Ole Miss could be in line for some help at fullback courtesy of a close friendship between a current committed prospect and his close friend.
The Rebels picked up a commitment from hard-hitting safety Brishen Mathews from Monticello, Ark., last summer and his teammate, Joe Carmical has been noticed this fall by an Ole Miss coach while scouting Mathews.
"I've had some indirect contact with Ole Miss," Carmical said on Monday evening. "They are talking to my coach about me walking on as a fullback."
Ole Miss' interest has got Carmical's attention, but it could be a tough decision - bypassing offers for a full scholarship - to play at Ole Miss at his own expense.
"Money is really not an issue," Carmical said. "I've got a 30 on the ACT, so there's going to be a lot of academic opportunities as far as paying my own way. I just don't know if I want to go somewhere that I might not get to play much - or not at all as a walk-on - and give up the chance to play a lot at another school."
However, Carmical also knows that as a fullback, that's an area where schools sometimes look to walk-on candidates to fill the position. In fact, Ole Miss' current starting fullback, Andy Hartmann, was initially a walk-on and saw substantial action as a back up to Jason Cook in his earlier years and on special teams before replacing Cook this fall.
Carmical, a 6-foot-2, 225 pound prospect with 4.69 speed, admits that his decision could be influenced by Mathews.
"I live on a farm, it's like a third generation farm, and every summer since Brishen moved here when we were in the eighth grade, he's come out and stayed and worked on the farm," Carmical said. "You can say we are best friends, really close."
There have been occasional rumors that Mathews might re-look his commitment to the Rebels, but Mathews has previously said any rumors are inaccurate and Carmical added to that on Monday.
"I think Brishen is really firm with Ole Miss, I think he's a lock to go there," Carmical said.
In addition to offers from Marshall and Arkansas State, Carmical has offers from the University of Arkansas at Monticello (where Mathews' father is the head coach) and from the University of Central Arkansas.
He's also attracting interest from Mississippi State and Arkansas.
"I got a call from Coach (Tim ) Horton (Arkansas assistant) the other day," Carmical said. "Coach Horton said they had received my senior video and had been hearing that I was really having a good year. We talked for about 15 minutes. It was really good. He said they are re-evaluating me now."
He also visited Starkville for the Bulldogs' game against Florida two weeks ago.
"I was really blown away by the game and how well they played," he said. "I was also surprised about how interested the coaches seemed in me. They talked to me a lot and told me the biggest thing they were trying to figure out is where I could play if I signed with them."
Carmical's best position at the collegiate level is certainly debatable. Rivals.com has him listed as an inside linebacker, and Carmical said both Arkansas State and Marshall have offered at that position. Ole Miss is looking at him as a fullback, and Mississippi State is even thinking about giving him a look at quarterback, where he also plays for Monticello in addition to his linebacker duties.
"I've been averaging about eight tackles a game," Carmical said. "I play quarterback and we run the triple option, so I don't throw much. I'd say about every other time I throw, it goes for touchdown. But we only throw about three or four times a game."
Carmical said any decision as to his college future is currently on hold.
"We working real hard, practicing until about 6 o'clock," he said. "I really don't have time to think much about recruiting. I'm more focused on winning a state championship."
The same holds true for Carmical when it comes to taking any official or unofficial visits. He said he'll make those decisions after his season.