Of every school in the SEC, it’s no secret that one of the hardest places to recruit to is Ole Miss. Alabama has its tradition. Auburn has the War Eagle. LSU provides four years of Les Miles fueled entertainment. But Ole Miss? Sure Ed Oregeron had some success at the school, but otherwise, the Rebels have more or less spent the last several decades in a recruiting abyss. After all, how do you convince high school kids to come to a school that cares more about the partying off the field, than the game on it?
But what happens when your new coach is more famous than any of the players on his roster? Well, at Ole Miss, we’re slowly finding out that it isn’t the worst thing in the world.
That’s right, Coach Freeze has literally gone Hollywood, and isn’t afraid to bring up Michael Oher or ‘The Blind Side’ in recruiting pitches. Freeze was Oher’s coach at Briarcrest Christian High School in Memphis (TN), and will gladly mention the semi-association he had with the movie anytime he’s talking to future recruits. It’s no secret that while Oher’s coach was named “Coach Cotton” in the movie, that the man played by actor Ray McKinnon is in fact based off the real life Freeze. Now, all these years later, the new ball-coach at Ole Miss is more than open to discussing it.
Freeze to the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Michael Carvell:
“I think everyone has at least knowledge, if not seen the movie ‘The Blindside,’ the story of Michael Oher, which is a great introduction to who we are and how we want to go about treating your young son if he joins us. I definitely think it’s something we should use [in recruiting].”
And at least in terms of getting in the door, so far it seems to have worked. Ole Miss already has five early verbals for the class of 2013, including highly ranked Louisiana defensive tackle Charles Robinson. But more than who Ole Miss has already signed, it’s about who they’re at least talking to, a list which includes the nation’s No. 1 ranked high school player, Georgia defensive end Robert Nkemdiche. Nkemdiche visited The Grove this weekend for Ole Miss’s spring game, where he was accompanied by one of the nation’s other top high school juniors, Carl Lawson (who is currently committed to Auburn). And as the old saying goes, “once you get ‘em on campus, anything can happen.”
Well Freeze is certainly aware of that, and is also aware of some unique advantages Ole Miss has. One of which is definitely plenty of playing time.
More from the AJC:
I think the environment that we are going to create will attract a certain type of kid. That, combined with an athletic opportunity to compete early, be a trendsetter and trailblazer, and help us do something special here … hopefully will attract some of those Georgia kids to come with us.”
From the sounds of things, it isn’t just Georgia kids who are buying Freeze’s (movie) pitch.
For all his opinion, insights and more on college football, follow Aaron on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.