With Ole Miss struggling some on offense early in the season, one area that is sometimes pointed to as affecting the wide receiver corps is the loss of deep threat Michael Wallace, who finished his eligibility after last season.
Wallace, who ran a 4.29 40-yard dash at an NFL Combine and was drafted in the third round by the Pittsburgh Steelers, was the only loss for the Rebels at wide receiver after last year, but no other player on the roster or inbound prospect has been able to provide a consistent deep threat that keeps defenses honest.
That situation likely means that Ole Miss is looking hard at a wide receiver who has the speed to offer that deep threat for next season.
One prospect who is getting a look by Ole Miss to do exactly that is Delray Beach (Atlantic), Fla. wide receiver Quadrias Mireles.
Mireles, a 5-foot-11, 175 pound prospect, ran a 4.35 40-yard dash at Florida State's camp last summer and has ten catches for almost 200 yards and two touchdowns through his first three games this fall. He transferred from John I. Leonard to Atlantic for his senior season after his family moved over the summer. He also returns kicks for Atlantic, but only has had two chances to show his skills doing that early in the season that included one bye week.
He said that he hasn't run the ball this season, but that's expected to change this week as his team has come up with a "Wildcat" package that will feature him at quarterback.
Mireles has offers from Louisville and Western Michigan and recently picked up a verbal offer from Ole Miss.
"We've been talking a lot recently," said Mireles on Tuesday about Ole Miss' recruitment efforts. "They're definitely interested in me. I've talked with Coach (Chris) Vaughn and I talked to Houston Nutt too. He's just telling me that they are going to be keeping an eye on me this season."
Keeping an eye on Mireles, meaning further evaluation, seems to be the trend of several major colleges.
Mireles said that Miami recently began to show interest as well as Virginia Tech. He said he also recently talked to Georgia coaches, who told him they wanted to evaluate him after the first three games of his senior season.
Whether Mireles picks Ole Miss, if he receives a committable offer, or if he can offer a deep threat anywhere near what Wallace did remains to be seen, but the two compare favorably.
Wallace was a lightly recruited two-star prospect out of O.P. Walker High School in New Orleans where he only blossomed as a wide receiver and kick return his senior season in 2005. The two are similar in size (Wallace was 6-foot, 180 pounds last year) and speed (Wallace was listed with a 4.4 40-yard dash time coming out of high school). Both are wide receivers and kick-off return specialists.
"Deep routes, that's what I love," Mireles said. "Love'em. I also really loved returning kick-offs."
Mireles said Ole Miss first caught his attention when the Rebels upset then No 4 Florida in the Swamp last season and he's been tracking the team ever since.
"I really like them and I'm keeping an eye on them," he said. "But wherever I go, my Mom will be a really big part of my decision. But, we both really like Ole Miss a lot."
One advantage that Mireles may have that Wallace didn't is that he is on track to graduate in December, meaning he could enroll for the spring semester at the college of his choice and participate in spring practice.
He reports a 2.78 GPA, but he is a couple of points short of the 17 required by the NCAA on his ACT. He has only taken the test once and plans to re-take it on Oct. 24.
Mireles doesn't have any plans to make a verbal pledge any time soon. Instead, he wants to see how interest picks up from the several schools that are recruiting him, as well as perhaps interest from Florida, and then make a decision.
"It's going to have to happen real quick, though," Mireles said. "I'm a December graduate and I want to make my decision by the time I graduate where I can go ahead and get enrolled."
Mireles had 60 rushing attempts last year as a junior for almost 600 yards with nine touchdowns and added another 23 catches for almost 500 yards and six touchdown for his 4-6 Leonard team according to statistics listed on the Palm Beach Post