Don't Miss

10 Reasons Ole Miss Recruiting Is Not Surprising

Hugh-Freeze

Mississippi State fans, this isn’t about you. Let me get that out of the way. But I can’t join in the apparent media fun of hammering Ole Miss’ recruiting just to balance out positive and negative.  The truth is this could be you next year should you also choose to upset the order of power in the SEC, and I will come to your defense as well. You’ll face the same questions because surely Mississippi schools can’t compete with the rest of the SEC. Right? Bull.

I’m tired of seeing Hugh Freeze in defense mode of his latest recruiting class. Every time I see him interviewed or hear him on the radio, he’s being questioned indirectly about his personal integrity. But really, he’s questioned as to why his program cannot and should not be doing what he just did.

It’s insulting, and completely disregards some obvious factors. Perhaps he’s just that good. Perhaps his staff did that good of a job. Or God forbid, maybe Ole Miss should have done this a long time ago.

The man should be celebrating an unbelievable accomplishment, one that I have never seen in my lifetime. He shouldn’t have to make the case for why it wasn’t extraordinary when it obviously was. Coach Freeze, that’s not necessary. Allow yourself to be proud of what you did. In the future when faced with that particular question, tell people to get used to it.

Is it really hard to believe that Ole Miss could be an attractive destination for a national recruit? Here are 10 reasons why Ole Miss can recruit with most anybody.

 

  1. The SEC “big dogs” were fat and happy. I’ve heard for a year now numerous behind the scenes stories from coaches and recruits of how Ole Miss was outworking everyone. The often overlooked extra mile stuff adds up. People are crazy to think it doesn’t matter to kids. These other SEC schools obviously didn’t think it mattered, until they were beaten for kids and suddenly cried foul. Here’s some free advice for those schools. Work harder. But most importantly, don’t underestimate Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss.
  2. Hugh Freeze learned from the best.  It’s amazing what a good plan and some insight can do for you in life. In anything. Freeze learned from one of the best recruiters college football has ever seen in Ed Orgeron. If the man had better head coach skills, he’d still be at Ole Miss because getting players has never been his problem. Recruiting is as much a science as anything. Knowing the answers to that particular test is invaluable.
  3. Hugh Freeze has “it”. There is a reason CBS college football writer Bruce Feldman said Freeze was the most dynamic speaker in front of a group he has ever seen. Think about that for a second, because Feldman has spent plenty of time around college football’s absolute best and can’t be labeled a Mississippi homer. Throw in that Freeze is not ashamed of a Faith that mothers of recruits flock to. They want coaches to care for their babies and treat them as more than commodities. Freeze sells a family approach as well as anybody in America.
  4. Ole Miss has continuity. Constant reshuffling of the coaching deck can kill a recruiting class. The Ole Miss staff is now going on their third recruiting class with zero staff changes, and the staff effort has been lauded as exemplary by several outside coaches and media representatives. When you find good coaches, do everything in your power to keep them, because they are not easy to replace.
  5. I realize this is shocking to many, but Ole Miss has some advantages. Ole Miss is the only major university within an hour of Memphis, a city with an equal amount of talent within a 25-mile radius as the entire state of Mississippi. That is a huge advantage, especially considering Freeze has great contacts in the city where he once piled up high school state championships.
  6. The Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges. I have not heard once on radio or television in the last week that the top junior college talent Ole Miss attracted came from in-state. Mississippi has the nation’s top junior college system, which consistently produces NFL talent. Should we apologize for that too? Ole Miss took advantage of it by landing the nation’s #1 JUCO prospect, and two others also among the nation’s elite. And all they had to do was move down the road a bit.
  7. The scenery isn’t bad in Oxford. Is it that shocking to hear a teenage boy is impressed with a school that claims to redshirt future Miss America’s? That’s all I will say about that, but a walk through the Grove on a Saturday gameday will stay embedded in your mind for the rest of your life.
  8. SEC TV Contract. While other SEC programs have thrived on a national stage, smaller schools have quietly cashed those large resulting checks and have turned them into facility improvements. The SEC’s revenue-sharing plan has helped better level the playing field. The facilities’ gap is much smaller than it was 10-20 years ago. The same can be said of coaches’ salaries.
  9. Ole Miss has been close before. Ole Miss has produced three top 15 recruiting classes in the previous seven years. This particular recruiting class averaged out as the nation’s #5 class. Is an improvement of ten spots that hard to imagine?
  10. Recruiting Connections. I don’t like that Hugh Freeze has constantly had to turn to this reasoning when other programs apparently do not, but the Rebels had some amazing good fortune. Those advantages are common knowledge at this point, but no doubt it had a great impact. And keep in mind, Ole Miss also pulled in a couple of big transfers that some recruiting services didn’t factor in the rankings. Anthony Alford was a national quarterback prospect in 2012, and Nick Brassell already proved himself SEC-worthy as a Rebel freshman. Maybe it’s good they weren’t considered, because if this class had risen a couple more spots it might have been too much for some people to handle.

 

If Ole Miss is cheating, how did they not flip Chris Jones? And how did they lose two late commitments to an Auburn program that racked up as many national signees on signing day as Ole Miss did? And how do the Tigers escape criticism after an 0-8 record in the SEC last year, a  head coach on the job two months, and  only a couple of years removed from the Cam Newton recruiting saga? Auburn committed more 4-star and 5-star players on the final weekend than Ole Miss did in what was an abbreviated recruiting year for their staff, and Ole Miss is the school on trial?

The question is can Ole Miss, or Mississippi State, compete for championships in the SEC? I would label this as primary evidence. LSU picked up one outright SEC championship from 1970-2001. That might not be 50 years of no titles, but 30 years with one championship is still a big number. The previous 11 years before Nick Saban rode in to the rescue saw the Tigers win four or fewer games five times. The Tigers won five games or less in eight of those eleven seasons. Does that mean they were destined for eternal irrelevance in the world of college football?

One right hire can completely change the future fortunes of a program, as LSU found out when they brought in a somewhat questionable Michigan State head coach.  The same could happen in Oxford, MS, and quite possibly already has.

 

Tune in to SuperSport 930 in Jackson at 10:00 am every day for Gridiron Radio with Chris Brooks, and discuss all that’s happening with football in the Magnolia state.

24 Comments

  1. Chris Baxley

    February 11, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    To be deemed inferior is the decision of others; to BE inferior is a decision that you have to agree to…

    Freeze and Co. have clearly made the decision to view themselves in a different light from what many others across the country have chosen to view them as. And if current actions and habits play out over time, those who doubted will look as foolish as anyone who would have suggested 15 years ago that LSU couldn’t compete at the highest levels would be viewed today.

  2. Michael Culver

    February 12, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Hotty Freakin’ Toddy, haters!

  3. Petey Wheatstraw

    February 12, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    If you OM fans think that you stole Tunsil from UGA on the last week before signing day after he had been a UGA lean/silent commit for 2 years without giving he and his family improper benefits then you are sadly mistaken. Hope he wins some games for you, because the investigation is coming.

    • Chris Brooks

      February 12, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      Every time a kid chooses another school, there is always an investigation pending. Is it that hard to say “nice job”.

    • Maxxamillion

      February 12, 2013 at 10:01 pm

      A lean means, “like if I had to pick, I’d guess I’d go there, but it’d be really cool if there was another better option.”

    • Matt Rogers

      February 13, 2013 at 9:18 am

      You are a fool, you know what leaning or silent means. If not look it up, the kid was not going to UGA. Get over yourself, and tell your qb not to get his passes tipped when the game matters most.

      • Dave Miller

        February 13, 2013 at 7:27 pm

        At least their QB was playing in the game instead of watching it at home.

  4. Tim Rodgers

    February 13, 2013 at 5:50 am

    Fat wads of cash didn’t hurt TSUN either

  5. Hammer of the Dogs

    February 13, 2013 at 6:57 am

    The university of ole miss has had “Top 5″, “Top 10″, “Top 15″ recruiting classes for as far as the eye can see. However, when you look on the field, they haven’t been relevant since JFK was President.

    Why? Because Bear fans are more interested recruiting rankings, than they are in actually winning. For years, they subscribed to every recruiting mag and web site in the world. The recruiting honks know that the university of ole miss Bear-fans spends the most per capita on recruiting than any other fan base in the country. They know that if they drop some Bear commit to a 3-*, they’re going to get anonymous phone calls and death threats in the middle of the night. So it just make sense to them to elevate the Bear recruiting class.

    I’m pretty sure Vanderbilt will be VERRRY impressed with umo’s “All-time greatest recruiting class” when they skulldrag them this September. I know Jacksonville State was in 2010.

    • Phillip Bates

      February 13, 2013 at 8:02 am

      Is that a Miss State fan talking about skulldragging? That is a good word for what happened to them in Vaught Hemingway last year.

      • Hammer of the Dogs

        February 13, 2013 at 10:11 am

        An upset of an overconfident team by a Sunbelt-level power, followed by a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the James Meredith riots after the game. 3 out of 4, 41-27, 31-23, 31-3, expect things to get back to normal next year, when The Mississippi State University stomps a new a-hole in the university of ole miss bears.

        • Josh Rosa

          February 13, 2013 at 11:01 am

          Yeah, your not that far removed from a loss to Maine and in case you haven’t noticed, State has peaked. They’ve hit their ceiling with Mullen. The only reason for the wins last years was a string of horrendous opponents. As of right now, Ole Miss is clearly the better program across the board (that means not just football). I know that hurts your little feelings, but sometimes the truth hurts. We had to suffer through Orgeron & Nutt (winning a couple Cotton Bowls in the process). Now, you will suffer through Freeze, and it’s going to be long and painful.

        • Donna Gail Janotta

          March 22, 2013 at 8:06 am

          LMBO….Dog has gotten hit too many times on the head with his “hammer” he is clearly dilusional.

  6. John

    February 13, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Hugh Freeze did not “pile up” championships at Briarcrest. They were dogmeat until Michael Oher got there. In his 13 years there (1992-2004), he won two state titles, and Briarcrest was playing in the lowest division of private school football and shouldn’t have been allowed to based on the size of their school (the TSSAA made them move up shortly thereafter).

    Ignoring 2 SEC titles for LSU because they weren’t “outright” is just irresponsible. I could just as easily say Ole Miss hasn’t had an outright SEC title in any of the big 3 sports since 1977, but you wouldn’t want to discount your co-west title in football in 2003 now would you?

    You also far exaggerate the recruiting advantages of being close to Memphis. Memphis is not a hotbed for football players. It’s really pretty bad based on the population. Memphis produces a good player here and there but nothing of any consistency. This is pretty well known and accepted in the recruiting world. Basketball players? yes. Baseball players? yes. Football players? nope.

    It’s also misleading to compare LSU’s state to Ole Miss’ potential. LSU can completely lock down the state of Louisiana. The state of Louisiana, per capita, has more players in the NFL than any other state. Louisiana is twice the size of Mississippi, and LSU is the only major school in the entire state. Mississippi is the smallest state in the SEC. They also have 1 other SEC school to compete with for instate guys and Southern Miss has been competition in the past as well. If LSU locks down Louisiana, they have a top 10 class every year. The same can’t be said for Ole Miss locking down the state of MS, which they still don’t.

    It would also be fair to mention Alabama won the SEC 9 times in 11 years from 1971-1981. Doesn’t really leave much room for LSU now does it? (LSU also won SEC titles in 1970 and 1988, but lets make the argument starting in a nice round year of 1971 and not count one SEC title in 1988 LSU shared with Auburn even though they beat Auburn head-to-head (sound familiar? Ole Miss baseball 2009, cough)

    And lastly, most of what you said about Ole Miss can be said about all the big boys in the SEC, and then some. Ole Miss does not have better girls or campus than Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Auburn, USC, UT, etc. I know they all think they do, but it’s just not true. I’ve been to the Grove dozens of time. Yes it’s fun, yes the girls dress up, but I’ve seen scenery just as good at several SEC schools. Ole Miss also has subpar facilities to everyone in the conference outside of Kentucky, Vandy, and State. Ole Miss basically has nothing to sell more that trumps anyone else in the league.

    If you want to put lipstick on a pig, go for it, but you and I both know this article is about as slanted as it gets. Hugh Freeze might be a good coach, but there’s a reason Ole Miss has never been able to maintain a good program since the early 60s, and it’s not just coaching.

    • Matt Rogers

      February 13, 2013 at 9:23 am

      Ole Miss just got rated 2nd best campus in the country, and won most attractive student body last year. So that part of your argument is gone, but the football parts are fairly true. You were at the wrong tailgate in the grove clearly

    • Josh Rosa

      February 13, 2013 at 11:13 am

      As a Rebel, I’ll agree with most of this (Briarcrest, Memphis recruits, LSU’s advantages) but two things are just wrong. We have won the SEC baseball tourney since 1977 – an outright championship – and the facilities, campus, women argument. is just wrong. Facilities (doesn’t just mean stadium size) are very nice as these big time recruits have confirmed, the campus is the best in the SEC and maybe the country (numerous unbiased publications have deemed it so) and while some universities have a large # of attractive co-eds, the ratio of them at Ole Miss is unmatched (UGA might be close). This also documented by many unbiased publications/spectators. I’m all for fact-based debate, but throwing in the ‘nothing to offer’ part ruins all the credibility. Also, LSU was nothing to right home about pre-Nick Saban even with all their advantages and they may be headed back that way if Ole Miss and A&M can stay hot and start poaching recruits from Louisiana. Should be fun.

      • John

        February 13, 2013 at 12:14 pm

        I don’t care how nice Ole Miss’ facilities might be, they still don’t compare to LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, UT, etc. They just don’t. They’ve certainly upgraded the past 10 years, but so have all the big boys, and Ole Miss is still well behind them. The girls argument is an opinion. I’m not going to try to say who’s the best, but all schools have enough hot girls that Ole Miss wouldn’t be set apart enough to make that much of a difference. UGA, Bama, and even Auburn girls are every bit as impressive as Ole Miss girls.

        And an SECT championship is not the same as an outright SEC Championship. Only in football is the overall SEC Champion determined by the winner of a game like that. They’re two separate things.

        Ole Miss’ campus is nice, and yeah it’s been ranked highly in other publications, but other publications have also ranked UGA, LSU, Alabama, etc highly too, so that’s all a wash, as in it doesn’t give Ole Miss a distinct advantage over other schools in that aspect.

        And no, LSU wasn’t what they are now pre-Saban, but people really love to act like LSU was on Ole Miss’ level prior to Saban. LSU was somewhere in the 11 or 12 range in all time wins in CFB history before he got there. LSU was bad from 1989-199. 11 years is not 50 like Ole Miss. And lol if you really think LSU is headed back down. Even with the success Ole Miss had in one recruiting class, LSU still had a higher ranked class than both per rivals, and beat both last year, A&M on the road, and that was a “down” 10-3 season for LSU. As long as LSU continues to lock down the state of LA, they’re not going anywhere, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon.

        If you want to go back to the starting point the author used (1971-1999; 29 years), LSU went to 15 bowl games, including 2 orange bowls and two sugar bowls. Since Ole Miss’ last SEC title in football (50 years), they’ve been to 22 bowl games with one sugar bowl in 1969. It’s really just not even comparable. Ole Miss just lacks the natural resources LSU does, so it’s really a waste of time to even try to use LSU as a model for comparison. So LSU, more or less, equaled (probably outmatched) Ole Miss, in half the time, so I just find it odd the author would even try to compare the two because LSU sucked 8/11 years. People also conveniently forget, or choose to ignore, LSU was 10-2 one year and won 3 straight bowl games under Dinardo and the fact Dinardo brought the recruits back, not Saban. He was just an awful coach. Saban had a ton of talent to work with his first year, much more than he had at Alabama in 2007.

        Look, I’m from Memphis. I’ve been to Oxford countless times and most of my closest friends went there. I’m fully aware of the women and everything Ole Miss has to offer. But it’s a very common exaggeration at how awesome the Grove and the women are at Ole Miss. I’ve had a great time every time I’ve been, but I’ve had just as good a time at Bama, LSU, and UGA. And really it all boils down to recruiting territory and winning. Ole Miss might have had a good class this year, but they’re going to have to sustain success for more than a 2-3 year time period, something they’ve never been able to do. It’s been a repetitive cycle for Ole Miss since I’ve been alive. They’re decently good for a couple-few years, then awful for a few, rinse and repeat.

        • Donna Gail Janotta

          March 22, 2013 at 8:04 am

          John… take a break and go get your head out of the sand! Fact is… you can say what you want… Ole miss will no longer be what some refer to as the “stepchild” of the SEC. Your wittle Tiger coach along with Sabin is worried, as well they should be. Times they are a changing. Make way for the Ole Miss Rebels!

    • Chris Brooks

      February 13, 2013 at 12:40 pm

      John, that is well thought out. I disagree with most of it, agree with some. But that was reasoned well. You’ve obviously argued a few times before.

    • Chris Brooks

      February 13, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      Two state titles were not “piling”, a little dramatic there. The “outright” SEC title for LSU was completely responsible, they were 8-4 in ’88 and didn’t go to the Sugar, Auburn did (why did Auburn by the way). Agree LSU has more benefits overall, but OM has plenty to compete. And Memphis did produce about 15 3-5 star kids last year, about the same as MS. LSU went to 15 bowls during the ’70-’01 run, Ole Miss went to 11. Not a huge difference.

      That was a good response though. Have a good day. And I wasn’t comparing LSU’s potential to OM, but using the example it was not being utilized properly for a long time. Take it easy.

      • John

        February 13, 2013 at 7:24 pm

        I’m saying it was irresponsible to make a point to delineate between shared and outright SEC titles in an era before conference championship games.
        I was pretty young 1988, so I don’t remember why Auburn went to the
        Sugar over LSU, but LSU did beat them head-to-head that year (the
        Earthquake game). 15 3-5 star kids isn’t all that many from a city with
        a metro area as big as Memphis, and those kids play all over the place,
        not just Ole Miss. Also, I used the word piling because you did in the
        article about him piling up championships. Unless you’re saying you
        were being over dramatic using that word?

        • Chris Brooks

          February 13, 2013 at 8:29 pm

          John, that’s how I was using dramatic. And 15 kids out of Memphis might not sound like a lot, but it’s about the same as Mississippi.

          I think the LSU job is the #1 job in America on paper, better than Bama. LSU has solo ownership of a state that produces about the same talent as MS-AL combined. My point was they didn’t utilize it for 30 years til Saban came on board.

        • Chris Brooks

          February 13, 2013 at 8:35 pm

          John, I was a little over dramatic with it. And 15 kids might not sound like many, but it’s what MS puts out as a whole. That’s a lot of talent out of one city. Probably top 7-8 among all cities I would guess.

          I think LSU is the #1 job in America, ahead of Bama. They completely own and run a state with as much talent as MS-AL combined with 4 schools. Les Miles just isn’t the coach Saban is. But my point was even LSU managed to vastly underachieve for 30 years despite the advantages. That last decade before Saban was brutal.

          Thanks for the comments.

        • Chris Brooks

          February 13, 2013 at 9:06 pm

          John, of course I was using that to make the argument stronger. You would too. Ole Miss shared an SEC West crown but didn’t get to Atlanta.
          That 15 number is actually big, about the same as MS overall. Probably makes Memphis one of the top 7-8 cities in America.
          I think LSU is the #1 job in the country, ahead of Bama. One school completely controlling a state with as much talent as MS-AL combined with 4 schools. I was using LSU to show how a program with all the advantages can still waste them for 30 years. The decade before Saban was brutal, should never have happened.

          Thanks for the comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>