Surprise, Surprise

Ole Miss obviously struggled on the field Saturday against Alabama, but not all was lost. The Rebels gained a commitment from Kenno Loyal, the nation's No. 56 rated running back.

"Kenno went over there to the (Ole Miss/Alabama) game yesterday and committed," Columbia (GA) head coach Mario Allen said. "Coaches Terry Price and Chris Vaughn started recruiting him early last winter and did a great job with him. Initially he was leaning towards Auburn, but I think he felt like Ole Miss was more committed to playing him early than the rest of the schools."

The Rebels rough season has not been a negative for Loyal.

"They told him it was going to be a rough season before the season even started so he knew what to expect. I think after he watched that game last night he knew what their coaches were telling him was true and that was that he would have a very good opportunity to play and play a lot next fall over there at Ole Miss. I think that's what persuaded him plus Coaches Price and Vaughn were very consistent in their recruitment with Kenno and their message has been consistent. He can come in there and compete and have a chance to play early."

The Columbia head coach expands on Loyal's decision.

"Ole Miss just believe in his skills. You're talking about a true 5-11", 230-pound back that runs a legit 4.51 forty. I think Kenno was really looking for the place where he could come in and make an immediate impact in the SEC. Alabama is still going to come at him hard. I just got off the phone with them, and they said they were not going to stop recruiting Kenno because he committed to Ole Miss. They still like him a lot. Georgia, Vandy, Kentucky, and Auburn were on him hard early on. I think he wanted to go with an offense that better fits his skills as a north-south runner. Spread offenses tend to go east-west a little more and want the faster little backs. He's a true downhill runner and Ole Miss' offense needs those type of backs. He saw that they don't have one coming back next fall and knew he had an opportunity to be that guy. Coaches Price and Vaughn kept telling him the whole time he could be that guy, and I think after last night he saw it for his own two eyes that he definitely could. They have a good young nucleus there at Ole Miss, and he thinks he can be a big part of building that team back up."

White believes in his Loyal's abilities.

"He's definitely a north-south runner. I think people look at his power and just focus on that but he has great feet for his size. He has great power, speed, vision, and has a very high football IQ. He just picks up on things so quickly. I think that's going to help him out when he gets to Ole Miss. You just have so much to learn on the next level and the guys that can make a quick adjustment are the players who not only have the ability but also have a high football IQ."

Loyal has an impressive offer list.

"Georgia Tech, Florida State, Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina State, Miami, and Auburn all offered. Tennessee was on him early but they pulled out after they got another commitment. I know that Alabama and Georgia are still going to continue to recruit him although he committed to Ole Miss. Neither of them have formally offered Kenno yet but they're coming after him pretty hard."

Where is Ole Miss going to use Loyal? Tailback or fullback?

"Kenno is a guy that can play halfback or even slot receiver because he has such good hands. He's big enough to play fullback at Ole Miss but he's a true running back. You got a kid that is 5-11", 230 that can run in the low 4.5's. He can get the tough yards but once he gets in the open field, Kenno's gone. You can't catch him. That's what surprises people the most. He gets in that open field and he's gone. Kenno is the type of back that can carry it 25 times a game for you. He's a lot like Trent Richardson for Alabama. They both have size, speed, good vision, and are patient runners. They can catch it out of the backfield and are also tremendous blockers. Kenno reminds me a lot of Trent Richardson."

The Decatur, Ga., product rushed for over 1,500 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior, and has over 700 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns through seven games this fall.




Yancy Porter is the Mississippi Scout for Scout.com and he can be reached at yporter@scout.com

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