January 18, 2011

Rebels work to bring Raven back into fold

Just days after Floyd Raven backed out of his commitment to Ole Miss, two members of the Rebels' coaching staff were in the four-star cornerback's living room Tuesday night trying to convince him to return to the proverbial fold.

Ole Miss defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix and recruiting coordinator/cornerbacks coach Chris Vaughn made the trip to Reserve, La., to visit with Raven. They left without a firm answer either way, but Raven admitted their visit "changed things a little bit. It put a lot of things in front of me. …They said they were going to compete for me. I respected that. That told me I was a big commodity for them."

Raven, a 6-foot-2, 180-pounder, originally chose Ole Miss over Texas A&M and others. However, when former Ole Miss safeties coach Kim Dameron left the Rebels' staff, there was a breakdown in communication. Raven wound up spending last weekend on an official visit to Utah and re-opening his recruiting. Pittsburgh and Michigan have jumped into the mix in the last week, and Raven said Tuesday he plans to visit the Panthers this weekend and the Wolverines on Jan. 28.

Ole Miss, Raven said, "didn't give me a timetable. They just said, 'We're going to get you.'"

The Rebels have a strong factor working in their favor. Raven's mother, he said, is on Ole Miss' side.

"She's been with them since Day One," Raven said. "She feels like momma knows best. On the (official) visit (to Oxford), she just fell in love with it."

It also helped Ole Miss that Dameron made contact with Raven earlier this week.

"He still encouraged me to make my own decision, but he said he still felt Ole Miss was the place for me to go," Raven said. "He said it's still a good school with good people working on the coaching staff.

"Right now, Ole Miss is still in the running. They put a lot of things in front of me. I'm a competitor. I'm not running from anything. I feel like I have some people in my life who can guide me. I feel like in the next two weeks I'll be straightened out. De-committing didn't make things worse. It just made my eyes open up wider."

Raven said he plans to consult several adult authority figures in the next few days about his looming decision. Asked if he had a gut feeling regarding where he'll end up, Raven was somewhat non-committal.

"Right now, I'm not confused as much as I was," Raven said. "Things are panning out right now. I'm feeling good. I'm not sure what I'm doing. I'm not going to stay too much. I'm waiting to see who Ole Miss fills in those positions."

Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt said last week he hoped to fill the two vacancies on his coaching staff by "Wednesday at the latest." The Rebels have 29 official visitors scheduled to arrive in Oxford this weekend.

Raven is ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 8 prospect in Louisiana as well as the No. 8 cornerback prospect nationally.

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