Well, Rebels, the time has finally arrived. It is National Signing Day 2016.
For the football world, you could say that Christmas came back! We all eagerly awaited for those letters of intent from those we expected as well as the surprise, last-minute commits. If y’all thought Coach Freeze’s 2013 class was something to remember, then sit back because the 2016 recruitment class is going to be fiery to say the least.
Recruiting is no easy task. This I know firsthand after working years in recruiting; every moment and even littlest details matter at the end of the day. Whatever the case may be, the coaches work year-round, recruiting nonstop, especially in the SEC.
For the Rebels, preserving the program’s stability and vitality has not been an easy task prior to the Freeze Era. However, one thing is for certain: the program has finally found a coach who is here to stay for a long while to build a program that is going to be a well-oiled machined over the years.
However, like anything that could ever be deemed great in life, program building takes time. In the SEC, the concept of patience and time isn’t always friendly to the coaches and football programs. The pressure of overnight success have become the norm as more coaches are in the hot seat to produce numerous wins.
But, as cliche as it is to say, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
To borrow a line from Bo Bennett: “Anyone who wants to sell you overnight success or wealth isn’t interested in your success; they are interested in your money.”
Any coaches or football programs guaranteeing us fans instant championships aren’t looking at the bigger picture or worried about the long-term success. At the end of the day, building greatness takes time and nurturing. To build a program beyond one season takes effort year after year from elite players who can make success last beyond a season.
Recruiting isn’t always about getting the most five and four-star recruits. The football programs that will find long-term success need a diverse roster of the known and unknown recruits. This is because the football programs need players that fit the heart, goals and drive of the football teams. Athletes who don’t match the values of their football programs may have a harder time finding success.
Now, Coach Freeze has sought out for recruits whose values match his and the Rebels to build a promising football program at Ole Miss. His tireless efforts in finding recruits to ‘bring home’ are continuously building a dream for the Ole Miss Rebels and its fans. To Freeze, the football program is more than the appearance of success; it is a home to talented players who all share the same drive.
With that said, this year’s recruiting class is going to be one for the books. Even before the National Signing Day, Ole Miss ranked fourth with 22 commitments. The Rebel 2016 recruiting class is geared to build offense into a well-oiled machine. Coach Freeze may put more fire into the offensive line since Chad Kelly has chosen to stay for one more year with the Rebels. I think this is the year the offensive and defensive lines are balanced. The new recruits could make the Rebel offense line unforgettable, especially with the five-star recruits.
Out of the 22 commitments, eight has already enrolled early at the University of Mississippi. Two of the early enrollees are five-star recruits: quarterback Shea Patterson and defensive tacke Benito Jones. One of my favorite five-stars from the 22 commitments is Greg “Big Tex” Little, offensive linesman from Allen, Texas.
Today, Ole Miss has welcomed four-star wide receiver A.J. Brown, four-star and ESPN’s No. 1 safety, Deontay Anderson, and four-star tight-end Jacob Mathis among many great recruits.
Like the 2013 class, don’t expect some of this young talent to be on the bench too long. I can bet Coach Freeze and his staff have big plans to bring in some of the new players on both sides of the offense.
This day has been exhilarating for Ole Miss football program and its fans. The future looks so bright that I’m glad I brought my wayfarers for today’s show. I applaud Coach Freeze and his staff as well as the new recruits and their families for choosing to commit to the Ole Miss Rebels.
Welcome to Oxford, y’all! Happy National Signing Day 2016!
Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo is a HottyToddy.com contributor, veteran SEC sports journalist and Brown University graduate. She loves good cigars, good games and a smooth glass of bourbon — not necessarily in that order. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.