OXFORD, Mississippi — Mississippi went toe-to-toe with college football's biggest programs for some of the nation's elite prospects on Wednesday.
The Rebels won some battles and lost a few others, but still finished with a consensus top 10 class.
Among the coveted pickups: Quarterback Shea Patterson, offensive tackle Greg Little, defensive tackle Benito Jones and receiver A.J. Brown. Patterson and Jones have already enrolled and will go through spring practice.
"We feel like it is from top to bottom the best class we've had — and we've had some good ones," Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said. "But that's just potential. That doesn't mean a whole lot until you get them here to see how their chemistry is and their work ethic."
Ole Miss finished with 24 signees, including eight who have enrolled early.
The Rebels missed on a few of their late defensive targets, including cornerback Shyheim Carter (Alabama) and defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons (Mississippi State).
Ole Miss still managed to grab a considerable amount of talent to replace previous stars like receiver Laquon Treadwell, left tackle Laremy Tunsil and defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche. All three juniors declared for the NFL draft after the Rebels finished with a 10-win season.
Other things to know:
Top 25 Class: Yes
Best in class: Shea Patterson, QB, Shreveport, Louisiana. Freeze said his opinion of Patterson continues to grow now that he's on campus: "I love everything about that kid."
Best of the rest: Greg Little, OL, Allen, Texas. The 326-pound Little could be an immediate replacement for Tunsil at left tackle.
Late addition: A.J. Brown, WR, Starkville, Mississippi. Ole Miss managed to coax Brown away from Starkville, which is the hometown of rival Mississippi State. The Rebels hope Brown can turn into the team's new Treadwell, who had the most receiving yards in the SEC last season.
One that got away: Jeffery Simmons, DL, Macon, Mississippi. Ole Miss had hoped to bolster its defensive line with one of the Magnolia State's top prospects, but Simmons chose Mississippi State over the Rebels and Alabama.
How they'll fit in: Patterson will probably get a year of seasoning behind rising senior Chad Kelly, who threw for more than 4,000 yards last season. Others like Little, Brown and Jones could play right away.
For the full list: http://www.olemisssports.com/