LB recruit Clifton Garrett got 54 letters from Ole Miss in one day? (Picture)

Ole Miss came out of nowhere last week and locked down one of the top recruiting classes in the country on national signing day, standing toe-to-toe with powerhouse programs like Florida, Alabama and Ohio State. The nation’s No. 1 recruit, defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, committed to the Rebels along with two other five-star recruits. Of course, the success Ole Miss had was accompanied by a great deal of skepticism.

Many have been speculating that Hugh Freeze and company are paying these recruits or offering improper benefits. Since recruiting violations are an epidemic across collegiate athletics, we can never completely rule it out. However, it’s also possible that they are flattering recruits by sending them dozens of letters in a single day. Check out this photo that Clifton Garrett, one of the top linebacker recruits in the class of 2014, shared on Twitter:


“#OleMiss aint playin no games!!” Garrett wrote in an accompanying tweet. “54 hand written letters today #RebelNation!!”

Much of recruiting is making players feel as though you truly want them to join your program, as opposed to giving off the impression that they are just another good player you’re reaching out to. Sending 54 hand-written letters in a day is one way to get a 17-year-old’s attention. Watch out, SEC — Ole Miss ain’t messing around anymore. We could be in for more fake reactions from coaches next season if this keeps up.

H/T Crystal Ball Run

Ole Miss coaches had to fake reactions for TV cameras on National Signing Day

Ole Miss coaches reactions

National Signing Day has become bigger and bigger as the media evolves to serve the recruiting needs of dedicated college football fans. FOX Sports, CBS Sports, and Yahoo! Sports all go all-out on National Signing Day with various shows and coverage. ESPN has taken matters to an entirely new level and treat National Signing Day like it’s the NFL Draft.

ESPNU schedules TV announcements for top recruits, and they have cameras in the “war room” to monitor the reactions of coaches expecting to receive a signed letter of intent from players. Ole Miss was the big winner on National Signing Day this year. They pulled in what many felt was the top recruiting class in the country and were featured prominently throughout the day Wednesday on ESPNU. Their coaches were shown celebrating each time a recruit chose to sign with them.

But did you realize that the reactions from the coaches shown on TV were actually staged?

Out of respect to the coaches, many recruits notify schools of their decision before they make their televised announcement. Such was the case for Ole Miss, which received signed letters of intent from some recruits in advance.

Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples had an outstanding article that explains how Ole Miss assembled the top class in the country. In the article, he mentions that Ole Miss received a faxed letter of intent from OL Laremy Tunsil at 9:00 a.m. ET Wednesday — the first moment players could send in their signed letters. Tunsil’s announcement wasn’t until 30 minutes later on TV, which means that although the Ole Miss coaches were elated, their reactions were not of genuine surprise.

Here’s how it looked on TV:

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Recruit Chris Jones says he’s received death threats while choosing schools

Chris-Jones-MississippiChris Jones is a five-star defensive end recruit from Houston, Miss., and he intends to remain in his home state to play college ball. As you know, the state of Mississippi has two very large football programs in Mississippi State and Ole Miss. Fans of both SEC schools take their college ball very seriously, which has made Jones’ decision process quite difficult. Based on what he says, it has also been frightening.

“It was a crazy weekend,” Jones told ESPN.com, via Dr. Saturday. “I received death threats, insane messages, you name it. I mean it has not been as stressful as people would think it has been. I have tried to handle it in the most comfortable way possible, so it has really been alright for me, and in the end, I am very blessed to have this opportunity to play for either in-state school.”

According to Scout.com, Jones is ranked No. 2 in the nation at his position. You can understand why fans want him to commit to the school they root for, but the fact that someone would send a death threat to a high school kid over it is disturbing. Signing day is Wednesday, and Jones said he has made up his mind but he is not ready to reveal his decision yet for obvious reasons.

“I think I have my mind made up,” he said. “I am excited about the people I will be surrounded with at that program. I have not told my parents, and I am not going to worry about making them or anyone unhappy. I am ready to make the best decision for me. Some people’s feelings might get hurt, but sometimes you cannot make everyone happy. A couple people might get angry on Facebook and Twitter, too, but that is life. I will announce my decision on signing day, and I do not plan to tell either school before then.”

Jones gave each school one final look this past weekend, and it sounds like his parents would prefer him to attend Ole Miss. While it’s ultimately his decision, it’s always good to listen to the advice of your parents. It’s also good to ignore the psychopaths who feel the need to threaten an 18-year-old about his decision on where he should further his education and career.

Hugh Freeze admonishes those who ‘slander’ his players, recruits

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze sent an aggressive tweet on Friday admonishing people for slandering his players/recruits.

Here’s the tweet the second-year head coach sent:

Freeze’s tweet was likely a response to the scrutiny of top recruit Laquon Treadwell. Treadwell is a wide receiver from Illinois who is ranked No. 1 in the country at his position by Rivals and ESPN. He committed to Ole Miss two weeks ago, choosing the Rebels over Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and many other top schools.

Treadwell generated headlines this week after allegedly posted a photo to Instagram of himself flashing cash and being kissed by a few women during a visit to Oxford:

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Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze says ‘The Blind Side’ should help with recruiting

If you had heard the name Hugh Freeze prior to last December, it was probably because you’ve seen the movie “The Blind Side.” Freeze, who is now the head coach at Ole Miss, was Michael Oher’s high school coach and was depicted in the motion picture about Oher’s journey to the NFL. And if Ole Miss recruits know him as that dude who coached Oher in high school, Freeze says that’s just fine by him.

“No doubt, it helps … it’s an instant icebreaker for our assistant coaches or me, particularly for kids who have not heard of Hugh Freeze outside of the states of Mississippi, Tennessee or Arkansas — places I have coached,” Freeze said Tuesday according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I think everyone has at least knowledge, if not seen the movie ‘The Blind Side,’ the story of Michael Oher, which is a great introduction to who we are and how we want to go about treating your young son if he joins us. I definitely think it’s something we should use (in recruiting).”

If something works, roll with it — especially when you’re trying to convince high school kids that your university is the best choice for them to further their careers. Freeze said even if recruits don’t bring up “The Blind Side” or the Oher connection, he will.

As Eye on Football pointed out, Ole Miss currently has a shot at the consensus No. 1 recruit in the 2013 class. If the Rebels want to compete in the SEC, having that dude from the movies coaching the team might actually help somewhere along the line.

Houston Nutt Upset with Writer for Picking Ole Miss to Lose 49-10

Neal McCready, who covers Ole Miss football for Rivals, predicted that the Rebels would lose to Arkansas 49-10 in his weekly picks. McCready was correct that Ole Miss lost the game, but it was only 29-24. Apparently the five-point loss (complemented by a blown 17-0 lead) was a source of pride for Nutt. After the game, he had a few words for McCready.

“They played real hard,” Nutt said. “They played harder than that 49-10, right, Neal? One on my players told me. I don’t read your stuff; they tell me what you say. One of my freshmen told me that Neal McCready wrote that we were going to get beat 49-10. It wasn’t no 49-10.”

Apparently not all losses are equal in Houston Nutt’s book — Ole Miss fought hard for that defeat.

New rules: At the end of the day, it’s not about whether you win or lose, it’s about whether or not you got blown out. Thanks for the words of inspiration, Houston.

Helmet knock to The Wiz of Odds

Ole Miss Rebel Black Bear Mascot Costume Picture Revealed

Back in October, Ole Miss decided on the Rebel Black Bear as their new mascot, replacing Colonel Reb. Colonel Reb was so historically outdated it was about time they replaced him. Only if we knew they were going with the Rebel Black Bear as a replacement, we would have suggested they take more time figuring out something better. They’re already getting ridiculed for a picture of the mascot’s head that found its way onto the net Monday evening:

The folks at Tiger Droppings, where I first saw the picture, keep likening Rebel Black Bear to Smokey the Bear. The same is true for the people who commented on facebook where Sports by Brooks added the pic. Personally, I think Rebel Black Bear has a meaner streak than the friendly Smokey, so I’m not so sure the comparison is valid. What are they trying to say, all black bears look alike? Why is it that everything comes down to a racial issue?