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February 9, 2009

Post signing day analysis: Receivers

(Editor's note: For five years, Dave Childers has provided a position by position analysis beginning the day after National Signing Day. In an eight part series, he breaks the class down for RebelSports.net. On Thursday, a look was offered at quarterbacks, and on Friday, an analysis was provided of running backs. Today, he provides a look at wide receivers. In the coming days, the series will look at kickers,  offensive line, defensive line, linebackers, and defensive backs.)

The skinny …  Ole Miss looses only one wide receiver - All-SEC performer Mike Wallace - but recruited the position like there was no tomorrow.  And, it paid off.  The Rebels hauled in four wide receivers with them all having height and speed in common. All three are in the 6-foot-3 range and have been clocked in the sub 4.5 range. 

The Rebels will probably look for a least one to impact this fall and the signee who will likely get that chance is Parade and U.S. Army All-American selection Patrick Patterson.  The other two signees - 6-foot-3, 200 pound Terrell Grant and 6-foot-2, 195 pound Ja-Mes Logan are likely not far behind Patterson.  While local star (Lafayette County) Montez Phillips could also see time at wide receiver, he could get a look on special teams and at cornerback this fall.  However, he certainly has the tools to be developed into a bigger Dexter McCluster-type (WR, RB, QB) if the staff chooses to use him in that role.

In addition to the four wide outs, Ole Miss signed tight end prospect Z. Mason.  At 6-foot-5, 255 pounds, Mason could be used almost immediately as a tight end, or he could be developed for a position on the offensive line.  Either way, he gives flexibility to the staff by adding another tight end prospect after they signed two last year. 

Overall assessment ... As with running back, the Rebels are loaded.  McCluster and senior Shay Hodge with be the leaders on the field for 2009.  Returning will be experienced players like juniors Markeith Summers and Lionel Breaux, along with sophomore Andrew Harris. Harris was used mostly in blocking schemes last season and is ready to show he's a talent catching the ball - but first must win a steady job on the field, which he'll try to do in the spring.  Also ready to enter prime time is 6-foot-7, 215 pound Melvin Harris, who drew a redshirt last season after breaking a foot during summer school. 

Tight is looking bright, particularly with the emergence of junior college transfer Gerald Harris, who started to figure things out late in the season and had two touchdown catches in the Cotton Bowl.  He's joined by veteran Reggie Hicks and two redshirt freshmen - Ferbia Allen and E.J. Epperson - both whom have size and skills to contribute this season. 

Overall, the wide receiver corps is talented and deep, and the newcomers - except for one or two - may have wait a year before they can impact.  But it's a situation that bodes well for the future of the position on the team.

Grade: A

The ones that got away ...  Memphis (Harding) athlete Marlon Brown.  Brown never allowed Ole Miss to seriously recruit him until very late in the process and when it came down to decision day - Brown spurned the new staff at Tennessee and Ole Miss to stick with the team that had been recruiting him for years - Georgia.  Brown has the potential to be a big time talent - and the staff wanted him for his talent and the "good kid" label that came with him. Rebel fans wanted him for the rankings. Had he signed with Ole Miss, the Rebels would have been a Top 15 class. However, any of the three-star ranked receivers that Ole Miss signed have near the same size and speed and may turn out to be as productive as Brown.

The signees…

Terrell Grant, WR, 6-3, 200, Cleveland, Miss. (High) -- A PrepStar All-Region selection ... Named second team All-State by The Clarion-Ledger ... Rated the No. 27 player in Mississippi by Rivals.com ... Listed as the No. 14 player in Mississippi and the No. 52 TE in the nation by Scout.com ... Rated the No. 110 athlete in the country by ESPN ... Caught 35 passes for 481 yards as a senior ... Also rushed 12 times for 198 yards ... Coached in high school by Greg Robinson.

Ja-Mes Logan,  WR, 6-2, 195, Houston, Texas (Westfield) -- A SuperPrep All-Region selection and rated the No. 84 player in Texas ... Hauled in 40 catches for 793 yards and 12 TDs as a senior ... Earned All-Greater Houston honors from the Touchdown Club of Houston ... Rated the No. 86 WR in the nation by ESPN and No. 124 by Scout.com ... Posted 21 receptions for 325 yards and six TDs as a junior ... Earned All-District 13-5A first team honors as a junior and senior ... A Jerry Rice Wide Receiver of the Year Nominee ... Coached in high school by Corby Meekins. 

Z. Mason, TE, 6-5, 255, Nashville, Tenn. (Christ Presbyterian Academy) -- Rated the No. 2 TE and No. 91 player in the nation by ESPN ... Earned first team Class 2A All-State honors from the Tennessee Sports Writers Association as a senior ... Ranked the No. 13 TE in the country by Scout.com and No. 20 player in Tennessee by Rivals.com ... Posted 35 catches for 464 yards and seven TDs as a senior ... Also rushed for 489 yards and 10 TDs ... A 2008 Class 2A Mr. Basketball finalist ... Average 24 points, 10.5 rebounds and 5.8 blocks per game as a junior ... Garnered more then 30 Division I basketball scholarship offers ... Earned All-State honors in basketball from the Tennessee Sports Writers Association as a junior ... Helped lead basketball team to state tournament as a junior ... Coached in high school by Jay Matthews ... Position coach in high school was former NFL tight end Ernie Conwell.

Pat Patterson, WR, 6-3, 215, Macon, Miss. (Noxubee County) -- A Parade and U.S. Army All-American selection ... Named to the PrepStar Dream Team and rated the No. 57 player in the nation ... A SuperPrep All-America selection and a second team EA SPORTS All-America pick ... Rated the No. 1 player in Mississippi and the No. 4 WR and No. 50 overall player in the nation by Rivals.com ... Considered the No. 1 player in Mississippi and the No. 5 WR and No. 48 overall player in the nation by Scout.com ... Named SuperPrep Dixie Offensive Player of the Year and rated No. 14 player in the nation... Earned first team All-America honors from MaxPreps and was ranked the No. 2 WR and No. 24 player in the nation by Tom Lemming... Rated the No. 14 WR and No. 114 player in the nation by ESPN ... A first team All-State pick by The Clarion-Ledger ... Named Class 4A Offensive Player of the Year and first team All-State by the Mississippi Coaches' Association as a senior ... A Dandy Dozen pick by The Clarion-Ledger and rated No. 3 on the paper's Most Wanted List ... Ranked 20th on the Mobile Press Register's Super Southeast ... Named to the Orlando Sentinel All-Southern Team ... Rated the No. 1 player in Mississippi and the No. 2 WR in the nation by SuperPrep ... Caught 73 passes for 1,287 yards and 19 TDs as a senior ... Posted 72 receptions for 1,424 yards and 18 TDs as a junior ... Helped lead Noxubee County to the 4A state championship as a senior and state runner-up as a junior ... Participated in the 2008 Mississippi/Alabama All-Star game ... Coached in high school by M.C. Miller. 

Montez Phillips, ATH, 6-3, 190, Oxford, Miss. (Lafayette County) -- A SuperPrep All-Region selection ... Rated the No. 26 player in Mississippi by SuperPrep ... Listed as the No. 17 player in Mississippi and the No. 66 WR in the nation by Rivals.com... Ranked as the No. 89 WR in the nation by ESPN ... Considered the No. 16 player in Mississippi and the No. 127 WR in the nation by Scout.com ... A second team All-State pick by The Clarion-Ledger as a senior ... A three-time All-Region pick and the Region 2-4A Offensive Player of the Year as a senior ... Participated in the 2008 Mississippi/Alabama All-Star game ... Rushed for 559 yards and threw for 732 yards with 18 total TDs as a senior ... Added 958 yards passing and 858 yards rushing with 16 total TDs as a junior ... A two time All-Area pick by the Oxford Eagle ... Coached in high school by Anthony Hart. 

Previous analyses: Post signing day analysis: Quarterbacks | Running backs




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