Monday, January 15, 2007

Rebels on Short List of Top Rated Recruit

The numbers don't sound very gaudy for one of the nation's top prospects, but John Curtis Christian coach J.T. Curtis said take a closer look.
Sure, his prized player, running back Joe McKnight, only rushed for 709 yards as a senior. But he scored 14 touchdowns. And he did it on just 45 attempts.
Now quick, do the math.
"It's right at 15 (yards a carry)," Curtis said. "When we got up in games, Joe was out of the game. He played on a team that was talented and had other good players."
McKnight also caught 24 passes for 735 yards and 13 touchdowns. He averaged 30 yards a reception. In all, McKnight averaged more than 20 yards every time he touched the ball for the New Orleans school.
Ole Miss doesn't need a calculator to gauge its interest during the final month of recruiting. The Rebels, like other elite programs, want his signature on a national letter of intent on Feb. 7.
Ole Miss kicks off recruiting's final month by hosting one of the nation's elite prospects this weekend. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound McKnight is rated No. 1 in the nation by He's also rated No. 4 by and has drawn comparisons to players like New Orleans Saints all-purpose back Reggie Bush and Ohio State's Ted Ginn Jr.
"He's a difference-maker with the ball in his hands or on the other side of the ball," said Scott Kennedy, recruiting analyst for "His size, speed and athleticism is something we saw this year in Teddy Ginn, Jr. ... (Ohio State) got the ball in his hands and used him in as many ways possible. (McKnight) is a very, very similar type of prospect."
The Rebels are on a list that includes big-time suitors like Southern California, LSU, Texas and Notre Dame. Ole Miss is his first trip this month and will be followed by official visits to USC, LSU and Arkansas.
But is McKnight's interest in Ole Miss sincere? Curtis said it is because of his familiarity with Ole Miss running backs coach Frank Wilson, who was a long-time high school coach in New Orleans. There's also a connection with Orgeron, who recruited Louisiana when he was an assistant at USC.
Kennedy believes USC is the leader for McKnight but said "any time you can get them to campus you've got a shot." The publicity will help Ole Miss, which currently has 27 oral commitments, either way.
"It brings a lot to the program," Kennedy said. "Even if you don't get him, there's a bunch of people that say, 'Well, heck, Joe is looking at them. That's a good thing.'"
But make no mistake, the Rebels want McKnight to come to Ole Miss.
Curtis said the running back - who can also play cornerback or safety - probably won't make any decision until close to signing day. But he could take as many as five trips in the next four weeks and will make a splash wherever he lands.
"He's looking forward to it," Curtis said. "It will be his first trip, so he's obviously a little anxious. We sat and talked about the things he needs to be observant of and what to look for and I think he'll do a good job of that."

Here is a list of Ole MIss Signees & Committments:

Mark Jean-Louis
6-3, 325
Cerritos (Calif.) CC
Jamariey Atterberry
5-10, 165
Allen Bell
6-1, 195
Independence (Kan.) CC
Lionel Breaux
5-11, 185
New Orleans McDonogh
Johnny Brown
5-11, 190
Lamar Brumfield
6-2, 235
Compton (Calif.) CC
Larry Dennis
6-2, 265
Compton (Calif.) CC
LeRoy Diggs
5-10, 185
South Panola
Robert Elliott
6-1, 195
Dion Gales
6-7, 288
Mississippi Gulf Coast CC
Jeramie Griffin
6-1, 220
South Panola
Paul Henry
6-7, 265
Ft. Smith (Ark.) Northside
Jamison Hughes
6-1, 200
A.J. Jackson
6-6, 226
College of the Sequoias (Calif.)
Rishaw Johnson
6-4, 320
Hammond (La.)
Ted Laurent
6-1, 285
Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern
Eric Nicks
6-1, 258
Northwest Mississippi CC
Stanley Porter
6-3, 240
West Bolivar
David Rue
6-6, 250
Monroe (La.) Richwood
Justin Sanders
6-5, 276
New Market (Ala.) Buckhorn
Isaiah Smith
6-0, 220
Columbia (Tenn.) Central
Cannon Smith
6-1, 175
Olive Branch
Bradley Sowell
6-7, 345
Chris Strong
6-3, 255
South Panola
Alex Washington
6-5, 360
Monroe (La.) Carroll
Alex Williams
6-5, 300
New Orleans O. Perry Walker
Darnell Williams
6-2, 180
Winter Park (Fla.)
Marshall Williams
6-2, 200
Decatur (Ga.) Southwest Dekalb

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