As you may or may not know, the Ole Miss Rebels football program is under the NCAA microscope. They’re getting hit with a host of charges (21 in all), and have already taken a bowl ban for 2017. If the Rebels have to miss the 2018 postseason as well, that opens the door for transfers without penalty.
While we’re not celebrating Ole Miss’s downfall, it would also be foolish for the Syracuse Orange not to explore potential transfer options if it can. Despite Ole Miss raking in four- and five-star recruits from all around the Southeast, Syracuse has offered some of those players in recent years.
We take a look at those Rebels players who were targeted by SU in the past -- or those from the Northeast — and evaluate if any could make their way up to Central New York.
Class of 2016
Jacob Mathis, tight end
The four-star Tampa product received a ton of offers, so Syracuse would have to get in line. But with local players already on the roster, and a large Florida pipeline in general, SU’s chance to jump in right away could appeal to Mathis. It would also give Aaron Hackett more time to develop behind JUCO transfer Ravian Pierce.
Myles Hartsfield, safety
Hartsfield’s an athletic (high) three-star DB from New Jersey who generated interest around the Northeast back in 2015, then again after he spent a year in post-grad school. He played as a freshman for Ole Miss last year, collecting 43 total tackles. He’s a proven entity at the collegiate level. But that would also mean there’s more competition for his services. SU’s sell is being closer to home, if that’s a priority for him.
Tre Nixon, wide receiver
Syracuse wasn’t involved the first time around, but the speedy Florida product could be a perfect fit at inside receiver for the Orange. Like some others from the Sunshine State, this is about fit and the large number of Florida players on the roster more than a previous relationship with the staff.
Donta Evans, linebacker
Evans is from Lawrenceville, Ga. — the same area as current Orange linebacker Jonathan Thomas. He also plays the inside spot, which is going to become a larger position of need after this season when seniors depart. If there was any chance to sell him on CNY, it would be Thomas. The former three-star would also have the promise of playing pretty quickly.
Class of 2015
Austrian Robinson, defensive tackle
Robinson was a high three-star kid coming out of Pawling, N.Y. Despite offers from closer-by options, though, he headed down to Ole Miss. He redshirted in 2015, and played in just four games in 2016. Whether he wants to head back home or just get more playing time, the Orange are an option (and did offer him back in 2015 too).
Kamden Darney, long snapper
Darney’s a walk-on, but also has Syracuse ties — his brother, Keaton, is also a walk-on and appeared during the 2016 season. The Orange don’t necessarily need a long snapper at the moment, but if he has other talents along the line, he could help out in a pinch. He’s a California native, so he’s already used to being far from home, too. Kamden also wants to be a broadcast journalist (hey, we produce those!).
Not a long list, but a list nonetheless. To be honest, the hope is that Ole Miss can just serve its time and move on without losing any players. But in the case that they can’t just do that in the eyes of the NCAA, there are definitely some players that give SU an opportunity to improve the roster.