Ole Miss turned to a Mississippi native and fast-rising star in the coaching profession to complete its staff with the hiring of Jacob Peeler as wide receivers coach, head coach Hugh Freeze announced Wednesday.
A dynamic on-field coach and top recruiter, Peeler served the last four seasons on the staff at Cal. He was a graduate assistant in 2013-14 before being promoted to assistant coach for inside receivers in 2015.
The Kosciusko native helped turn Cal’s offense into one of the nation’s best, as the Golden Bears ranked top 10 in passing offense, top 15 in total offense and top 25 in scoring offense for three straight seasons.
“Jacob has quickly developed a reputation as an elite recruiter and an outstanding offensive coach who relates well to his players,” Freeze said. “He is Mississippi born and bred and should be able to hit the ground running as we continue to elevate our program.”
As a recruiter, Peeler helped bring in a strong 2016 class highlighted by the signing of wide receiver Demetris Robertson, considered the nation’s top-ranked receiver by Rivals, 247Sports and 247Sports Composite. In his freshman campaign, Robertson hauled in 50 catches for 767 yards and seven TDs en route to receiving Freshman All-America accolades from several outlets.
In 2016, Peeler assisted with a Cal offense that finished fourth nationally in passing (358.8 ypg), 10th in total offense (513.2 ypg) and 22nd in scoring (37.1 ppg). Among his inside receivers, he helped freshman Melquise Stovall (42 catches, 415 yards, 3 TDs) become an immediate contributor and helped senior Bug Rivera (41 catches, 386 yards, 3 TDs) transition to a full-time receiver role and move up the depth chart in his final season in Berkeley.
The inside receivers played a major role in the Golden Bears’ 8-5 record in 2015 and a victory in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forced Bowl over Air Force, Cal’s first bowl win since 2008. Cal’s offense flourished, setting numerous records including single-season school marks in passing yardage (4,892), passing yards per game (376.3 ypg), passing touchdowns (44), total offense (6,879), total yards per game (529.2 ypg), total touchdowns (63), scoring offense (37.9 ppg, modern-era record), first downs (341) and first downs passing (201), with all the marks previously set in 2013 or 2014.
Cal ranked third nationally in passing offense, eighth in total offense and 17th in scoring offense in 2015, with all of the numbers second in the Pac-12.
Peeler coached a trio of inside wide receivers in his first season as a full-time coach on the offensive staff in 2015 that had at least 40 catches led by Bryce Treggs (45 catches, team-high 956 yards, 7 TDs) and also including Darius Powe (47-560-8) and Stephen Anderson (41-474-2). Treggs and Anderson were both two-time All-Pac-12 honorable mention selections who picked up their second honor as 2015 seniors under Peeler. Treggs also finished his career fourth all-time at Cal with 195 receptions, fifth with 2,506 yards receiving and 10th with 15 touchdown catches.
All three players signed undrafted free agent contracts following the 2016 NFL Draft, with Anderson going to Houston, Powe signing with the New York Giants and Treggs hooking on with the San Francisco 49ers.
Cal set or equaled nine single-season school or modern-era records on the offense side of the ball in 2014 while Peeler was working with the inside receivers as a graduate assistant, all of which were broken in 2015. Cal ranked in the top 25 nationally in a total of seven offensive categories in 2014, including passing offense (6th, 346.0 ypg), scoring offense (10th, 38.3 ppg), and total offense (13th, 495.2 ypg).
Despite being an inexperienced unit that was the nation’s second-youngest to start the season and battling injuries that caused players on the preseason depth chart to miss 138 games, Cal still set school records during Peeler’s first season in 2013 for single-season passing yards (3,977), pass completions (368) and total plays (1,046). The passing offense finished third in the Pac-12 and 10th in the nation with an average of 331.4 yards per game that was also the best in school history before being surpassed in both 2014 and 2015.
Peeler developed the likes of current Green Bay Packers’ tight end and third-round 2014 NFL Draft pick Richard Rodgers as well as Anderson, Powe and Treggs during his time in Berkeley.
Prior to continuing his career out west, Peeler spent four seasons (2009-12) on the football staff at his alma mater Louisiana Tech, serving as a graduate assistant working with the inside receivers in 2012 after three previous seasons in quality control roles on the offensive side of the ball. Before returning to Louisiana Tech, he coached at both Itawamba Community College (Fulton, Miss.) and Independence Community College (Independence, Kansas).
Peeler added a master’s degree in kinesiology in 2008 from Mississippi State after receiving his bachelor’s degree in education in 2007 from Louisiana Tech. At Louisiana Tech, he played two seasons (2005-06) and started all 13 games as a senior for an offensive line that helped the Bulldogs produce 4,479 total yards. Peeler redshirted his first season in Ruston in 2004.
Peeler arrived at Louisiana Tech after playing every offensive snap for two seasons in 2002 and 2003 at Holmes Community College (Goodman, Missississippi), where he earned All-America as well first team all-state and first team All-NJCAA Region 23 honors.
Peeler and his wife, the former Tori Hollis, were married in July 2016.
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