BLOG: During his press conference on Monday, new Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said the Rebels needed to address depth issues, specifically along the offensive line and in the defensive secondary. Today the Rebels did just that, signing two offensive linemen and a defensive back from the junior college ranks.
Below is Ole Miss’ release on the signings:
Ole Miss head football coach Hugh Freeze announced the first signees of his Rebel tenure Wednesday, receiving national letters of intent from junior college standouts Darone Bailey, Pierce Burton and Dehendret Collins. All three players will enroll at Ole Miss in January and begin competing in the 2012 season.
“Obviously we filled some need areas particularly on the offensive line and secondary,” said Freeze, who was named the Rebels’ 37th head coach on Dec. 5. “In the short amount of time we had, the results were very, very good.”
A 6-foot-6, 315-pound offensive lineman from Clarksdale, Miss., Bailey earned MAJCC All-State honors as a freshman in 2010 at Coahoma Community College, while injury cut his 2011 season short. He was rated the No. 98 offensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com coming out of East Side High School.
“To get an in-state kid like Darone Bailey is big, not only because of need but for his love for Ole Miss,” Freeze said.
Burton, an offensive lineman from Sacramento, helped lead City College of San Francisco to a perfect 12-0 record and the JC Gridwire national title as a sophomore this season, garnering team offensive MVP accolades. The 6-foot-7, 290-pounder was also a standout defensive lineman and basketball player during his prep days at Rio Americano.
“We hit a home run with Pierce Burton, who was the MVP of the junior college national championship game,” said Freeze.
A two-time MAJCC All-State selection, Collins was a JUCO All-American defensive back this season at Copiah-Lincoln after registering six interceptions and 11 pass breakups as a sophomore. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Meadville native also collected four picks and two touchdowns as a senior at Franklin County High School.
“We expect Dehendret Collins to come in and compete right away and add depth to our secondary,” Freeze said.
— — — PLAYER BIOS — — —
OL Darone Bailey (6-6, 315)
(East Side; Coahoma C.C.)
JUNIOR COLLEGE: Earned second team All-State honors from the Mississippi Association of Junior College Coaches as a freshman … Sophomore season was cut short by season-ending knee injury in September … HIGH SCHOOL: Played at East Side High School … Rated the No. 98 offensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com … Participated in the Bernard Blackwell All-Star game.
OL Pierce Burton (6-7, 290)
(Rio Americano, City College of San Francisco)
JUNIOR COLLEGE: Helped lead squad to 12-0 record, California Junior College state title and JC Gridwire national title as a sophomore … Earned first team All-Conference honors … Named Team Offensive MVP … HIGH SCHOOL: Signed with San Jose State out of high school … Named Rio Americano’s Defensive Lineman of the Year for 2008, helping lead the team to an 8-3 record … Credited with 50 tackles, including 30 solo stops … Second on the team with 5.0 QB sacks … Also lettered in basketball … Finished second on the team in scoring at 14.7 ppg and first in rebounding at 8.7 rpg in 2009.
DB Dehendret Collins (5-11, 175)
(Franklin County; Copiah-Lincoln C.C.)
JUNIOR COLLEGE: Earned second team NJCAA All-America honors … A first team NJCAA Region 23 and Mississippi Association of Junior College Coaches All-State selection … Registered six interceptions and 11 pass breakups as a sophomore … Named second team All-State by the MAJCC as a freshman … HIGH SCHOOL: Totaled four interceptions and two TD returns as a senior … Earned first team 3A All-Region and second team All-Metro honors from the Natchez Democrat. (December 21, 2011)