Rebels a Team to Watch in Recruiting
By Matthew Osborne
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With a strong finish to this 2013 recruiting class, Ole Miss can cement itself as a legitimate contender in the nation’s toughest conference for years to come.
The month directly following the end of the regular season is always extremely tiring and laborious for college football coaching staffs.
While college football fans are busy moaning the end of another exciting season, coaching staffs embark on the recruiting trail, attempting to find the next generation of football stars which will lead their program to glory.
With a large volume of elite high school seniors always choosing to wait until the end of the recruiting process to make their collegiate intentions public information, every coaching staff spends the last few weeks leading up to National Signing Day with high optimism for the close of the most recent recruiting class.
For Coach Hugh Freeze and the Ole Miss Rebels coaching staff, though, never has a recruiting class had the opportunity to close as strongly as this 2013 class.
Since the Rebels’ season ended on January 5, Ole Miss has already picked up one additional verbal commitment in its 2013 class, receiving an oral pledge from four-star in-state running back Kailo Moore.
Moore’s recent commitment has moved the Rebels into the top 25 in the 2013 class rankings for every major recruiting service, but the more impressive news is just how far Ole Miss can climb if they finish the class in the manner which they currently project.
Five-star defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, who is unanimously ranked as the No. 1 overall player in the class, recently announced that his college decision will come down to two schools: Ole Miss and LSU. The Rebels have long been thought to be the favorites in Nkemdiche’s recruitment since his early de-commitment from Clemson, as Nkemdiche’s brother, Denzel, is a linebacker at Ole Miss.
If Nkemdiche is to sign with Ole Miss, which by his own admission seems likely right now, it would help the Rebels tremendously with five-star safety recruit Antonio Conner, who is very close friends with Nkemdiche. Conner and Nkemdiche have been very good friends throughout the recruiting process, and the two have mentioned the serious possibility of playing together in college. As of right now, Conner is down to four schools, with Alabama and Ole Miss currently sitting as his two leaders.
Perhaps the next Ole Miss recruit to make his decision will be five-star prospect Laquon Treadwell, who is ranked by ESPN as the top receiver prospect in the class. Treadwell is down to Ole Miss, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, and he will announce his college decision at a press conference on January 17. For the time being, Ole Miss is thought to have the inside track for his services.
The last five-star recruit with which the Rebels are involved is likely also the biggest long shot to enroll in Oxford: offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil. Tunsil has kept Alabama and Georgia at the top of his list throughout his recruitment, but the No. 1 offensive lineman in the class will take an official visit to Ole Miss before National Signing Day.
Realistically, the Rebels can feel pretty good about the prospects of ending up with Nkemdiche, Conner and Treadwell, which would be a tremendous close to their 2013 class. The Rebels currently have zero five-star commits for 2013, but a commitment from the aforementioned trio would mean that only Alabama and USC would have more five-star recruits enrolling this summer, according to Scout.com.
Coach Freeze has already done exceptional work with the Rebels on the gridiron, taking a team projected to finish last in the SEC West and guiding it to a bowl victory.
Now, with a strong finish to this 2013 recruiting class, Ole Miss can cement itself as a legitimate contender in the nation’s toughest conference for years to come.