December 7, 2008

Tennessee standout chooses Ole Miss

Earlier this week, Thad McHaney was ready to pull the trigger on his commitment to Ole Miss.

However, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound tight end from Brentwood (Brentwood Academy), Tenn., needed some time to make sure.

At first, the plan was to wait until his official visit in January, one that he'll take with his parents, to make the decision official.

But as the days passed, it became obvious to the three-star standout that the original decision had been the right one. So on Sunday evening, McHaney committed to the Rebels, becoming the second prospect of the day to make the pledge to Houston Nutt's program.

"It's pretty much the coaching staff and the campus," McHaney said. "We just wanted to make sure it was the right decision. We just took that week to decide and think it through. I just had a good feeling. I just liked the coaches. I just felt their passion for the players and the game. That's what I like the most. They enjoy what they were doing."

McHaney chose Ole Miss over offers from Auburn, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Louisville, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, UCLA, Marshall and Vanderbilt.

McHaney has been recruited by Brentwood Academy alumnus/Ole Miss offensive coordinator Kent Austin.

"I kind of knew him before because he graduated from my school," McHaney said. "As a person, he's very professional. He left Canada to come back to his alma mater, so he had to feel something special. He recruits for the right reason. What he says, he means. That's what I like about him."

Whether Austin gets a chance to add McHaney to his offense is another matter entirely. Defensive line coach Tracy Rocker might have other ideas.

"We haven't decided yet," McHaney said. "Once I get down there, I'll decide. I don't really prefer one (side of the football over the other). I just enjoy playing the game."

McHaney said he'll still take his official visit in January, but he already seems to be looking to the future. The Rebels, ranked No. 20 in the country as of Sunday, will be facing Texas Tech in the AT&T Cotton Bowl on Jan. 2 in Dallas. McHaney said that bowl bid is just the beginning.

"I believe I'm coming at the right time," McHaney said. "It's going to be fun."

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