December 10, 2009

Rebels eye Arkansas QB as FB

Ole Miss, with only 22 scholarships available, likely doesn't have the luxury of signing a fullback this year, but the Rebels are pursuing one prospect as a possible walk-on.

Joe Carmical, a 6-foot-2, 225 pound athlete, from Monticello, Ark. is getting interest from the Ole Miss staff, with talks centering around him walking on for the Rebels next summer.

In addition to the Rebel staff recruiting him, Carmical is being recruited by long time friend and teammate, Brishen Mathews, who committed to Ole Miss last summer.

"Yeah, you can say Brishen is recruiting me for Ole Miss," Carmical laughed on Wednesday evening. "He's telling me a lot of good things about Ole Miss, and he'd really like for me to go down there with him."

While Mathews camped at Ole Miss before committing, and then made an unofficial visit for the Rebels' home game against LSU last month, Carmical has never been to the Oxford campus.

And, while a chance to play in the SEC is important to Carmical, it may not be enticing enough for a talented prospect who has other options, including some recent overtures by North Carolina, with former Ole Miss defensive coordinator Art Kaufman, now the Tar Heels' linebackers coach, leading the recruiting efforts.

Carmical visited North Carolina for its game against Miami and Kaufman has visited Carmical at his school, but the Tar Heels have yet to extend an offer.

"It says a lot about a school if they offer," Carmical said. "It shows that you are a priority on the team. I'm just going to have to factor a lot of things in my decision."

For now, Carmical has offers from Arkansas State and Marshall as well as offers from Central Arkansas and the University of Arkansas at Monticello, where Mathews' father is the head football coach.

"I've talked to Coach (James) Shibest about walking on at Ole Miss," he said. "I'm considering my options. It's a pretty interesting situation with Ole Miss, but I had rather be on scholarship."

He said some schools are recruiting him as a linebacker, while Ole Miss thinks he could develop into a fullback and Arkansas-Monticello wants him as a quarterback.

In fact, Carmical didn't do too bad as a quarterback for the Arkansas 5A champion Monticello Billies in the season just completed.

He finished the season with a quarterback passing efficiency of 204, completing 65 of 109 passes for 1,193 yards with 19 touchdown passes against just three interceptions. He also ran for 1,237 yards and another 20 touchdowns in Monticello's flexbone (option) offense.

"He is the best quarterback I've ever seen on any level - high school or college," Brishen Mathews said. "He's just a natural leader on the field."

In addition to his achievements on the field, Carmical is an outstanding student, who has already scored 30 on his ACT, which could go along way in helping to pay his cost of tuition should he decide to walk-on at Ole Miss or elsewhere.

"I'm just going to have to look at the situation," he said. "If there are two schools of the same size, and one offers and the other one doesn't, I'd go with the school that offered. I'd commit to North Carolina right now if they offered. I got to meet with some players and coaches and see the facilities - it was real nice up there. But I think they are only going to sign like 18, so I don't know how that's going to work out."

Carmical said he plans to take official visits to Louisiana Tech and Central Arkansas and currently doesn't have a visit lined up to Ole Miss, but wouldn't discount that possibility next month.

The Rebels lose starting senior fullback Andy Hartmann, a former walk-on himself, and have several players on the team who could get a look there, including former tight end signee E.J. Epperson, among others. Redshirt freshman H.R. Greer has been the only true fullback signed in Houston Nutt's first two signing classes at Ole Miss, and he is getting a look at linebacker, although he did play a few snaps at fullback for the Rebels this season.



 

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