Ole Miss’ need at offensive tackle and defensive line could be filled from the state’s top-rated junior college football team later this year.
The East Mississippi Lions, ranked No. 1 in the latest JC Gridwire poll, have another talented team led by some sophomores that seemingly every school in America are looking at. Avery Gennesy is a 6-foot-5, 315-pound tackle and native of Southaven. D.J. Pettway is a 6-3, 250-pound end who came to Scooba from Alabama. Ole Miss fans will remember tackle Jarran Reed (6-3, 315) from recruiting last season. Reed was a verbal pledge all the way up until National Signing Day when he ultimately signed with Florida. Reed didn’t gain entrance at UF and returned to EMCC for his final year of eligibility.
Reed said he has been contacted by Ole Miss and is considering a scholarship offer to play for coach Hugh Freeze. Reed is scheduled to graduate this December, which is a plus since he would able to take part in spring practice. Reed, whose Lions defeated Northwest 79-7 Thursday night, said he had gotten better as a pass rusher and stopping the run.
“Last year I kind of took that for granted,” Reed said about not qualifying academically. “I’ve stayed more humble than I was last year, I’ve hit the books hard and I’ve come out harder on the field here too.”
Reed visited Kentucky last weekend when the Wildcats hosted No. 1 Alabama. He and Gennesy and Pettway are scheduled to visit Tennessee this weekend. Reed said that Alabama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Florida, Missouri, Nebraska and Arkansas have all offered him and actively recruiting him. Reed said that the main thing he learned from last year’s recruiting process was to go to a school that really needs him.
“I learned you need to go to a school that you need to play at, go to a place where you can be seen and go to a place that care about your academics,” Reed said.
Gennesy, who plays left tackle for the Lions, came to Oxford for the Rebels’ game with Texas A&M. Gennesy, who also holds an offer from the Aggies, said he knows some Ole Miss players already and feels comfortable with the players and the coaching staff.
“They brought me in as a son, so we’re real cool,” Gennesy said of his relationships and feel at Ole Miss. “(The visit) was good. I was checking out both teams with me being on an Ole Miss visit and having already gone on an Texas A&M visit the week before. It was very fun, an exciting game.”
Pettway, a native of Pensacola, Fla., redshirted at Alabama in 2011 but he played in 12 games for the Crimson Tide during the 2012 season that resulted in a BCS Championship. Pettway was a third-down pass rush specialist at Alabama and the former four-star recruit finished with a sack against Notre Dame in the BCS title game as well as eight total tackles and 2.5 sacks.
Pettway was dismissed from Alabama this past February after being arrested on the charge of second-degree robbery. He doesn’t talk with reporters about his recruitment, but EMCC coach Buddy Stephens feels like Pettway has really made strides as a player and person.
” Everybody goes through things but I’ve been around since probably March and I’m convinced 100 percent that he is the kind of guy you want your daughter to date. I have three daughters. That’s all I can say. He is a guy that’s been in some big ballgames. He and Antoinne Adkins are the only two players, Antoinne played for us in 2011 and hurt his knee last year, that are national champions. They provide a tremendous amount of stability on both sides of the ball to where they’re telling their teammates ‘hey, we got to remember to do this, we got to remember to do that and not get outside ourselves,” Stephens said. “DJ is a good pass rusher who really knows how to use his hands. He’s the kind of guy you want on the big play because he knows how to make them. He plays behind his pads, the attitude he has on the field is contagious and our kids pick up on that.”
For more on the EMCC trio, see next week’s Recruiting Roundup and Idaho Gameday section. (October 18, 2013)