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June 26, 2011Jake Meador spent one day in Oxford, Miss., in April, checking out Ole Miss' campus, watching the Rebels practice and visiting with Houston Nutt and offensive line coach Mike Markuson.
It was just one of several stops during a hectic spring for the 6-foot-7, 305-pound offensive tackle from Whiteland, Ind.
Something about it, however, made it stand out. On Sunday, the four-star standout committed to Ole Miss, choosing the Rebels over Indiana, Kentucky and Louisville.
"It felt like home down there to me," Meador said. "It's a smaller school in a small town. It felt like home. I felt like I could fit in."
Meador, ranked by Rivals.com as the nation's No. 30 offensive tackle and the No. 241 overall prospect, said he informed Markuson of his decision with a phone call Sunday morning.
"He was real excited," Meador said. "They are on vacation and he was pumped."
Meador said his comfort level with Markuson played a key role in his decision.
"It played a little bit of a role," Meador said. "Getting coached by a great coach like Coach Markuson is good. Knowing he has put players in the NFL really helps a lot."
Northern Illinois, SMU and Vanderbilt also offered Meador. Meador's older brother, Mitch, is a defensive tackle at Cincinnati. Home-state pressure, Meador said, wasn't an issue in his decision. Neither was distance from home.
"My parents didn't mind," Meador said. "They wanted me to go where I felt most comfortable. (Ole Miss) has a great campus. I'm going to try to come back for a game this fall and see the game-day atmosphere, but it just really felt like me."
Meador said he's hoping to build on a strong junior season, adding that he won't have to worry about recruiting anymore. His decision, he said Sunday, is final.
"I'm committed to Ole Miss," Meador said. "That's where I'm going. That's final."