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January 8, 2009

Ole Miss eyes Georgia OL

Ole Miss appears to be focusing on several key athletes as the Rebels look to fill their remaining five or six positions that are expected to round out the 2009 signing class.

And, while Ole Miss is in the mix for five-star Hargrave Military Academy offensive linemen Bobby Massie, Rebel offensive line coach and running game coordinator Mike Markuson is busy in search of offensive linemen who may have been overlooked.

The Rebels lose All-American left tackle Michael Oher, sixth year senior Darryl Harris, and blue collar lineman Maurice Miller to graduation. While there's some talent on hand to offer immediate assistance, like redshirt sophomore-to-be Bradley Sowell and junior Reid Neely, the Rebels need a handful of prospects for depth.

Already committed are two three-star prospects who meet the eye test to excel in the SEC -- 6-foot-5, 280 pound Emmanuel McCray, who really took on the look of an SEC lineman from junior day last spring to last fall, and 6-foot-6, 310 pound Michael Brown. Already signed and set to go through spring practice is Logan Clair, a 6-foot-5, 305 pound lineman who finished junior college last month. A fourth offensive line prospect is Aaron Schulte, who committed a couple of months ago but is rumored to be an academic risk when it comes to finishing the required coursework to play in the SEC.

Markuson is eyeing one additional prospect, Evan Swindall, a 6-foot-3, 280 pound center, who is currently committed to Central Florida.

Swindall played his junior season at Spain Park in Hoover, Ala. and then transferred to Georgia's Lafayette High School for his senior season. His father, Perry Swindall, is the head coach at the Walker County school, which is located in Northwest Georgia not far from the Alabama state line. It was the third school for Swindall in as many years - he played at Russellville (Ala.) High School as a sophomore.

"My tenth grade year I played center and at Spain Park I played guard," Swindall said. "This year I played tackle. I can play all the line positions. I think after (my junior year) my run blocking really improved and I think that's my strength right now. I'm okay at pass blocking, but I haven't given up a sack in two years."

Perhaps that's the versatility that Markuson is looking for, and when he called Swindall about two weeks before the Ole Miss - Mississippi State game and suggested Swindall take an unofficial visit for the Egg Bowl, Swindall jumped at the opportunity.

"It was nice, real nice," Swindall said on Wednesday evening. "I got to go to the game, toured the facilities like the IPF and got the chance to meet coach Markuson. He's nice and it was a great visit."

While Ole Miss is yet to offer, Swindall said that Ole Miss remains in contact and that he talked to Markuson two days ago.

"He's just staying in touch," Swindall said.

In addition to the UCF offer, Swindall said he recently picked up an offer from Middle Tennessee. He also has offers from Division I-AA schools South Alabama and Georgia Southern.

For now, Swindall remains committed to Central Florida and hasn't worked out the details of an official visit to Ole Miss or another school at this time.

"I think I'm caught up in a numbers situation with Ole Miss," Swindall said. "I'm not sure if they want me to come up for a visit, or if they'll have a place for me in their class."

So, what happens if Ole Miss finds a space - will Swindall de-commit and take the Ole Miss offer?

"I dont know," Swindall said. "I'll cross that bridge when I come to it."



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