December 5, 2010

Rebels land commitment from juco cornerback

Wesley Pendleton didn't play football for the first time until the 11th grade.

The Natchez, Miss., native was a track star then. Football was an afterthought. The game, however, came naturally.

On Sunday, what was once a hobby of sorts became a path to a potential Southeastern Conference starting job.

Pendleton, who spent the past two seasons at Copiah-Lincoln (Miss.) Community College, committed to Ole Miss. A December graduate, Pendleton will enroll at Ole Miss in January and go through spring drills with the Rebels.

"It felt good," Pendleton said Sunday, shortly after meeting with Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt. "The coaches said they are counting on me already. …It feels great. When I first started, I didn't think I would be taking football past my senior year. Now I'm just happy.

"They said they're not bringing me in to redshirt or sit on the bench. They said they're bringing me in to win a job. They said one of the downfalls this team is corner and Coach Nutt said I can help immediately."

Pendleton, a 5-foot-11, 180-pounder who claims a 4.37-second 40-yard dash, chose Ole Miss over Louisiana Tech and Ohio. Utah was also heavily involved in his recruiting. Pendleton said his official visit made Ole Miss impossible to beat.

"They're great," Pendleton said. "They make you feel at home. I enjoyed them. They're fun. You just have to love them. Coach Nutt is a good man. He showed us around town, showed us his house, made us feel at home. It feels like family.

"I think I'll be able to help the team and do what it takes to get back to the winning program Ole Miss really is. I'm just ready to ball out.

Pendleton said Nutt will visit him and his family in Natchez on Wednesday, and then Pendleton will bring his mother to Oxford Friday or Saturday. Pendleton said he spent most of the weekend with fellow Natchez native/Ole Miss wide receiver Ja-Mes Logan and Rebel defensive end Kentrell Lockett.

"I felt welcome and I grew up with Ja-Mes," Pendleton said. "I felt like I was at home."

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