November 9, 2010

Rebels looking at New York duo for immediate help

Gilbert Pena has only traveled south of the Mason-Dixon Line once in his life.

Pena, a 6-foot-4, 315-pound defensive tackle from Yonkers, N.Y., will be adding to that number soon. And there 's a chance the ASA College standout might need more than on overnight bag.

Pena, who visited North Carolina earlier this season, will take an official visit to Ole Miss on Dec. 4. His immediate thoughts these days are on a looming date with Nassau (N.Y.) Community College, but Pena, who has helped ASA to a 7-2 mark and a No. 19 national ranking, is thinking long-term as well.
Gilbert Pena Dec. 4 to Ole Miss.

"I'm just kind of playing the season and letting the schools contact me," Pena said. "The recruiting thing is new to me, so I'm just letting it come to me."

South Florida has been in contact, as have Oklahoma, Miami (Ohio) and Rutgers. However, Ole Miss has Pena's attention.

"I know depth on the defensive line is going to be diminished because of the four guys that are leaving this year," Pena said, referring to the looming losses of Jerrell Powe, Ted Laurent, Lawon Scott and LaMark Armour. "They're looking for someone to come in right away and play. They jumped in quick."

Pena admitted he's "curious" about his upcoming trip to north Mississippi. He also admitted that getting that far away from home might be a good thing.

"I've never been anywhere but North Carolina," Pena said. "Besides that, I've never been out of the Northeast. It's actually exciting for me. I feel like me getting away from home would allow me to focus on football and school a lot more. I think it would be a good experience to be in the South and in the SEC or the ACC, wherever I land."

NICHOLAS TO JOIN TEAMMATE ON OLE MISS TRIP: Pena will have company on his flight south. ASA College teammate Ivan Nicholas, a safety from Jacksonville, Fla., will also take an official visit to Oxford on Dec. 4, Nicholas said Monday night.

The 5-11, 195-pound Nicholas originally signed with South Florida, but he said Monday he hasn't heard from the Bulls recently. Instead, Ole Miss, Maryland, North Carolina and Central Michigan have jumped into the race for his services.

"Ole Miss told me that they're offering me a full ride to play safety," Nicholas said. "I like the SEC, so that's pretty good to play in that area."

Nicholas is hoping to graduate from ASA College in early January, so he will need to make a college choice soon.

"I'm looking at depth chart as far as playing time," Nicholas said. "I do want to try to make an impact right away. I kind of want to go to a place where I feel like it's the best spot for me and where I feel like my type of play would fit in."

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