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February 15, 2010
Signing day analysis: Defensive line
(Editor's note: For six years, Dave Childers has provided a position by position analysis beginning the day after National Signing Day. In an eight part series, he breaks down the class for RebelSports.net. A look has been provided for quarterbacks, tight ends running backs, wide receivers, linebackers, the offensive line, and defensive backs (see links below) and today the series concludes with a look at the defensive line.
The skinny … The loss of several key defensive linemen made finding quality replacements a priority for the 2010 signing class and Ole Miss hauled in a bumper crop. The defensive line play has been a major strength for the team over the last three seasons, and the thought among fans may have been that the departure of key linemen, like Greg Hardy, Marcus Tillman, and Emmanuel Stephens, would result it the line becoming an area of concern for next season, but Houston Nutt, Terry Price and Tyrone Nix made sure on signing day that the Rebels will be in good shape next fall.
While the loss of Hardy, Tillman and Stephen will be felt, the Rebels return a nice mixture of returning talent, inbound high school prospects, and a key junior college signee. The inside (defensive tackle) looks strong with Ted Laurent, Jerrell Powe, and Lawon Scott all returning for their senior seasons, and defensive end has one solid piece in place with senior Kentrell Lockett. There are young players, with varying degrees of experience, who will compete for playing time, like Gerald Rivers (6-foot-5, 230 pounds and physically similar to Lockett), Justin Smith and Corey Gaines. Beyond that, the inbound players will get a look with two or three, or even more, getting a chance to win a spot in the rotation. With the Rebels looking for an end to replace Tillman, two key candidates will be Wayne Dorsey, a junior college transfer, and Carlos Thompson, who may need to put on a few pounds between now and the fall, but may be the crown jewel in the signing class who can impact immediately. Miami native Delvin Jones, another Rivals250 star, may have the ability to impact immediately, but must first get his academics in order. There will be less pressure on the Madison Central duo of Bryon Bennett and Carlton Martin and also Mike Thomas, a 2009 signee who attended Hargrave Military Academy last fall, to impact if they are slotted to play inside.
The Rebels had a great signing class when it comes to the defensive line, but will need to add even more prospects in 2011 to offset the loss of the four key seniors (Lockett, Laurent, Scott and Powe).
The ones that got away ... Ole Miss would have loved to have had Mississippi State signee Kaleb Eulls, and made a late push to get the longtime Bulldog commitment on campus for a visit, but it didn't work out. Just how good was the Ole Miss class when it came to getting their targets? The Rebels probably could have landed James Carmon (Mississippi State), Ivan Robinson (Texas A&M) and Byran Jones (Arkansas) - all four star recruits - as well as three star Jeremiah Jackson (Arkansas), had they pushed for them, but was limited in numbers and didn't exceed the six new players they wanted to sign.
Overall assessment ... The Rebels lost some key impact players along the defensive line after last season, but did a great job of re-loading with the addition of six new prospects. For the last few years, Hardy's loss has been dreaded by many Ole Miss fans, but in reality, he stayed injured and missed so much action last fall that his loss will not be as much of an impact as it once looked. Perhaps the bigger loss was Tillman, who has been a consistent and an impact performer for years. Stephens was a contributor on the two deep and perhaps underrated, but the talent and numbers are there to offset his departure. Like several other positions, Nutt and his assistants have managed the roster to the point where there's a nice blend of senior leadership, players who have been in the program a year or two, and inbound prospects where not only does next season look promising, but also the next few seasons.
Bryon Bennett, DL, 6-2, 250, Madison Central (HS), MS. A SuperPrep All-American ... Named to the PrepStar and SuperPrep preseason All-America teams ... Earned first team All-Metro and All-State honors from The Clarion-Ledger and was a first team Class 6A All-State pick by the Mississippi Association of Coaches as a senior ... Rated the No. 38 defensive end in the nation by ESPN.com ... Listed No. 9 on The Clarion-Ledger's Top 10 Most Wanted list ... Ranked the No. 11 player in Mississippi and the No. 33 defensive tackle in the nation by Rivals.com ... Rated the No. 5 player in the state and the No. 56 defensive lineman in the nation by SuperPrep ... Listed as the No. 9 player in Mississippi and the No. 37 defensive tackle in the country by Scout.com ... Ranked the No. 9 player in Mississippi by The Sun Herald ... Helped lead Madison Central to the 6A state semi-final game as a senior ... Participated in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic as a senior ... Rated the No. 12 player in Mississippi by the Mississippi Press ... Recorded 73 tackles and 10.5 QB sacks as a senior ... Posted 72 tackles and 13 sacks as a junior ... Coached in high school by Bobby Hall.
Delvin Jones, DL, 6-3, 230, Miami (Palmetto HS), FL. Named to the PrepStar preseason All-America team ... Earned SuperPrep All-Region honors and was rated the No. 40 player in Florida ... Rated as the No. 32 player in Florida and the No. 32 defensive end in the nation by Scout.com ... Listed as the No. 25 defensive end in the country by ESPN.com ... Earned second team All-Dade honors from the Miami Herald as a junior and senior ... Participated in the Broward vs. Dade All-Star Game ... Recorded 66 tackles and 16 QB sacks as a senior ... Posted 68 tackles and 14 QB sacks as a junior ... Coached in high school by Larry Coffey.
Carlton Martin, DL, 6-2, 270, Madison Central (HS), MS. A SuperPrep All-American ... Named to the PrepStar preseason All-America team ... Selected to the Orlando Sentinel All-Southern team ... Earned first team All-Metro and All-State honors from The Clarion-Ledger and was a first team Class 6A All-State pick by the Mississippi Association of Coaches as a senior ... Ranked the No. 6 player in Mississippi and the No 24 defensive tackle in the nation by Rivals.com ... Rated the No. 8 player in the state and the No. 40 DL in the nation by SuperPrep ... Listed as the No. 7 player in Mississippi and the No 22 defensive tackle in the country by Scout.com ... Rated as the No. 29 defensive end in the country by ESPN.com ... Helped lead Madison to the 6A state semi-final game as a senior ... Totaled 76 tackles and five QB sacks as a senior ... Posted 56 tackles and seven sacks as a junior ... Coached in high school by Bobby Hall.
Carlos Thompson, DE, 6-5, 220, Hollandale (HS), MS. A U.S. Army and SuperPrep All-American ... Named to the PrepStar and SuperPrep preseason All-America teams ... Earned first team All-State honors from The Clarion-Ledger and second team All-State honors from the Mississippi Association of Coaches as a senior ... Named to The Clarion-Ledger's Dandy Dozen team and rated the No. 2 on its Top 10 Most Wanted list ... Rated the No. 3 player in the state and the No. 32 DL in the nation by SuperPrep ... Ranked the No. 4 player in Mississippi, the No. 9 defensive end and the No. 175 player overall in the nation by Rivals.com ... Listed as the No. 4 player in Mississippi and the No. 17 defensive tackle and No. 137 player overall in the country by Scout.com ... Ranked the No. 3 player in Mississippi by The Sun Herald ... Rated as the No. 41 defensive end in the country by ESPN.com ... Totaled 71 tackles and 15 QB sacks as a senior ... Posted 115 tackles and 10 sacks as a junior ... Coached in high school by his father, Carlos Thompson.
Wayne Dorsey, DE, 6-8, 250, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Perkinston, MS. Dorsey was named the No. 1 junior college recruit in the nation by Scout.com and the No.15 JUCO player in the nation by Rivals.com this season. Dorsey led the Bulldogs with 10.0 sacks as a freshman and earned second team preseason All-America honors heading into the 2009 season. A two-sport star at Southwestern High School in Baltimore, Dorsey earned second team All-City honors in basketball from the Baltimore Sun in 2006 after averaging 15 points and 13 rebounds a game as a senior.
2009 Signee - Enrolled in January
Mike Thomas, DT, 6-4, 245, Mobile, Ala. (St. Paul's Episcopal) -- (Note: Thomas attended Hargrave Military Academy last fall). A PrepStar and SuperPrep All-Region selection ... Rated the No. 24 player in Alabama by SuperPrep ... Ranked the No. 47 DE in the nation by Rivals.com, No. 76 by Scout.com and No. 88 by ESPN Posted 110 tackles, 17 TFLs, and 8.5 QB sacks as a junior ... Helped lead St. Paul's to the Class 5A state championship as a junior ... Coached in high school by Mike Bates.