Ole Miss recruiting classes looking up after early rounds of the MLB Draft

Published 12:27 pm Monday, June 17, 2019

By Nathanael Gabler

Oxford Eagle

The Ole Miss baseball team may have lost four key cogs in the opening rounds in the 2019 MLB Draft, but the situation could not have been much better on the recruiting front.

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Every year, baseball recruiting is a balance. Coaches seek to get the best players they can sign, but keep in mind whether or not they will come to school. It’s rare for a first-round pick from high school to turn down three-or-more million dollars in the draft to enroll in college.

This year, it seems Ole Miss has avoided this issue all together. Mike Bianco and Co. signed three, five-star prospects and one four-star. None of the four have been drafted, almost certainly because MLB teams have been informed they will play in Oxford.

The prized possession of the class is two-sport athlete Jerrion Ealy. As first reported by ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren on Tuesday, Ole Miss baseball and football signee Jerrion Ealy will officially be a mainstay at Ole Miss.

The baseball and football star notified teams that he plans to stay at Ole Miss after not being selected in the first round in the MLB Draft. Arizona drafted him in the 31st round regardless, taking a long-shot flier on thee two-sport star.

Ealy was at one point ranked in the MLB Pipeline top-20 but fell out of the top-50 as the draft approached due to teams fearing they may not be able to sign him. He was also the third-best running back recruit in the nation.

The Jackson Prep product tweeted Tuesday afternoon in support of Ole Miss. “HYDR!!!” the tweet read. An abbreviated “Hell Yeah, Damn Right,” the acronym derives from a line in the Ole Miss “Hotty Toddy” chant.

Ranked as the No. 19 overall player in the 2019 football recruiting class by ESPN, Ealy was the top-rated player in the state of Mississippi. He arrived on campus earlier this week to begin getting his feet wet in the Ole Miss backfield at running back. Despite being a freshman, the highly-touted prospect will likely make an immediate impact in both sports.

Outside of Ealy, Ole Miss baseball scoop in other talented players, namely catcher Hayden Dunhurst and infielder Connor Walsh. Both were five-star recruits and ranked inside the top-125 on the MLB pipeline entering the draft. Dunhurst and Walsh both fit in at key positions of loss, as  Rebel shortstop Grae Kessinger and catcher Cooper Johnson were both drafted in the first two days.