been blown out by Mississippi State but lost on a last-second field goal to South Carolina. Louisiana Tech is hard to figure out at 3-3 overall and 1-1 in Conference-USA, but USM is fourth in the league in yards allowed per play and third in scoring defense, and that usually travels well. My pick: USM 24, Louisiana Tech 21Tennessee at No. 1 Alabama (-35.5): There are coaches in the history of the SEC who would purposefully try to avoid embarrassing a peer — Les Miles famously had LSU kneel so it would stop scoring at Ole Miss in 2011. I do not believe Nick Saban is one of those people. The score is the score, and you try to stop the Tide? You can't do it. My pick: Alabama 56, Tennessee 14No. 21 Auburn (-15.5) at Continue Reading

Ole Miss welcomes Sean Rawlings back to the lineup against Kentucky

OXFORD — The green no-contact practice jersey is typically reserved for a quarterback, sometimes a skill player who is coming off an injury.On Tuesday, it was placed on the shoulder pads of Ole Miss center Sean Rawlings, who spent the last week in the concussion protocol and missed the Arkansas game"It feels terrible. I hate it," Rawlings, a Madison native, said. "I asked if I had to wear this thing, (they) told me I had to. I feel like a quarterback in this green jersey. They (the Rebels' offensive linemen) gave me a little grief about it of course."Rawlings, arguably the most important member of Ole Miss' offensive line, returned to his usual red jersey on Wednesday, and he'll make his way back to the starting lineup when the Rebels (3-5, 1-4 SEC) face off against Kentucky (6-2, 3-2) Saturday (3 p.m., SEC Network) in Lexington. MORE: How is Ole Miss trying to provide clarity for its boosters amid uncertainty? It's become a staple of Matt Luke's Monday press conference. He usually declares that Rawlings will be limited for Tuesday's practice and he'll get more work as the week goes on.That was the plan this week as Rawlings practiced against air most of Tuesday and was scheduled to get back to contact Wednesday.This week was because of the concussion. In other weeks, it's been because of his ankle. Rawlings suffered a grade-two ankle sprain against Cal, which threw the offense out of sorts for the remainder of that game and required surgery the following Monday.In an upset, Rawlings played the week after getting surgery against Alabama."I was pretty surprised (to play). That was the goal since surgery," Rawlings said. "I had that bye week to get ready for that. Did I doubt it a little bit? Sure because I was in crutches and a boot the Wednesday before." MORE: Is Matt Luke worried about Ole Miss hitting a breaking point? The ankle injury impacted Rawlings' ability to Continue Reading

Arkansas hits Ole Miss with another gut punch, this time in the form of a 24-point rally

OXFORD — Matt Luke was clearly emotional, but there wasn't much he could say."Another tough loss," he said. "I sound like a broken record."The 63-point loss to Alabama was bad. But Ole Miss didn't really have a chance in that one after the first few possessions. On Saturday, the Rebels built a 24-point lead against Arkansas, which entered the game in last place in the SEC West and was winless in conference play.That lead evaporated little by little over the next two or so quarters before the Razorbacks won the game, 38-37, on a 34-yard field goal from Connor Limpert with four seconds remaining at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium."It's going to be tough. This is definitely a gut punch," Luke said. "These kids have had to pick themselves up off the mat a lot and we'll go back to work tomorrow and do the same."The meltdown came on both sides of the ball. Ole Miss (3-5, 1-4 SEC) turned the ball over three times offensively.Arkansas (3-5, 1-4) turned those turnovers into 21 points. The third turnover had the biggest impact.Javien Hamilton had just intercepted Arkansas quarterback Cole Kelley, which gave the Rebels the ball with a nine-point lead and 6:08 remaining.Quarterback Jordan Ta'amu, who was making his first start at Ole Miss, and Eric Swinney messed up the mesh point, which led to a 22-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by Kevin Richardson II.That gave Arkansas new life. It forced the Rebels to punt, then took over with 4:04 left, needing a field goal to win.The Razorbacks marched 62 yards in 12 plays to put themselves in position for the game-winning field goal. Limpert made his first three attempts at the game winner but Luke called three timeouts, which negated those.His fourth was money too."They executed plays they had to execute to win the ball game, particularly right before the half then at the end of the ballgame," defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff said. "It came down to the team that executed the plays was going to win Continue Reading

Is Matt Luke worried about Ole Miss hitting a breaking point?

OXFORD — It all starts to add up over time.As far as off-field issues, Ole Miss players have had to go through the NCAA ordeal and Hugh Freeze's resignation. On the field, things haven't been much better. In the past month, the Rebels have suffered a 63-point loss to Alabama, lost their starting quarterback and just blew a 24-point lead to Arkansas.So there's been a lot of blows to the mental psyche of this football team. At some point, there has to be a breaking point right?"I think we all worry about that," Matt Luke said. "But they've proven they can just keep getting up."The Rebels' latest response - for better or worse - to last week's devastating loss will come against Kentucky Saturday (3 p.m., SEC Network) at Kroger Field. MORE: The Ole Miss Exit Survey: Arkansas did it to the Rebels again "When we go to Kentucky on Saturday," Luke said, "I want people to be like, 'Dang, this team won't go away.' There's plenty of reasons for the team to call it in. There's no bowl game at the end of the season. Things aren't going their way. The future of this staff is uncertain at best.The results obviously haven't been there but the Rebels (3-5, 1-4 SEC) haven't quit despite the circumstances."We got four games left together and I've been very impressed with the makeup of this team," Luke said. "Maybe not the most talented team we've ever had, but a close team." MORE: Turnovers come back to haunt Ole Miss in loss to Arkansas Luke clearly took the loss to the Razorbacks hard and it was apparent during his postgame press conference. Understandably so, too.Ole Miss had the Razorbacks where it wanted them with a 31-7 lead in the second quarter. Even though Arkansas rallied, the Rebels still had the ball with a nine-point lead and six minutes remaining.But it all unraveled and resulted in a loss to a team that was in last place in the SEC West entering the day. "I think a lot of stuff went into it," Luke Continue Reading

Mississippi State-Ole Miss rivalry as heated as ever

So about that intriguing Alabama-Vanderbilt game ...Voices of the SEC must issue a mea culpa this week for that misread, but we're on to perhaps the nastiest rivalry in college sports at the moment. More: Love SEC football? Then sign up for the Voices of the SEC newsletter We visit with Hugh Kellenberger, sports editor and columnist of the Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger, with Mississippi State heading to Auburn and Ole Miss traveling to take on the No. 1 Crimson Tide on Saturday. Big games for both -- especially for MSU, coming off a humbling at Georgia -- while these two fan bases remain locked in a back and forth that has been exacerbated by the Hugh Freeze saga. Kellenberger helps us navigate.Subscribe to the Voices of the SEC podcast by clicking here.   Continue Reading

Ole Miss’ porous run defense is in search of some confidence against Arkansas

OXFORD — One way to gain confidence at something is by doing it well over and over again.But Ole Miss' rushing defense hasn't done much well this season.The Rebels enter Saturday's home game against Arkansas (11 a.m., SEC Network) with the nation's 127th-ranked rushing defense, which allows 5.79 yards per rush. MORE: What are former Ole Miss players expecting from Friday's open forum? LSU rushed for 393 yards last week and running back Derrius Guice racked up 276 yards against Ole Miss. Vanderbilt rushed for 188 yards, 163 of which came from Ralph Webb.Kerryon Johnson accumulated 204 of Auburn's 326 rushing yards against the Rebels, and Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts accounted for 101 of the Crimson Tide's 365 rushing yards the week before that.Ole Miss (3-4, 1-3 SEC) is allowing an average of 318 rushing yards in its four conference games. So without much success, how does the Rebels' run defense try to build some confidence in itself?"It's tough. I think the way that you do it is that you show them the plays they did stop the run and say, 'Look, if you do it right, you can stop it.' But you have to do it right," Matt Luke said. "You have to fit the right gap and be in the right spot. So the way you gain confidence, is you show the guys doing it right ... then you show them do it wrong and it's a big play."I think guys understand if all 11 guys do their job, then we have a chance." MORE: What to expect from Ross Bjork during Ole Miss' coaching search Ole Miss' run defense is what it is at this point. The personnel group, limited as it may be, is here for the remainder of the season.Fortunately for the Rebels, an ailing Arkansas team is next up on the schedule. The Razorbacks (2-5, 0-4) have lost standout center Frank Ragnow for the rest of the year to a high-ankle sprain, which required surgery.Running back Chase Hayden, who was tied for the team lead with 326 rushing yards, suffered a lower-leg fracture against Auburn and Continue Reading

Ole Miss given 12 to 1 odds of winning national title

On the final day of September, Las Vegas oddsmakers give only five teams a better chance than Ole Miss of winning the national championship.The No. 3-ranked Rebels, 4-0 with a visit to unbeaten and No. 25 Florida looming Saturday, are given 12 to 1 odds of winning the national title.Ahead of them: defending champ Ohio State, 9 to 5; Michigan State, 8 to 1; Baylor, 9 to 1; Georgia and LSU, each 10 to 1.TCU is at 12 to 1, Notre Dame 15 to 1, Texas A&M 16 to 1 and Alabama 18 to 1.No. 22 Mississippi State, 3-1 and headed to A&M on Saturday, is a long shot at 500 to 1, along with Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, Georgia Tech, Kentucky and North Carolina State.Four SEC teams — Missouri, Tennessee, South Carolina and Auburn — are 1,000 to 1.The odds are provided by sportsbook.ag.The ESPN Football Power Index lists Ole Miss the No. 1 team in the country, followed (in order) by Baylor, USC, Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma State, TCU, Notre Dame and Texas A&M.Mississippi State is ranked No. 22.According to the ESPN website, FPI represents how many points above or below average a team is. Projected results are based on 10,000 simulations of the rest of the season using FPI, results to date, and the remaining schedule.FPI projections give Ole Miss a 75 percent chance of defeating Florida, a 74.4 percent chance against A&M, an 82.9 percent chance at Auburn, an 88.1 percent chance against Arkansas, a 70.2 percent chance against LSU and a 75.1 percent chance against MSU in the Egg Bowl at Starkville.The FPI gives Ole Miss an 11.4 percent chance of going undefeated and a 37.3 percent chance of winning the SEC championship.State is given a 25.1 percent chance of defeating A&M and is the underdog in its final three games, including Alabama (32.6 percent chance of winning) and Arkansas (47.8 percent). It has a 0.3 percent chance of winning out and a 0.2 percent chance of winning the SEC.The FPI is updated Continue Reading

Kentucky vs. Ole Miss: 3 keys and a prediction ahead of Saturday’s game

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Three keys and a prediction for Kentucky football’s game against Ole Miss:When Ole Miss lost starting quarterback Shea Patterson, the Southeastern Conference’s leading passer, to a season-ending injury, many may have expected Ole Miss’ offense to take a step back. Instead, Kentucky faces an equally, if not more difficult, challenge in quarterback Jordan Ta’amu.“The narrative of, ‘Oh, you’re playing a backup quarterback,’ throw that out the window, because we’ve all seen backups come in and play better than the starter a lot of the time,” UK coach Mark Stoops said. “And I’m not saying any knock on Shea, because I think he’s one of the best players in the league. I just think what this guy can do, what Jordan can do with his arm and his legs and what they do offensively, I think there’s going to be zero drop-off.”Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald torched Kentucky with 115 rushing yards and two touchdowns in a blowout loss two weeks ago. Ta’amu threw for 368 yards and rushed for 76 more with two touchdowns last week against Arkansas. Kentucky has to do better against a dual-threat quarterback than it did against Mississippi State. MORE: Mitch Barnhart wants more stability in Kentucky football program. Mark Stoops contract could help MORE: Quinton Bohanna flew under the radar in high school – now he's UK's starting nose guard Simply put, Ole Miss’ defense is awful.The Rebels rank last in the SEC in scoring defense (37.5 points per game), rushing defense (260.5 yards per game) and total defense (467.5 yards per game). Meanwhile the Ole Miss offense leads the league in passing yards per game (338.1). Even without Patterson, Kentucky’s defense has its work cut out for it. The Wildcat offense needs to do its part.Yes, Ole Miss scored just three points against Alabama and 16 against California, but it Continue Reading