February 27, 2009

Rebels try to dip into Oklahoma again

This past December, Ole Miss dipped into Mustang, Okla., for an offensive lineman.

The Rebels are now trying to pull off a repeat performance. This time, however, the prospect is very much on the national radar and the competition is, to say the least, steep.

Ole Miss signed Logan Clair in December. The former Mustang, Okla., offensive tackle spent the past two seasons at Northeast Oklahoma A&M College before moving to Oxford in January. Now the Rebels are jumping in the mix for Mustang, Okla., offensive tackle Bronson Irwin.

Ole Miss offered a scholarship to Irwin earlier this week, joining a group that includes Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tulsa, Oregon, Alabama and Arizona, among others.

"I e-mail every now and then with (Ole Miss offensive line) Coach (Mike) Markuson and (Wednesday) he wanted me to call him and when I did, he offered me a scholarship," Irwin said. "It's exciting every time you get one. I want to get down there and see what the program is like. I'm not familiar with it, obviously, but I want to see what all the programs offering me are like."

Irwin, a 6-foot-5, 322-pounder, said he knows precious little about the Rebels' program.

"I know that Logan's going there," Irwin said. "He's from Mustang. I saw Ole Miss play Arkansas this season (in Fayetteville, Ark.). That was a pretty impressive win."

Mustang coach Ty Prestidge said Irwin is "really trying to stay open. That's a discussion we've had. His parents want him to keep an open mind. He's a sharp kid, asking questions about education and stuff. I think he'll make up his mind later down the road."

Irwin reiterated his coach's comments. Despite the proximity to the Oklahoma campus in Norman (about 30 minutes from Mustang), Irwin said he's not a sure thing for the Sooners.

"It's tough, but if Oklahoma or Oklahoma State or somewhere close isn't the place for me, it's not the place for me," Irwin said. "It really just comes down to me finding the right program and where I'm comfortable and where I fit in the offense."

Irwin said he plans to attend football camps close to home, likely at Oklahoma and perhaps at Tulsa, but as for the rest of his summer travel plans, "I really haven't planned it all out yet," Irwin said. "I'm going to try to visit as much as I can, because that will make it easier to make my decision. I really don't have a whole lot of my summer plans."

On the field, Prestidge said, Irwin is emerging as a potential star after helping lead Mustang to a 12-1 campaign in 2008.

"He's a real big kid," Prestidge said. "He moves real well. He just turned 17 last week. He hadn't even thought about shaving yet. He's going to get a lot better. He's a dood kid from a good family. He makes good grades. He's about everything you'd want in a college athlete coming to campus. Athletically, he's got good feet and this year, he began to play real well with his hands. We look forward to just a great year from him next year."

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