Wednesday, February 6, 2013
No. 1 OT Tunsil chooses Ole Miss
By Derek Tyson
LAKE CITY, Fla. -- Five-star tackle Laremy Tunsil (Lake City, Fla./Columbia) has signed his letter of intent to play for the Ole Miss Rebels.
The 6-foot-6, 295-pound athlete announced his decision live on ESPNU on Wednesday morning.
"I'm just trying to start special," Tunsil said. "You know, do something different besides go to Georgia or Alabama."
The No. 5-ranked prospect in the country chose Ole Miss over Georgia and Alabama.
He joins the nation's No. 1 overall prospect, defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, among additions to Ole Miss' class that have helped it move into the top 10.
Tunsil said Ole Miss was a factor long before his official visit to Oxford, Miss.
"It really wasn't the official visit to be honest with you," Tunsil said. "Me and Chris Kiffin had a relationship for about a year. He never gave up, he never gave up. I told him that Alabama was on top then I told him that Georgia was on top and he still didn't give up."
What kind of player is Ole Miss getting?
"A hard-working player, who's down and dirty," he said. "But I have to get adjusted to the spread offense."
And how did Rebels coach Hugh Freeze react when he learned what Tunsil's decision would be?
"I told him I wanted to be a Rebel," Tunsil laughed. "He started kissing me."
What is the impact of Tunsil's decision?
What it means for Ole Miss: The addition of Laremy Tunsil was monumental for the Rebels. Ole Miss went toe to toe with SEC powers Georgia and Alabama and was able to land a player who should contribute from the moment he steps on campus. People will speculate that the reason Robert Nkemdiche went to Ole Miss was because of his brother, but with Tunsil the Rebels put in the work to win the top offensive tackle in the country.
What it means for Georgia, Alabama: Alabama already has one of the top offensive lines in the country and the depth to replace its high-profile departures. Tunsil would have been a nice addition, but in the end it wasn't a huge area of need for the Crimson Tide. For Georgia, it stings a little more. The Bulldogs were the team to beat for months and most had Tunsil as a lock for Georgia's class. The Bulldogs have only one other three-star tackle, Aulden Bynum, committed.
Turning point: After his official visit to Georgia, most thought it was a foregone conclusion that Tunsil would be a Bulldog on signing day, but his visit to Oxford on Jan. 25 started to turn the momentum. The Rebels also had the last in-home visit with Tunsil and were ultimately able to persuade him.
Surprise (scale of 1-5): 5. Up until a few weeks ago, no one gave Ole Miss a chance to land Tunsil. The talented left tackle not only spurned his childhood favorite team, Florida, he also turned down the two schools he had in front all along.
Immediate impact (scale of 1-5): 5. Ole Miss has commitments from two other three-star tackles, Daronte Bouldin and Davion Johnson -- and picked up Austin Golson today as well. Tunsil has the size and athletic ability to see the field early and often and don't be surprised if he is starting by the middle of his freshman year.