July 29, 2008

Lone Star safety picks Rebels, Nutt

Houston Nutt always recruited the state of Texas well during his 10 years at Arkansas.

Nutt appears poised to continue that trend in his new gig at Ole Miss.

Back in February, Nutt secured the signature of San Antonio tailback Devin Thomas for the Rebels. He appears poised to land a commitment sometime this month from Lexington, Texas, offensive lineman Michael Brown as well.

On Tuesday, Nutt dipped into Texas yet again, landing a verbal commitment from Fort Worth (Hightower), Texas, safety Dele Junaid. His pledge gave Ole Miss seven verbal commitments for the 2009 signing class and two in the last two days. Memphis (Kingsbury), Tenn., athlete Gabriel Hunter committed to Ole Miss Monday afternoon.

Junaid, who received an offer from Ole Miss on April 21, took an unofficial visit to the Oxford campus last Thursday.

"I liked how it was," Junaid said Tuesday night. "I liked the facilities, the academics, how it was set up and the environment. Even though it was far from home, it felt like a place I could be, so I committed today.

"I talked to all of the coaches. I talked to Houston Nutt, Coach (Kim) Dameron, Coach (Tyrone) Nix, Coach (Chris) Vaughn and probably one more person, if I'm not mistaken. They seemed very happy and very excited."

Junaid, a 6-foot-2, 177-pounder who has already met academic requirements, chose the Rebels over Kansas, Buffalo, Montana State and Louisiana-Lafayette.

"It's over," Junaid said. "I think I'll still get offers, but I'm committed to Ole Miss. I love the school, the tradition, the area, the SEC and Houston Nutt coming in. I just felt like this was a great time to play at Ole Miss."

Junaid had 66 tackles, three interceptions and nine pass break-ups as a junior. He said Ole Miss is recruiting him as a free safety.

"I like playing," Junaid said. "I liked Sean Taylor. That's how I play the game. I basically go all-out every play."

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