February 29, 2012

Rebels jump in 'top couple' for Georgia OT

Aulden Bynum had been to Ole Miss before, making the trip to Oxford last fall to visit his brother and see the Rebels battle Georgia.

On Saturday, the 6-foot-5, 260-pound offensive tackle from Valdosta (Valwood), Ga., was back in Oxford. Again, he spent time with his brother, Bradley, who is a freshman at Ole Miss. Bynum also got some face time with new Rebels coach Hugh Freeze and several assistants.

"It was great," Bynum said. "I really enjoyed the whole entire staff. They all seemed like they're on the same page on what needed to be done to get that program in the same direction.

"They told me that it's a very high-tempo offense that Coach Freeze wants to put in. He wants to get in 80-90 plays a game. Having started both ways, I feel like I'd fit in to that real good."

Bynum, who also has offers from Auburn, South Carolina, Mississippi State and Miami, said the day at Ole Miss put the Rebels "up there in the top couple. I really like Ole Miss and Auburn a lot."

Bynum cautioned, however, that it's far too early to name favorites. Instead, he's beginning to sense his ultimate decision will be tougher than he originally thought.

"I really like Auburn and I really like Ole Miss," Bynum said, adding that he's also hearing from Georgia, Florida State, Vanderbilt, Louisville and Rutgers. "Just looking at those two, it's going to be hard. I plan to get to South Carolina soon and Miami and Clemson. I'm sure I'm going to like all those schools."

Bynum has also attended junior days at Georgia, Auburn and Alabama. He plans to attend one at Clemson this weekend. Bynum said he'll base his decision on three elements.

"Coaching staff is first," Bynum said. "Then it's tradition, then game-day atmosphere. …Ole Miss is really the only place that has told me anything about (playing time). Ole Miss has told me, if I come in and work hard, I could possibly come in and play as a freshman. I've always started since freshman year at our high school, so I don't know what it's like to not start."

If there's a wildcard in the race for Bynum's signature, he acknowledged Monday, it's his brother's presence on the Ole Miss campus. Bynum said he spent time Saturday meeting his brother's friends and fraternity brothers and came away impressed.

"It's definitely a plus that he is there," Bynum said. "But he wants me to go wherever the best fit for me is."

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