Now or later? What to expect from Ole Miss' 2022 freshman signing class

GGtKuYqW4AAo-ITby:Zach Berry08/28/22


It is officially game week as the Ole Miss Rebels will take on the Troy Trojans on Saturday at 3pm CT on SEC Network to kick off Year Three of the Lane Kiffin Era.

Rated as the nation’s No. 24 signing class per On3’s Consensus Team Rankings, Ole Miss’ 2022 class has 15 freshmen who signed and enrolled and seven or eight have a legitimate chance to make an impact this season.

There hasn’t been an official depth chart released by Kiffin and his staff, but several true freshmen have created a ton of buzz throughout spring and fall camp.

Based on the practices this spring and summer — and the Rebels’ experience and depth at various positions — here’s a look at the chances each freshman will play on offense, defense or special teams this season, per insider sources and pure speculation.

4-star DT Zxavian Harris

The walking vending machine from Canton, Miss., has started to see some things click in recent weeks during fall camp and will be tough to keep off the field this fall due to his sheer size and athleticism which comes along with it. The 6-foot-7, 335 pounder is just hard to move, pure and simple, and can provide a road block of sorts against SEC opponents who want to establish the run.

Harris was the 112th overall prospect in the 2022 class and the No. 3 player in Mississippi.

4-star CB Davison Igbinosun

Co-defensive coordinator Chris Partridge has said he wants to sign the best player in the northeast each cycle. And in 2022, Ole Miss believed the 6-foot-2, 185 cornerback from Union, N.J., to be it. Since his arrival, Igbinosun has been praised for his professional approach and tenacity in coverage. He has the length and ball skills to push veterans like Miles Battle and Deantre Prince for playing time and I suspect it will be hard to keep him off the field in Ole Miss’ 3-2-6 scheme.

Igbinosun was the 163rd overall prospect in the 2022 class and the No. 1 player in New Jersey.

Davison Igbinosun
Ole Miss cornerback Davison Igbinosun

4-star LB Jaron Willis

The 6-foot-2, 220 pound recruit from Leesburg, Ga., certainly looks the part and co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Maurice Crum has had high praise for the blue chip recruit. But, the Rebels expect upperclassmen Ashanti Cistrunk and Austin Keys as well as transfers Troy Brown and Khari Coleman to shoulder most of the load early in the year. But, I do think you will see Willis quite a bit on special teams and potentially in the rotation the more comfortable he gets at the second level.

Willis was the 209th overall prospect in the 2022 class and the No. 22 player in Georgia.

4-star WR Jeremiah Dillon

The Tylertown, Miss., signee was a 2019 All-American sprinter in the 100m and 200m dashes. But, he’s not just a track guy who plays football, he’s a legitimate wideout who should make a name for himself, as Mike Espy talked about on last week’s episode of #notcommitted. It just won’t be the this year. The 6-foot-2, 175 pound receiver has been rehabbing an injury during fall camp and will continue to work in the strength and conditioning program with Nick Savage and prepare to work towards earning some touches in 2023.

Dillon was the 223rd overall prospect in the 2022 class and the No. 7 player in Mississippi.

4-star S Taylor Groves

The two-sport star finished his prep career with a TSSAA 1A state title in basketball after his gridiron time came to an end. Now in college, though, he will most likely be putting his skill set to use on special teams for now. The Cross Plains, Tenn., prospect has excellent size (6-foot-2, 195 pounds) but is still working his way back to being full-go after suffering knee injuries in high school. This, coupled with the Rebel secondary being very deep means he won’t be thrown into the fire just yet.

Groves was the 283rd overall prospect in the 2022 class and the No. 9 player in Tennessee.

3-star S Nick Cull

Another impressive athlete who signed with Ole Miss in last year’s cycle, Cull will most likely be limited to special teams and/or a possible redshirt. The 5-foot-11, 175 pound defensive back was coveted by the Rebel staff for his aggressiveness in run support, elite speed and quickness. This should be enough to get him on kickoff coverage teams.

Cull was the 472nd overall prospect in the 2022 class and the No. 47 player in Georgia.

3-star CB Jarell Stinson

Similar to Cull, I expect Stinson to get his snap counts on special teams. Hailing from Opelika, Ala., the 5-foot-9, 170 pound signee is feisty in coverage and has a knack for the big play despite the diminutive size, but I still think he’s a year away from any real big-time contributions.

Stinson was the 484th overall prospect in the 2022 class and the No. 21 player in Alabama.

3-star RB Quinshon Judkins

Next to Igbinosun, Judkins is probably the true freshman who will play the most in 2022. The Pike Road, Ala., recruit has been arguably the most impressive newcomer in fall camp and will absolutely play alongside transfers Ulysses Bentley and Zach Evans. The 5-foot-11, 210 pounder looks like a junior with the pads on and could contend for Freshman All-SEC notoriety. The First Team All-State Selection, Offensive Player of the Year and AHSAA 5A State Championship Game MVP ran for 4,220 yards over high school career and is receiving high praise from literally everyone inside the locker room.

Judkins was the 493rd overall prospect in the 2022 class and the No. 23 player in Alabama.

Quinshon Judkins
Ole Miss running back Quinshon Judkins

3-star OL Cam East

The Marrero, La., offensive tackle has a towering presence in Ole Miss’ offensive line room but will most likely receive a redshirt in 2022. East is already tipping the scales at 280 pounds and should benefit from a year with offensive line coach Jake Thornton and continued work with Savage in the weightroom.

East was the 554the overall prospect in the 2022 class and the No. 27 player in Louisiana.

3-star WR Larry Simmons

After losing their top three pass catchers from 2021, wide receivers coach Derrick Nix had his work cut out for him to replace the departing production. Ole Miss has added a few notable transfers but Simmons is bucking his head as well in the rotation, vying for touches this season. The early enrollee from Moss Point, Miss., has recently earned praise from insiders for his mature route running and strong hands. If no one else in the room steps up, Nix could throw the 6-foot-1, 190 pound receiver in the mix to see what he’s made of.

Simmons was the 610th overall prospect in the 2022 class and the No. 15 player in Mississippi.

Larry Simmons
Larry Simmons

3-star OL Flip Carswell

Much like East, Carswell’s problem isn’t the frame. The Tennille, Ga., offensive lineman is as well-built a freshman as you can get (6-foot-7, 275 pound) who just started playing football barely two years ago. He is most likely set for a redshirt season as he continues to fine tune his technique and grow inside the Ole Miss program, literally and figuratively.

Carswell was the 636th overall prospect in the 2022 class and the No. 64 player in Georgia.

3-star LB Tyler Banks

Speaking of well-built, Banks arrived at Ole Miss standing 6-foot-3 and weighing in at 235 pounds. The Blackstone, Va., prospect did it all in high school and helped Nottoway (Va.) to an 11-1 record and a VHSLA 2A quarterfinals appearance playing quarterback, running back, tight end, linebacker and even kicker. I don’t think a redshirt is a possibility here as Banks’ size and speed will get him on the field for special teams work at the very least.

Banks was the 821st overall prospect in the 2022 class and the No. 21 player in Virginia.

3-star OL Preston Cushman

Cushman should join East and Carswell on the sidelines this season with a redshirt in tote. The Rebels beat out Florida for the 6-foot-5, 280 pound lineman and he will be someone to know down the road, but for 2022 he will be in a reserve role or in street clothes.

Cushman was the 913th overall prospect in the 2022 class and the No. 121 player in Florida.

3-star TE Kyirin Heath

If there is another true freshman in this class who will be a factor somewhere for Ole Miss this season it’s Heath. The 6-foot-4, 235 pound recruit is every bit of it and maybe more. Insider sources think Heath could absolutely provide quality depth in the tight end room behind transfer Michael Trigg and returning starter Casey Kelly. If he can learn the basic nuances of pass and run blocking, he could be a name you hear a lot this fall. The pass-catching skills will wow you and the Rebels are looking for someone to provide a dual-threat at the position.

Heath was the 973rd overall prospect in the 2022 class and the No. 143 player in Texas.

3-star LB Trip White

The trend of versatile athletes continues with the Arkansas signee from Little Rock. The 6-foot-4, 205 pound linebacker should continue to add good weight during his time at Ole Miss and use his unique skill set to be a force at the second level in years to come. For 2022, though, I think he will be in the mix on special teams or potentially earning a redshirt in order to keep him body ready to take the next step in 2023. As a senior, White threw for 2,035 yards and 19 touchdowns while also running for 445 yards and seven touchdowns. You can only keep those types of players off the field so long.

White was the 1094th overall prospect in the 2022 class and the No. 15 player in Arkansas.

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