‘An awesome atmosphere'

Austin Golson

Four-star offensive lineman Austin Golson didn't know much about Ole Miss before he set out from his home in Prattville, Ala., for an official visit over the weekend.

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He knows plenty now, and the Rebels certainly left an impression.

The 6-foot-6, 290-pound Golson, rated the No. 10 offensive tackle in the country by Scout.com, was hosted by Ole Miss center Evan Swindall and now-sophomore guard Ben Still.

The visit couldn't have gone better, according to Golson.

"I really didn't know much about it," he said. "But I come down here, man, it's an awesome atmosphere. Fun place to be. I enjoyed it a lot. They got pretty girls, they got great facilities, great coaching staff, great family. It's just awesome down here. I love it."

Swindall, a senior, and Still gave Golson the Oxford tour. Sophomore linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche, the Rebels' leading tackler last season, chipped in, too.

"Man, they're awesome," he said. "I couldn't say any other words. They're awesome, man. They love to have fun. Nkemdiche, he's helping out a little bit. It's a good little deal."

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze, who led the Rebels to a 7-6 finish in his first year, and staff hammered home the idea of Ole Miss as a big family. The pitch seemed to pay off.

"Just how they have a family, the family atmosphere," Golson said of what he liked most about Ole Miss. "They like to have fun, but at the same time, they like to work. I just like everything about them.

Austin Golson
Chad Simmons

"I just want to be a part of a big family. I don't want to be a part of some cocky guys, I want to be a part of a family. Win football games, hope we win a national championship, but also at the same time have fun. I love this place. It's awesome. I like it."

Ole Miss offensive line coach Matt Luke, a four-year letterman for the Rebels from 1995-98, has acted as the primary recruiter of Golson.

Golson can relate to Luke, a once-dominant offensive lineman in his own right. In his senior season, Golson anchored a Prattville High School offensive line that produced 285 rushing yards per game.

"He's done a great job," Golson said. "That's an awesome man, one of the best men I've ever met. He's a great coach. Maybe one day I'll be playing for him. We'll see what happens."

Golson is currently committed to Florida State, having made his pledge well before his junior season. He's already visited North Carolina and Alabama. Next up is Auburn, followed by a visit to Tallahassee, Fla., to see the Seminoles.

He'll make a final decision Feb. 3.

"It'll be a tough decision," he said. "I've got a lot of great schools. We'll see what happens."

Golson expanded on what led him to commit to Florida State in the first place.

"Same things as here at Ole Miss. Small town, fun atmosphere, get along with everybody," he said. "To me, it's more than just winning. I like to be able to get along with people, have fun and win at the same time, you know?"

Auburn is new to the fold. He grew up a fan of the Tigers, but what has sparked his interest and led to a visit is the hire of Dameyune Craig. Craig, formerly the recruiting coordinator at Florida State, was hired away by first-year head coach Gus Malzahn.

"I grew up an Auburn fan. My grandparents graduated from Auburn. I need to give them a chance to let me have the opportunity to come up and visit. My coach from Florida State is there," he said.

Ben Garrett of the Ole Miss Spirit contributed to this report. Yancy Porter is the Mississippi Scout for Scout.com. He can be reached at yporter@scout.com.

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