How Will Ole Miss Replace Wesley "Crimedog" McGriff?

By Patrick Schmidt
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss was the big winner on signing day this year and the unsung hero for the team’s success on the recruiting trail was secondary coach Wesley “Crimedog” McGriff, who left earlier this week to take a job on Rob Ryan’s defense with the New Orleans Saints, so how will that impact the Rebels on the recruiting trail in 2013?

McGriff was responsible for getting the nation’s top player, Robert Nkemdiche, to come to Oxford as well as the nation’s top wide receiver, Laquon Treadwell, among others. This class may go down as the best to ever come through Ole Miss, so repeating it would have been difficult, but it is even more difficult without McGriff. That doesn’t mean it isn’t possible, it just means that McGriff will be sorely missed and tough to replace.

Hugh Freeze and the rest of Rebel Nation should feel proud of the new job he has because it was thanks to the success he had at Ole Miss, but it also leaves a big hole that his successor will be hard pressed to fill. My initial reaction to his departure was that at least it’s early in the recruiting cycle and prior to spring practice, so there is time to find a replacement.

“The immediate names that I’ve seen tossed around (and not from Ole Miss officials) are guys like Mississippi State assistant head coach Tony Hughes and Duke defensive backs coach Derek Jones. Both have Ole Miss ties. I would think Ole Miss would want to hire a strong recruiter, but also needs a good on-field coach,” said Hugh Kellenberger of the Clarion-Ledger.

I would love to see Ole Miss hire a Mississippi State coach just out of pure joy in watching the reactions from the fans of both schools that make up one of my favorite rivalries.

Another thing to monitor is how this loss impacts the recruitment of Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill., Plainfield South), who is one of the top linebackers in the nation and who just scheduled a trip to Ole Miss. McGriff had success in Illinois last year luring Treadwell to Illinois, so we’ll have to see if his absence has any bearing on Garrett’s decision.

Whoever the next coach is to come to Ole Miss, he’s coming into a great situation with a strong head coach, beautiful campus and a rabid fan base that is hungry to win.

Let’s just hope he is prepared to fill the big shoes of McGriff.

Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt

Patrick is the host of “The Wake-up Call,” on airing Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here.

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