The Rebels picked up their seventh commitment overall, and the sixth from Mississippi, on Wednesday in Greenwood, Miss., wide receiver Sammie Epps. Ole Miss was Epps’ only offer, though he was receiving interest from Mississippi State and LSU, as well.
Epps joins fellow Mississippians D.K. Buford (Oxford), C.J. Hampton (Meridian), Tyler Putman (Southaven) and Ronald Walker and Dayall Harris, both of Jackson.
“It is good to be a Rebel right now,” Epps said. “I’ve been liking Ole Miss since elementary school. My dream finally came true. I couldn’t waste no time. I just said yes.”
His love for Ole Miss can be traced back to his cousin, Mario Hill, who starred for the Rebels as a wide receiver in the early 2000s. Actually, Hill, a Meridian, Miss., native, was the leading receiver for Ole Miss in 2004 and 2005, when he caught 36 passes for 426 yards and 34 passes for 524 yards, respectively.
He finished his career with 73 catches, 980 yards and two touchdowns.
“Ole Miss was my first offer and my only offer,” Epps said. “I’ve been to the campus several times. I like the environment and everything. I have family (Hill) that played at Ole Miss. They just told me it’s a good school to be at.”
A big-bodied wide receiver, Epps could figure in to the Ole Miss offense as a possession receiver or in the slot. He joins a team that finished in the top half of the Southeastern Conference in passing last season.
“I consider myself a third-down target and a big receiver,” Epps said. “The thing I want to work on is my foot work and my speed; getting my 40 down.”
Ole Miss finished 7-6 last season, which included blowout wins to close the season over in-state rival Mississippi State and Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl in January.
The 2012-13 season was the first for Freeze at Ole Miss, where he engineered a five-game turnaround. The Rebels combined to win six games total in the two seasons prior to Freeze being named head coach.
“He did an excellent job,” Epps said of Freeze and staff. “I love the way he worked the team this year, and to win the Egg Bowl against a Mississippi rival. It’s a team on the rise.”
Ole Miss’ hot start to the 2014 class comes on the heels of the Rebels closing strong and securing a top-10 class in 2013. Epps said he’s currently solid in his commitment to Ole Miss, but he’s not closing the book entirely on the recruiting process.
“It really depends on what goes on,” he said. “But right now, Ole Miss is my home.”