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Ole Miss receives two key commitments on defense for 2021

The Ole Miss defense continues to bolster its ranks for the 2021 season and beyond.

Last Friday, Lane Kiffin and his staff received good news from two key recruits in Georgia and Florida over the span of a little over an hour apart.

The Rebels got their first commitment from a defensive lineman in three-star defensive end Jibran Hawkins out of Discovery High School in Lawrenceville, Ga. Ole Missed edged out Mississippi State, Memphis, Arkansas and others who were vying for Hawkins.

During his junior campaign in 2019, Hawkins recorded 30 tackles with 19 of those unassisted. He also had two sacks, one forced fumble and recovered another fumble. Hawkins is also a dual-threat player at Discovery as he had 19 carries for 109 yards and five touchdowns last season.

The eighth commitment for Kiffin’s 2021 class came from south central Florida when defensive back Dink Jackson chose the Rebels late Friday afternoon.

The four-star safety out of Melbourne, Fla. had offers from Florida State, Auburn, Southern California, Tennessee and others. During his junior season at Eau Gallie High School, Jackson recorded 80 tackles, eight sacks, four forced fumbles and one interception. Like Hawkins, Jackson plays on offense where he recorded 465 scrimmage yards and eight touchdowns in 2019.

The two commitments bumped Ole Miss in the recruiting rankings where they have been towards the bottom of the Southeastern Conference during this current recruiting season. With the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing, the NCAA extended the recruiting dead period through Aug. 31, which has made it difficult for coaches to recruit outside of limited contact through phone calls or text messages.