Mississippi landed the top prize of the 2013 recruiting class on National Signing Day, with heralded defensive end Robert Nkemdiche announcing he will play for the Rebels on Wednesday.
Nkemdiche, considered the nation's No. 1 overall prospect by Rivals.com and several other scouting services, chose Ole Miss over fellow SEC members LSU and Florida during an early morning press conference held at the auditorium of Grayson High School in Loganville, GA.
The signing of Nkemdiche, a 6-foot-5, 260-pound 18-year-old, a two-time High School All-American who amassed 43 sacks during his prep career, kicked off what's shaping up as a banner day for the rising Ole Miss program. The Rebels will also be bringing in two other five-star talents in previously undeclared offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Laquon Treadwell to a crop that's now rated among the 10 best in the country.
Tunsil, a native of Lake City, FL tabbed by Rivals as the best available offensive tackle and No. 14 overall, selected Ole Miss over two-time defending BCS champion Alabama and Georgia. Treadwell, from Crete, IL, is listed fifth in Rivals' top 100 and the top wideout prospect.
Nkemdiche had initially verbally committed to Clemson before reopening his recruitment in the fall. A strong factor in his selection of the Rebels, who are coming off a 7-6 season capped by a victory in the BBVA Compass Bowl in head coach Hugh Freeze's first year, was the presence of his older brother, Denzel, a starting linebacker for Ole Miss who garnered several Freshman All-America honors this past season.
Ole Miss sported the No. 7 overall recruiting class according to Rivals.
"I think today has the possibility of being a program changer," Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said. "Obviously, it's all on paper right now. We'll start having to manage expectations now. We'll still be in the second year of our journey together, but I do think we took a huge step forward today on that journey toward being where we all want to be, and that's competing for an SEC West championship. We're thrilled with today."
Two-time defending national champion Alabama topped the rankings, followed by Ohio State, Notre Dame, Florida and Michigan.
It's the fifth time in six years that the Crimson Tide have won the Rivals.com recruiting crown.
The Gators' haul is headlined by Tampa defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III, No. 2 overall in Rivals' top 100. Notre Dame has received a commitment from the nation's third-ranked player, linebacker Jaylon Smith of Fort Wayne, IN. Defensive end and No. 4 recruit Carl Lawson of Alpharetta, GA, chose Auburn.
The top-ranked quarterback, Max Browne of Sammamish, WA, picked Southern California.