*Disclaimer: Attention grammar psychos I have a degree in Psychology…not English, Literature, or Journalism.
-While the Ole Miss staff was busy celebrating a historic, the rest of the free world who knows nothing about Ole Miss besides “The Blind Side” was accusing Ole Miss of cheating.
About three weeks before national signing day I remember texting a friend. I remember telling him that if Ole Miss sign the class that they’re supposed to sign then everyone will accuse them of cheating. His response was short and simple, “Why?" This question caught me off guard and my only response was something to the extent of "Because we’re not supposed sign a class this good." I had no proof that Ole Miss was cheating and, as I’ll list throughout the blog, I had more proof against Ole Miss cheating than for Ole Miss cheating.
The average person who doesn’t follow Ole Miss recruiting will look at the Ole Miss class and assume that they’re cheating because of the quantity of quality players. Let’s take a look at the players who signed and the lucky circumstances that worked to their advantage for some of these guys. I’ll start with the obvious, Robert Nkemdiche the consensus #1 recruit in the country. It was always believed that Ole Miss had the upperhand with Nkemdiche because his brother Denzel is on the football team. Another advantage for Ole Miss was that their mom really wanted them to play college football together. In the end momma got what momma wanted which is usually the case in recruiting.
Next up top 5 commit and consensus #1 wide receiver, Laquon Treadwell. Treadwell’s interest in Ole Miss was due in large part to his former high school teammate and best friend, Anthony Standifer, being a member of the team. After taking visits and seeing the progression of budding superstar sophomore receiver, Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss became the front runner for Treadwell and he eventually signed with Ole Miss.
Next was the surprise commitment of #1 offensive tackle, Laremy Tunsil. I could go on and on about the factors that led to his commitment, but I’ll simply say that the staff relentlessly recruited him using any and everything to their advantage. Another surprise commitment was that of 4 star offensive tackle, Austin Golson, is next. Golson was committed to Florida State but he was not solid since he was still taking visits. Golson’s from Alabama and he visited Alabama but he didn’t like it. He loved his visit to Ole Miss and later decommitted from FSU and committed to Ole Miss causing their fan base to collectively go ballistic. Another former FSU commit Christian Morgan, highly ranked tight end, committed because of his love for the campus and his sister being committed to the volleyball team.
The next recruit worth mentioning is the #1 juco player in the country, Lavon Hooks. Although Ole Miss just signed him in December, the previous staff had already signed him coming out of high school. All the current staff had to do was retain him. The next top recruit that Ole Miss signed was top 100 safety, Antonio Conner. Conner goes to South Panola High School. South Panola High School is 20 minutes away from Ole Miss and they’re known as a pipeline school for Ole Miss. Not to mention he has 3 former high school teammates on the football team already. The other 4 star commits were like: Mark Dodson, Kailo Moore, Jordan Wilkins, and Ryan Buchanan are all local.
For those of you who are still skeptical, let’s go with the numbers. Ole Miss is the flagship university of the poorest state in the United States. OK OK that doesn’t necessarily represent Ole Miss so let’s look at Ole Miss’ numbers. Ole Miss is last or near the bottom of the SEC in enrollment, endowment, athletic budget, football net revenue, and football coaching salary. If you don’t believe those numbers have no affect on potentially cheating then look no further than Mississippi State getting outspent by Auburn for Cam Newton. It’s hard to outbid bigger SEC schools for top players when they all make more money than you and have bigger alumni bases.
Its ironic that one doesn’t accuse Auburn of cheating even though they won 3 game this year and finished with a top 10 recruiting class with a new coaching staff that is largely unproven. Not to mention they hired Gus Malzahn as their head coach. You know, the same guy who was the lead recruiter of Cam Newton to Auburn if you catch my drift. Nobody accuses Vanderbilt of cheating with their top 20 class either although their football history is on par with Ole Miss basketball history.
The numbers that aren’t talked about nearly as much are the football numbers. This Ole Miss team went from a 2 win team to a 7 win team in one year. Their starting lineups consisted mainly of sophomore and juniors and they return around 20 starters which is always a good sign for any football team. The game against Alabama game was closer than the final score predicted and they lost to LSU, Vanderbilt, and Texas A&M by a total of 10 points. Their offense was also better in every major category. Recruits take notice of improvement and I’m sure that many commits would admit that they noticed these improvements. It probably helped to have a campus that is listed as the most beautiful campus in the country as well as the #1 tailgating spot in college football. Also, if we’re being honest, having a school known for partying and girls will attract the typical 18 year old recruit. If this information doesn’t make you second guess if Ole Miss cheated then you’re probably this guy.
If you have proof that Ole Miss cheating then here’s a friendly message from Hugh Freeze. If you don’t have any proof and you’re just speculating, a wise philosopher once said: