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'Very bad idea': Several Ole Miss football recruits decommit after Matt Luke is fired

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 12/3/2019 Anthony McDougle, Mississippi Clarion Ledger
a group of people wearing blue: Matt Luke was fired after two seasons as Ole Miss head coach. © Justin Ford, USA TODAY Sports Matt Luke was fired after two seasons as Ole Miss head coach.

Columbia High School senior Kentrel Bullock communicates with fellow Ole Miss football recruits in a group chat.

When Ole Miss fired Matt Luke on Sunday, Bullock saw the news there and on his Twitter timeline. He was heartbroken.

"It was a very bad idea," Bullock said. "He was a people person. He made people feel loved and wanted there."

Without Luke at Ole Miss, Bullock and at least five other recruits have decided to decommit from the Rebels.

Bullock, voted Mr. Football for Class 3A in Mississippi, is rated a four-star recruit by 247Sports and a three-star by Rivals. He has rushed for 1,966 yards and 30 touchdowns to help Columbia reach the 3A South state title game. 

The other players who decommitted publicly were:

  • Eric Reid Jr., a four-star recruit from Louisiana.
  • Jabari Small, of Memphis. His father, Eddie, played wide receiver at Ole Miss from 1990-93.
  • Kyjuan Herndon, of Jacksonville, Florida. Herndon, rated a three-star recruit by 247Sports, rushed for 1,836 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior.
  • Three-star outside linebacker Jaqwondis Burns, of IMG Academy in Florida.
  • Lakevias Daniel, of Jones County Junior College. He is a three-star defensive back.

Small said in a tweet that his decommitment "does not take away the love I have for the coaches, the university and the entire Ole Miss community."

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Horn Lake's Josaih Hayes and Oxford's J.J. Pegues are not committed to any school, but Ole Miss is on their short list.

Hayes, a consensus four-star defensive lineman, was committed to Ole Miss for most of his senior year before reopening his recruitment in October.

Ole Miss, Auburn, Memphis, Mississippi State and Kentucky are his top-five schools. Luke's dismissal doesn't eliminate Ole Miss from the hunt, but Hayes did say he wants to wait and see what happens with the coaching staff.

"I really thought he was doing a good job with the team, he was just playing a lot of freshman," Hayes said. "But I thought the future looked great."

Pegues, a consensus four-star tight end, narrowed his top three down to Auburn, Ole Miss and Alabama in October. He plans to sign on Dec. 18.

Pegues was shocked to hear the school had fired Luke and thought they'd give him more time. 

"I thought they'd give him one more chance now that he's got more players from Mississippi. I think it was a bad decision," Pegues said. "I just feel bad for him and wonder how he's feeling."

Staff reporter Nick Suss contributed to this report.

Follow the Clarion Ledger's Anthony McDougle on Twitter @marquiez1914.

This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: 'Very bad idea': Several Ole Miss football recruits decommit after Matt Luke is fired

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