Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Rebels Continue to Rise

Photo Courtesy of University Communications
Photo Courtesy of University Communications

At NSD press conference, Coach Hugh Freeze stresses importance of connections in bringing home the biggest recruiting class in school history.

By Peyton Spear, senior journalism major, Meek School of Journalism and New Media

pwspear@go.olemiss.edu

Coach Hugh Freeze entered the team meeting room grinning from ear to ear as he approached the podium. It’s hard not to as the coach of the Rebels after signing the Top 5 recruiting class in the country..

“I do think this has the ability to be a program changer,” Freeze said.

Entering his second season at Ole Miss, Freeze gave every appearance of being on Cloud 9 for his successful effort to land the nation’s No. 1 recruit and defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, No. 1 wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, No. 1 offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, No. 2 safety Tony Conner, and No. 3 offensive tackle Austin Golson, just to name a few.

Freeze stressed the importance of the connections many current players on the roster had with recruits to spark interest for Ole Miss. In particular, Rebel favorite Denzel Nkemdiche is the older brother of top recruit Robert Nkemdiche. Also, current defensive back Anthony Standifer was a teammate in high school and best friends with top wide receiver recruit Laquon Treadwell.

“Players sold our program,” Freeze said.

Major signees such as Treadwell and quarterbacks Devante Kincade and Ryan Buchanan befriended many other recruits on the fence about their decisions. Many had not even considered Ole Miss, but with the help of Rebel players, Ole Miss became an option for many of the undecided recruits.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever been a part of a recruiting class that was so active,” Freeze said.

Another standout comment from Freeze’s press conference was the fact the he believed three-star wide receiver commit Derrick Jones might be one of the hidden gems in this class. He spoke about visiting Jones at his high school basketball game and was impressed with his ability to get above the rim and how that would translate to football.

Giving praise to his own staff, the city of Oxford, the Ole Miss campus, faculty, staff, and students, Freeze said her was appreciative of the togetherness everyone had throughout the recruiting process. Since day one at the university, he stressed the importance of “family.”

Video produced by Ole Miss journalism students Lauren McLaughlin and Ryan Riley.