Imagine this: You’re a young athlete who grows up starring on your football teams at every level. After a strong high school career you achieve your dream by signing with your favorite college on National Signing Day, only to go home and hear your coach refer to you and all your future classmates as, “a penalty.”
You just described the 2017 Ole Miss football class.
As noted by Ole Miss blog Red Cup Rebellion, when Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze was asked about his most recent recruiting class, he cited the everpresent cloud from an NCAA investigation hanging over his program, as well as negative recruiting tactics from other SEC schools as reasons for the Rebels’ relatively lackluster 36th-ranked class. The group was just the 12th-ranked program in the SEC, and Freeze — who is accustomed to landing more than three four-star prospects in a single year — was not too pleased about the circumstances surrounding his team.
“We’ve suffered penalties,” Freeze said at Ole Miss’ annual NSD press conference, “This recruiting class: it was a penalty. To be under the cloud we’re under.”
Those words may sting for the likes of four-star recruits Breon Dixon, D.D. Bowie and Chester Graves. No matter what he or other critics say, Freeze does have one thing going for him: No one will question the passion for Ole Miss football on the part of his 2017 commits, especially Tae-kion Reed.