The Ole Miss Rebels overachieved this season.
For a team that went 6-18 the last two seasons with a 1-15 conference record, hopes weren’t tremendously high at the beginning of this season. Even considering the optimism that hiring a new coach brings, expectations were still low.
Hugh Freeze, hired to replace Houston Nutt, brought a new offense and a new attitude, to Oxford.
The Rebels went 6-6 (3-5) this season, but easily should have been 9-3 with a 6-2 conference record. When playing the Texas A&M Aggies, who finished the regular season ranked 9th, the Rebels were up by ten in the fourth quarter before “Johnny Football” Manziel led a miraculous come from behind victory.
The Rebels led the Vanderbilt Commodores by six with 52 seconds remaining before Aaron Rodgers‘ little brother, Jordan, threw the game winning touchdown pass.
The last bit of heartache came in Baton Rouge. Ole Miss was leading the 8th ranked LSU Tigers by seven with ten minutes remaining before losing by six.
Needless to say, even though Ole Miss came up short in those games, the program is clearly on the rise. Their recruiting is proving that fact.
Ole Miss currently has a top 20 class, and that could turn into a top ten class with a few key additions. The Rebels are in the mix for three of the top players in the country, and numerous key prospects in the Magnolia State.
Defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, the number one player in the country by most analysts, appears likely to join his brother Denzel in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium next year.
Laquon Treadwell, the number one receiver in the country, recently took his official visit to Oxford, and was blown away. He’s indicated the Rebels are in the drivers seat for his services. Granted, he’s still scheduled to take a visit to see the Oklahoma Sooners, and an awful lot can change with one visit. But Ole Miss has a terrific chance. Could you imagine Treadwell playing alongside Donte Moncrief next year in Freeze’s up tempo offense?
The Rebels could also sign the number one running back in the country, Derrick Green. Green has long said that the Rebs were high on his list, and considering two of the other teams he’s looking at (Tennessee and Auburn) don’t currently have a Head Coach, I’d say Ole Miss has a good chance. His official visit to Oxford in January will be crucial.
In-state, the Rebels could be close to getting commitments from safety Antonio Conner, running back Kailo Moore and athlete Ashton Shumpert. That’s three of the top four players in the typically rich Magnolia State. That’s not even counting stud quarterback Ryan Buchanan, the top quarterback in the state and one of the best nationally, who’s been on board since June. Moore is currently committed to Mississippi State, but sources close to the star running back from Rosedale point him trending towards the Rebs.
It’s a long shot for the Rebs to sign all of the aforementioned players. Snagging Green from Michigan will be tough, as well as Treadwell from Oklahoma. But much stranger things have happened in the bizarre world of recruiting. If Ole Miss signs a few of these players, as they should, next season won’t come fast enough for Rebel fans.