At 5 p.m. on Thursday, January 17, the Ole Miss Rebels knocked down the first domino in what could quickly turn into a 2013 football-recruiting coup, the likes of which Ole Miss and Oxford, Miss., have never seen in the program’s storied history.
In the words of Ole Miss fans, "Are You Ready?"
Laquon Treadwell. That’s the first nationally significant domino head coach Hugh Freeze saw fall Thursday afternoon in Crete, Ill. The 6’3", 190-pound Crete-Monee High School (Crete, Illinois) wide receiver, the No. 1-rated wide receiver and No. 10-rated overall-prospect in the 2013 class by Rivals.com, officially committed to Ole Miss (OM) over Oklahoma State University (OSU), Oklahoma University (OU) and the University of Michigan (UM).
With Treadwell commiting to the Rebels Thursday, there is now ample reason to believe that other highly-rated high school recruits may soon follow in his footsteps.
Prior to Treadwell even making his big announcement, the Rebels had already put together a 2013 recruiting class "pre-Laquon" ranked No. 17 in the nation by Rivals.com. For a second-year coach in only his first full year of recruiting, that was already impressive. Ole Miss fans will tell you for years how horribly the “Coach Ed Orgeron Experiment” went in Oxford, but in fact Freeze actually finessed his recruiting prowess as an assistant coach at Ole Miss a few years back under the aforementioned Orgeron.Guess what? It paid off, Rebel fans! Rivals.com now has the Rebels ranked #11 nationally in recruiting after nabbing the highly-touted Treadwell, and that ranking will only head north in coming weeks.
In the class Freeze and his staff have put together thus far this year (now including Laquon Treadwell), there are already some major names: 5-star running back Mark Dodson Jr. (Whitehaven High School; Memphis, Tenn.), 5-star defensive tackle Lavon Hooks (Northeast Mississippi Community College; Booneville, Miss.), 4-star running back Kailo Moore (West Bolivar High School; Rosedale, Miss.), 4-star quarterback Ryan Buchannan (Jackson Prep; Jackson, Miss.), 3-star tight end Christian Morgan (Prestonwood Christian Academy; Plano, Texas), and 3-star quarterback Devante Kincade (Skyline High School; Dallas, Texas) among others.
Further, Treadwell has supposedly become a pretty good acquaintance of the undisputed top-rated overall-recruit in the nation, 5-star defensive end Robert Nkemdiche (Grayson High School; Loganville, Ga.). Robert is also the brother of current Ole Miss linebacker and fan-favorite, sophomore Denzel Nkemdiche—yet another factor working in Ole Miss’ favor. Denzel’s little brother has narrowed his final choice down to Ole Miss or its archrival LSU, with Ole Miss said to be the favorite per many national recruiting gurus. Fellow Grayson High School teammate and 3-star defensive back Robert Kamara may also have an interest in playing for the Rebels in 2013 and beyond.
Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? However, there’s even more for Freeze and the Ole Miss faithful to be excited about as National Signing Day nears on February 6, 2013.
A mere 20 miles away from Oxford, South Panola High School (Batesville, Miss.) is home to Rivals.com's No. 5-rated defensive back in the country, Antonio “Tony” Conner. He has reportedly narrowed his decision down to either Ole Miss or Alabama. However, Conner is not expected to make his decision until closer to signing day, similar to Nkemdiche.
Back in the sstate of Georgia, the No. 2-rated national prospect, 5-star defensive end Carl Lawson (Milton High School; Alpharetta, Ga.), also appears to have a strong interest in what Ole Miss is putting together. While currently a verbal commitment to Auburn, widespread speculation is that the Rebels may very well stand a good chance to land Lawson come signing day if other top-rated recruits commit early to Ole Miss.
Just skimming the surface of the ever-changing, carnival-atmosphere that is 2013 college football recruiting, Coach Hugh Freeze has put his Rebels in a position that other college programs are certainly enviable of with a mere three weeks remaining before signing day.
I stated earlier this week that I believed Ole Miss had about an 80% chance to snag the nation’s No. 1-rated wide receiver, Laquon Treadwell, and that turned up aces for the Rebels. Now that Treadwell has committed, I feel there is around a 75% chance that Freeze and company could will land commitments from another couple of highly ranked prospects in the 2013 class.
Who? I think Ole Miss has a great chance to now land at least a couple of the aforementioned national recruits such as Nkemdiche, Kamara, Conner or Lawson. The most likely addition would be Nkemdiche making the decision to line up in front of his little brother Denzel as a part of the young, talented Rebel defense.
Coach Hugh Freeze and his staff should be applauded for the truly significant work they have done in a very short amount of time as they try and put together what may very likely be a top-5 (yes, you read that correctly) recruiting class for the Rebels in 2013. If they can keep their current verbal commitments and add a couple of these other nationally-ranked prospects, there is no reason to believe that the recruiting dominoes won’t fall into place for Ole Miss and allow them to become a truly significant foe in the SEC West in 2013 and beyond.
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