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June 29, 2008Ole Miss is looking for help from the junior college ranks for help along the offensive line with the departure of All-American left tackle Michael Oher after this fall, and while they may have lost out on one target over the last week, the staff may be zeroing in on another.
Ole Miss had offered Navarro (Texas) C.C. offensive lineman Roy Watts, a former Texas signee who recently committed to Houston.
Watts confirmed on Friday that he had committed to Houston, citing location, and that he hadn't heard anything recently from Ole Miss, as reasons for making the verbal pledge to the Cougars.
"I don't know what happened with Ole Miss," Watts told RebelSports.net on Friday. "I thought everything was looking good and I was really interested in them. I had talked to (former teammates) Jevan (Texas transfer Jevan Snead) and Gerald (Ole Miss signee from Navarro Gerald Harris) and they were telling me it was really good."
Watts said that he is "firm with Houston," but said he might still take an official to Ole Miss if they start recruiting him hard.
Meanwhile, Coffeyville (Kansas) C.C. offensive lineman James Carpenter, a 6-foot-5, 305 pound former Iowa State says he's seriously entertaining Ole Miss' recent offer.
"Ole Miss offered me about a month ago," Carpenter said on Sunday afternoon. "I talked with Coach (Mike) Markuson (Rebel offensive line coach) last week. He's just trying to get things organized where I can take a trip down there and check it out."
Carpenter, who is from Hephzibah, Ga. (near Augusta), was a two-star prospect coming out of high school and his only Division I offer was from Iowa State, along with several Division IAA offers.
However, the prospect has flourished at Coffeyville C.C. He as named first team all-conference and a Region Six All-American after his freshman season last fall.
He said Iowa State offered "way back" and since Ole Miss has offered, Oklahoma State has also joined the mix.
"I took an unofficial visit to Oklahoma State about two weeks ago," Carpenter said. "I really liked it. The facilities look good and I really like the coaches. I had a long talk with the offensive line coach."
It's the coaches at Ole Miss that are making the difference to put the Rebels in the running for Carpenter.
"I know their coaches came from Arkansas and they're in the SEC - the best conference in the nation. From talking with Coach Markuson, I know that he knows what he's talking about and he'll train me hard."
"When it comes to Ole Miss, I'm pretty serious. I really like the coaches."
Carpenter said he won't make his decision until after he takes his official visits, which cannot be taken until after Sept. 1.
Unfortunately, for the three teams recruiting Carpenter, Coffeyville doesn't have a bye week on a schedule that begins Aug. 30 and runs straight through Nov. 1 - with the potential for playoffs extending that for several weeks.
As a 2007 signee who enrolled in junior college that fall, Carpenter has three years to play two after playing this fall.
He projects as a December graduate.