How Ole Miss Football Became a Threat to the SEC Powerhouses in Just One Day
The motto for Ole Miss since Hugh Freeze took the coaching helm last year has been “Win the Day.” On National Signing Day, Ole Miss did just that.
The University of Mississippi football staff landed a top 5 recruiting class and shocked the sporting universe. The loud noise just heard round the sports world was not another Beyonce Superbowl halftime show, but a Rebel Yell emanating from Oxford, Mississippi. ESPN has the Rebels ranked 5th in national signing classes ahead of perennial SEC powerhouse schools such as LSU, Auburn, and Georgia.
The day began with the consensus No. 1 recruit in the nation, defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, announcing his intent to suit up for the Rebels next year. Nkemdiche chose the boys in Blue and Red over LSU and Florida. Nkemdiche will join his All-Freshman SEC brother, Denzel, on the defensive side of the ball for the Rebs.
Later in the morning, Coach Freeze got commitments from three other 5-star recruits in the No. 1 offensive tackle Laramy Tunsil, the No. 1 wider receiver Laquon Treadwell, the No. 1 safety Tony Conner, as well as 4-star offensive lineman Austin Golson, among many others.
The success of Coach Freeze and his staff has not gone unnoticed. ESPN had a crew in Oxford yesterday morning expecting a huge day for the Rebels. Other national media outlets were also covering the war room in Oxford, making the Rebel campus the national media center for the day.
"I think everyone is surprised that Ole Miss was able to do this well, this quickly," commented Graham Watson, editor of Yahoo! Sports blog Dr. Saturday. "They were 7-6 this season. That's not exactly an eye-catching record. But Hugh Freeze has a national name thanks to the book/movie 'The Blindside' and he's a great recruiter. Recruits love him, his passion and his energy. He's a great orator and he makes people believe in his vision for the program."
Even LeBron James took note, saying on Twitter, "Ole Miss ain't messing around today! Big time recruits coming in. SEC is crazy."
For a team that won a mere seven games last season, this is truly remarkable. Of course, stars and accolades only go so far. These players must now prove themselves on the field of play. However, if this signing class lives up to its potential, a seismic shift of power is forthcoming in the SEC.
Tide, Gators, Tigers, and Aggies pay heed - there’s a new power rising in the SEC.