Ole Miss and Mississippi State are no strangers to battling on the field, but the spirited rivalry on the recruiting trail is an aspect of the rivalry that had been missing to a degree in the past few years. With both teams poised for sustained success so long as Hugh Freeze and Dan Mullen are in place, the top recruits in the state will be faced with a difficult decision.
One of the state’s top players is Keontre Anderson (Canton, Miss. Canton), who finds himself in the middle torn between the two Magnolia State programs as the Rebels and Bulldogs fight over the three-star defensive end. Ranked as the No. 12 prospect in the state according to 247Sports composite rankings, the 6-4, 230-pound end has the two programs in the state as his co-leaders.
He also holds an offer from Tennessee giving him three SEC programs, in addition to Memphis, who covet the pass-rushing end. Anderson was at Mississippi State’s Junior Day and took an unofficial visit on Mar. 23, but it’s recent trips to Oxford that lead me to believe he’ll be a Rebel. Anderson was at Ole Miss for their spring game Apr. 13 and an unofficial visit on May. 18 have me thinking Ole Miss is 1a when he lists his leaders and Mississippi State is 1b.
The confirmation to my speculation will take place in June after he camps at both schools, and a commitment could come shortly thereafter. Anderson confirmed to David Anderson of Rebels247 of his intentions to commit in the summer to focus on his senior season.
Anderson is coming off a junior season in which he recorded 122 tackles, 36 tackles for loss, an eye-popping 31 sacks, four forced fumbles and recovered two fumbles. His pass rushing ability at the outside linebacker spot would give the defense an added dimension to complement the work of defensive ends Robert Nkemdiche, Channing Ward and C.J. Johnson in front of him. At State, he would be an excellent complimentary bookend to Chris Jones.
I am predicting him to commit to Ole Miss over Mississippi State because they see Anderson as an outside linebacker, a position he feels most comfortable at, and a spot where he can get early playing time. I’m unsure what position Mississippi State is recruiting him at, but one factor playing against them is former high school teammate and a friend of Anderson’s is incoming freshman, Daronte Bouldin, who was a three-star guard in the Rebels historic 2013 recruiting class.
Recruiting is about relationships more than anything else, and one example of that was evident this past signing day when Laquon Treadwell came to Ole Miss to reunite with his former high school teammate Anthony Standifer.
I think history repeats itself with Anderson in following his friend to Oxford.