The wait is just about over for two of the most prized in-state recruits Ole Miss gathered this past February.
Jerrion Ealy and John Rhys Plumlee arrived on campus with plenty of buzz after illustrious high school careers on both the gridiron and diamond. This year, they’ll be facing bigger challenges competing in a conference that prides itself on top quality football and baseball.
As far as the preparation that comes with it, not much will change according to Ealy.
“It’s just a continuation. I’ve been doing both sports since I was knee-high,” he said. “It’s one of those things where I never have an offseason. I don’t even know what an offseason feels like. I’m just going to go to one thing, then the other. I’m just going to keep using my opportunities just like I did this past football season.”
Ealy, a Jackson Prep product, is the lone five-star enrollee in this year’s freshman class and was one of the few to ever be named to both the Under Armor All-America football and baseball game.
Although a pro baseball career came calling after signing with Ole Miss, he turned down the MLB draft to play in college and pursue a degree to chase his dream job.
“It just mattered on the best option for me. I wanted to come here to play two sports that I played my entire life and love dearly while also pursue my dream of being an orthodontist. That’s my main thing,” Ealy said.
Now that the weight of the MLB draft is off Ealy’s shoulders, he’ll look to sharpen his game along side another dual-sport teammate in freshman quarterback John Rhys Plumlee.
“It’ll make BP a lot easier, not having to use a tee all the time,” Ealy said with a smile. “Having (Plumlee) there is going to be phenomenal. We’re going to grow together through the ups and down. It’s a perfect combination.”
Plumlee, like Ealy was another highly touted football and baseball player out of Oak Grove High School near Hattiesburg. The former four-star football prospect is projected to be a in the hunt for the backup position behind Matt Corral.
“I’m here to play quarterback. There was a lot of speculation in my recruiting about what position I wanted to play, but later on I said I really wanted to play quarterback and I went away from schools that didn’t want me as a quarterback.”
Matt Corral said it hasn’t taken long for Plumlee to showcase his raw athleticism that can translate from behind the center to the base pads.
“He’s a heck of an athlete. He runs like a 4.3,” Corral said. “Honestly, he could play slot (receiver). There’s no intention of him playing slot, but if he wanted to play slot he could play slot.”
Plumlee is planning to take every opportunity to balance his game in both realms when spring rolls around like.
“This summer when I had free time from football, I was taking some time to hit in the cages to get to know those guys,” he said. “The spring is really where I have to start balancing my time really well and work hard to stay on top of that. It’ll be a ‘go with the flow’ type thing,”
Joshua Clayton contributed to this story.