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HottyToddy.com’s Daily Ole Miss Sports Roundup

SPORTS ROUNDUP_EDIT_2

HottyToddy.com is giving readers a roundup of all the commentary and information about the Ole Miss Rebels from various publications around the Web.

Readers will be able to check out the latest information in a single post every day throughout the year. Here at HottyToddy.com, we are doing all the leg work to find the information that people may want to hear about Ole Miss sports.

Today’s roundup feature stories from OMRebelNation.com, TheRebelWalk.com and OleHottyToddy.com.


Vaught-Hemingway Stadium’s Transformation Continues at Ole Miss

Renovations of Ole Miss’ Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and surrounding facilities continue, and perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle as it relates to the football team has been completed — a new natural grass surface is in place.

Read more on SECCountry.com: http://sec.news/1t2CoNG

Boston College Loving Oxford

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This happens every time Ole Miss or anyone else brings a guest to Oxford — they fall in love. I guess that’s just what Oxford does to people.

You know what Hugh Freeze always says… “If we can just get them on campus….”

Now it’s Boston College’s turn.

Boston College coach Mike Gambino gushed about our favorite town in his postgame press conference on Saturday night after his BC club beat Utah.

“I think as a ballclub, with our players and all of the parents talking, I think we are falling in love with Oxford, the people here, how we are being treated and the hospitality,” Gambino said. “I think we are going to have a lot of people rooting for Ole Miss in every sport down the road after the experience they have given us here.”

Sounds like an opportunity for a home and home series in football if you ask me.

Read more on OMRebelNation.com.


Colby Bortles Understandably Dejected after Ole Miss’ Early Exit from NCAA Regional

Junior Colby Bortles  Photo by Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics
Junior Colby Bortles
Photo by Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics

Ole Miss third baseman Colby Bortles sat next to teammate Kyle Watson and listened to head coach Mike Bianco try to put into words what it meant for their season to come to an abrupt end at Swayze Field Saturday afternoon.

“It’s hard to talk after that,” Bianco said somberly.

“I just told the kids that that’s why it is the greatest game on earth. You have the thrill of victory and it all just rip your heart out. As we sit here, I just feel awful for my guys.” — Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco.

Bortles and his teammates had many goals this season, among them: hosting one of the 16 NCAA Regionals, receiving a coveted national seed—or at least being in the conversation for it—and making it all the way to Omaha for the College World Series.

At the post game press conference following the Rebels’ loss to Tulane, Bianco answered questions about the performance of his team, while third baseman Bortles, understandably disappointed in the loss, kept his head down for much of the time as the microphone was passed around the media room.

He thought about the unfortunate ending to Ole Miss’ 2016 season, his dreams of playing in Omaha crushed by late-inning heroics from the Utes and Green Wave.

Bortles did what was asked of him this season. He hammered 61 hits, resulting in 39 runs and 51 RBI. He provided explosive power throughout the SEC tournament, notching four doubles to produce a team-high eight RBI in Hoover.

He moved into the program’s top-10 list for doubles in a single season and at the end of the SEC tournament had 21 doubles on the year, ranking him second in the SEC and tied for fifth on the Rebels’ single season list.

In Ole Miss’ win over Vanderbilt that propelled the Rebels into the semifinals, Bortles pounded two doubles that led to a career-high four RBI in the game.

He was second on the team in home runs (nine), trailing only center fielder J.B. Woodman, who led the conference with 14.

Bortles listened with a faraway look on his face while Bianco praised his team’s efforts after the team’s loss to Tulane.

I’m just so proud of this team. I don’t know if many expected us to be in June in Oxford with this team this year. But those guys in the third base dugout did. As a coach, I couldn’t be any prouder. It’s all you can ask, for them to give you everything they can. It’s just a wonderful group of kids and they are great representatives of the University and it is just a shame that it ended like this. – Mike Bianco

Ole Miss came close to playing for the SEC Baseball Tournament title last weekend in Hoover but gave up its three-run lead in the bottom of the eighth inning to Texas A&M. The Rebels also had Utah and Tulane on the ropes late in those games until both programs just made a few more hits and pitches than Ole Miss did.

In short, the Rebels played with a lot of energy and effort. They just had some bad breaks at the wrong time.

You look at these two games and our guys played their hearts out. The baseball gods didn’t shine on us. The other teams just got a few more hits, a few more pitches and made a few more plays. – Mike Bianco

There is no shame in losing when you have given it your all. The Rebels won—and lost—with the same game plan, and Colby Bortles was a integral part of it, helping Ole Miss finish with a record of 43-19 and a top-5 RPI going into the NCAA tournament.

Bortles was asked Saturday afternoon if anything changed during the week, following the Rebels’ exciting run in Hoover.

I don’t think much changed. I think we still swung it well. There were a lot of good plays out there. We had some chances with guys on base where we couldn’t come through the last two games and we did in Hoover. I think that was the main thing. I think we swung well, it just didn’t fall for us. – Colby Bortles

Then the inevitable question came from one of the local beat writers: “Why have the Rebels gone 0-2 in NCAA Regionals the last two seasons?”

Bortles paused, as if he, too, was trying to understand what happened. He had been sitting there on the interview dais waiting patiently for the post-game press conference to end, but the junior from Oviedo, Florida opened up and spoke frankly.

I don’t know. It’s really hard; it sucks.
Colby Bortles on the Rebels’ exit from the tourney

“It sucks,” he reiterated as he was overcome with emotion. “We just wanted to go to Omaha.”

Coach Bianco and Watson sat nearby, and when they looked at team captain Bortles, they saw someone who, like themselves, hates to lose—but they also saw someone who truly cares about his team and its fans. His tears were a testament to that.

Though Ole Miss fans do not know if Bortles will forgo his senior year for major league baseball, they do know he has been a true competitor who has represented the Ole Miss Rebels proudly.

Read more on TheRebelWalk.com.


Ole Miss football nabs 2017 QB Alex Faniel

Photo by John Bowen
Photo by John Bowen

The search for a quarterback in the 2017 recruiting class has been long for Ole Miss but on Thursday they offered three-star Alex Faniel and he quickly made a decision.

Ole Miss football FINALLY landed their signal caller for the class of 2017 Thursday with the addition of Virginia native Alex Faniel. At 6’6 230 pounds, he’s hard to miss.

According to Ben Garrett of the Ole Miss Spirit, Faniel visited Ole Miss his freshman year and instantly fell in love. He was attending Ole Miss’ “elite” camp Thursday, and was offered a scholarship by Hugh Freeze and Dan Werner and committed on the spot.

From the brief interviews I’ve watched a watched and read, Faniel (pronounced Fan-yule) has a great personality and loves Ole Miss. Physically, he looks like he could play football at 245 and be a red-zone nightmare for opponents. Although very athletic, he is definitely a pocket-passer first, who can scramble if he needs to.

After watching his film, my favorite attribute of his, is that he keeps his eyes down the field, even when rushed, and is not scared to take a shot. When he had a pocket, he stepped up in it, kept his eyes down the field, and delivered an accurate ball the the receiver.

One thing to keep in mind with Faniel, is that he is polynesian and that is a big deal to fellow polynesians. with Ben Aigamaua and Corey Batoon on staff, the Rebels have tried to start a “poly pipeline” of sorts. Adding Rommel Mageo in the offseason from Oregon State has helped.

There are a few more names to watch for the 2017 class including four-star offensive tackle Chuck Filiaga and four-star defensive tackle Jay Tufele, among others. Ole Miss barely missed on fellow poly and five-star, Mique Juarez in 2016.

Faniel committed to Ole Miss over in-state rivals Virginia and Virginia Tech, and other offers from Penn State, South Carolina, N.C. State, and East Carolina. The Hokies were considered the favorite prior to his decision.

Ole Miss is set for the future at quarterback with Chad Kelly at the helm, followed closely by former five-star true freshman Shea Patterson and four-star redshirt-freshman Jason Pellerin.

This commitment is big though, because once Chad leaves, Pellerin and Shea are the only two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster. With the addition of Alex Faniel, Ole Miss can rest assured that they’ll have quality depth in the coming years.

Ole Miss is not done with 2017 quarterback recruiting, however.

To be a great team, you must have depth. The Ole Miss staff believes that it must have four quarterbacks on the roster in order to be quality at the position for the now and future. With that in mind, look for Ole Miss to dive into the junior college ranks this fall, after watching a few games and scouting, and snagging a walk-on junior college quarterback.

Read more on OleHottyToddy.com.


For questions or comments, email adam.brown@hottytoddy.com.

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