Ole Miss Bolsters Defense on Wednesday

Defensive End Marquis Haynes will return for the 2017 season.

Marquis Haynes Announces Return, Junior College Players Sign

OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss got a big boost to its 2017 defense on Wednesday when standout defensive end Marquis Haynes announced he would return for his senior year and the Rebels added three junior college defensive signees on the first day of the mid-year signing period.

“After talking with my parents and coach Freeze, it’s best that I return to school and play my senior season as an Ole Miss Rebel,” Haynes tweeted.

A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Haynes will enter his senior season with 24.5 sacks and 36.5 TFLs, top four in school history in both categories. He has led the team with seven or more sacks in each of his three seasons in Oxford. His return will be a big help to a defense that loses four linemen to graduation (Fadol Brown, Issac Gross, D.J. Jones, John Youngblood).

“Today was a big step in rebuilding our defense,” head coach Hugh Freeze said. “First of all, I am thrilled that Marquis Haynes has decided to return for his senior year and earn his degree. He is a special young man, and we look forward to continuing to see him grow as a player and a person.

“We also added three outstanding student-athletes from our great Mississippi junior college system. Javien, Brenden and Markel fill need areas and should be able to immediately step in and help our defense. We are grateful to them and their families for the commitment to our program.”

Ole Miss received the signatures of Jones County JC defensive back Javien Hamilton, Northeast Mississippi CC linebacker Brenden Williams and Jones County JC defensive end Markel Winters.

Below are bios on each of the three signees.

Javien Hamilton | DB | 5-10 | 170 | Louin, Miss. | Jones County JC

Rated a 4-star prospect and the No. 24 overall junior college recruit in the country by ESPN … Tabbed the sixth-best JUCO CB in the nation by ESPN … Rated a 3-star prospect by the other major recruiting services … Member of the ESPN JUCO 50 and the Scout JUCO Top 100 … Second team All-MACJC selection as a sophomore after finishing with 27 tackles and a forced fumble in nine games … As a freshman, averaged 23.3 yards per kick return and had 22 tackles on defense … As a senior at Bay Springs High School, collected 28 tackles and had one interception … Also had 451 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns on offense … Cousin of former Ole Miss and current Indianapolis Colts wide receiver, Donte Moncrief.

Brenden Williams | LB | 6-3 | 224 | Birmingham, Ala. | Northeast Mississippi CC

Listed as a 3-star prospect by Scout, 247Sports and ESPN247Sports rates him as the No. 21 overall junior college prospect in the country and the third-best inside linebacker nationally … Scout lists him as the No. 44 overall JUCO prospect and fifth-best outside linebacker … As a freshman at Northeast, collected 89 tackles, fourth-most in the state … His 9.9 stops per game led the MACJC and ranked 17th nationally … Compiled five double-digit tackling performances, including three straight to end the season and a season-high 15 tackles against Mississippi Delta … Played mostly wide receiver at Restoration Academy in Birmingham, Alabama.

Markel Winters | DE | 6-3 | 260 | Tallahassee, Fla. | Jones County JC

Rated a 4-star prospect and the No. 13 overall junior college recruit in the country by 247Sports … Listed as the No. 2 JUCO weakside DE in the country by 247Sports … Rated a 3-star prospect by the other major recruiting services … ESPN and Scout both have him as a top-50 JUCO recruit and top-10 JUCO DE … Two-time All-MACJC and All-Region 23 selection as a freshman and sophomore … Led the MACJC and ranked second in the NJCAA with 16 quarterback sacks as a sophomore … Added 5.5 more tackles for loss … National junior college player of the week in October when he registered four sacks for -17 yards, recovered a fumble and blocked an extra point against Hinds … Posted 33 tackles, five sacks and two fumble recoveries as a freshman … Originally signed with East Carolina out of James Rickards High School in Florida … Redshirted at ECU in 2014 before transferring to Jones … 2013 Nike NFTC defensive line MVP in Orlando.