I’Tavius Mathers used to be verbally committed to Ole Miss.
Then he wasn’t.
Now, following an in-home visit from re-hired running backs coach Derrick Nix, Mathers confirmed on Monday that he has reaffirmed his pledge to the Rebels.
The standout running back from Murfreesboro, Tenn., briefly de-committed from the Rebels last week after having doubts he fit into the wide-open offensive scheme new head coach Hugh Freeze plans to bring with him from Arkansas State.
Those doubts disappeared after Nix’s visit.
“It wasn’t anything to do with the coaching change. I just felt like the offense wasn’t for me from what I was looking at on YouTube. I felt like it didn’t fit me,” Mathers said. “When Coach Nix came down, he showed me a lot of film, a lot of plays and how they use a spread a lot.
“I like to have a lot of space to work with instead of like eight guys in the box.”
The 6-foot, 195-pound Mathers came away from Saturday’s meeting completely sold.
“We talked for a while,” Mathers said, “and then after he left I told my dad that I wanted to re-commit and I was 100 percent sure this time.”
While Mathers and Nix have a preexisting relationship, the recruit said Nix’s hire wasn’t the only reason he rejoined the Rebels’ commitment list.
“It was a good impact for me, but I learned that I don’t go to a college just for a coach,” he said. “Coach Nix and I have a pretty good relationship.”
Aware of depth
When Mathers re-committed to Ole Miss he was well aware of Ole Miss’ depth at running back.
With seniors Brandon Bolden and Enrique Davis departing the program, and the future of Jeff Scott still undetermined, Mathers could compete for playing time from Day 1.
Ole Miss also has running backs Jaylen Walton of Memphis and Kenno Loyal (Decatur, Ga.) verbally committed.
Mathers is so confident in his commitment that he has canceled all of his other official visits and only plans to officially check out Ole Miss on Jan. 20.
While Mathers was uncommitted, he heard the most from Vanderbilt, South Carolina, North Carolina and Auburn, his dream school growing up.
Mathers can officially sign with Ole Miss on National Signing Day on Feb. 1.
Mathers is considered a 4-star recruit and the No. 16 running back nationally by Rivals.com. Scout.com considers Mathers a 3-star recruit and has him ranked as the No. 36 running back in the country.
As a junior, Mathers was named Tennessee’s Gatorade Player of the Year after rushing for 2,614 yards and 29 touchdowns. Mathers rushed for 2,253 yards and 27 scores this season.
LB says goodbye to Rebs
Ike Spearman (St. Johns, Ind.) has told the Rebels he is no longer committed to the program according to Rivals.com.
The 6-foot-1, 220-pound linebacker had committed to Ole Miss in October. (January 10, 2012, Page 9)