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December 14, 2008Ole Miss got a chance to make an impression on Butler Community College wide receiver Tyrece Gaines this weekend, but will have to wait another week before Rebel coaches know if their effort was good enough.
Gaines, a 6-foot-2, 225 pound receiver and rated four-stars by Rivals.com, is down to Oklahoma, Ole Miss, and Oregon.
He visited Oklahoma last month and is scheduled to make a trip to visit the Ducks next weekend.
"I'm just down to those three and don't want to say I have a favorite right now," Gaines said while waiting on a flight after finishing his official visit. "I"m going to take the last trip next weekend then I'll have a decision the week after that."
Gaines is projecting as a December graduate and could sign with the Division I school of his choice during the early signing period later this month.
Ole Miss appears to have a legitimate shot at landing Gaines' signature.
"I'm looking for a place that is family oriented and has the facilities and where I'd fit it," Gaines said. "Ole Miss is in the SEC and offers all of that. I could see myself fitting in there."
Gaines was allowed to watch one of the Rebels' practices as they prepared for a showdown on Jan. 2 with No. 8 Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl.
"I really liked the way they practiced," he said. "I watched a lot of the one on one battles and it was interesting. There's some competition there, some jawing, and I liked that."
Also not lost on Gaines was who was throwing the ball to the receivers - honorable mention All-SEC quarterback Jevan Snead.
"He's definitely a great quarterback," Gaines said. "He's got good feet and a strong arm and he's accurate and can put the ball where receivers can catch it. That's all you can ask for as a wide receiver."
Gaines got to see some of the Rebels' wide receivers and he noticed a size difference between himself and many of the wide receivers.
"I'm about 6-foot-2 and up to 225 pounds, bigger than a lot of their wide receivers," he said. "My time is listed at 4.4 by schools and on the internet, and that's okay, but I'm a below 4.4 guy. I can't wait for coaches to put the clock on me - they'll see."
In addition to his time with escort Markeith Summers, Gaines also got to spend time with Ole Miss coaches.
Gaines knew Rebel tight ends coach James Shibest, a former head coach at Butler, who is recruiting Gaines, but on the trip he also got to meet wide receivers coach Ron Dickerson, Jr. and Ole Miss recruiting coordinator Chris Vaughn.
"I really like coach Dickerson," Gaines said. "He's really family and team oriented and he stressed to me that he could help me on the field, but he'd also help me off the field."
Gaines played high school ball at Norcross, GA., an Atlanta suburb, due to what he called a "family situation" but grew up mostly in the Tallahassee area, which is also the hometown of Vaughn.
"Oh yeah, he was really on me," Gaines said. "He was telling me that we are 'T-town' cousins and he really wants me on the team. He didn't leave anything out."
While Ole Miss has a relatively young wide receiver corps, the Rebels are in need of a deep threat with the departure of senior Mike Wallace.
Gaines offers that threat - and he does so with an additional two inches in height and at a weight 45 pounds heavier than Wallace.
Gaines helped Butler to the NJCAA title hauling in 33 passes for 543 yards and nine touchdowns on the season.
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