This years crazy signing day story belongs to the mother of Plantation,FL RB Alex Collins. Apparently, shortly before Alex was to fax in his LOI to Arkansas, his Mother took them and ran away with them, and no one knows her whereabouts.
Since it was a slow (but happy) National Signing Day for Michigan fans, I thought I'd take on a related topic today regarding recruiting and our friends in SEC land.
As Brian briefly touched on during his NSD piece, Bill Simmons’ latest column dealt with the subject of steroids and how the media avoids speculation about who might be juicing. It is a really good piece that you should read. The message is this – we all have a mental list of players who we want to see pee in a cup to prove their innocence…..why not openly talk about those lists?
Many of us feel like NCAA corruption is a similar topic – taboo to the main stream media. Much like how the baseball writers looked the other way when McGwire and Sosa were “saving the sport” we see college media look the other way as Saban hands out medical redshirts like candy, Reggie Bush lives in free housing, Oregon pays a pseudo agent, or OSU lets players trade equipment for benefits around town. Why has there never been a “deep throat source” willing to blow up recruiting violations? John Bacon even touches on the subject in “Three And Out” when interviewing the quarterbacks, but doesn’t dig deeper.
In 2013 the obvious “pee in the cup” list for recruiting corruption starts with Ole Miss. This is a team with a mediocre recent past if we’re being generous. They haven’t won the SEC since the 1960’s and haven’t been relevant nationally except for their #20 finish in 2009. Yet this season they bring in a consensus top ten recruiting class and some of the nation’s best players. What gives?
It is easy to speculate about potential corruption but aside from a picture on LaQuan Treadwell’s twitter account of him holding several hundred dollars, there’s no way for us to have any evidence. So we could sit here and rant about it while sounding like Skip Bayliss debating the wonders of Tim Tebow, but then the message is lost. Can we find statistical evidence that something is deviating from the norm with Ole Miss?
I contend that there are several ways we can do this, and I’m going to start such a conversation. However, I have neither the time nor the skill to finish this scavenger hunt so I wanted to post this primer and then let the power of the Michigan blog sphere potentially dig further if there’s interest.
Below is a table summarizing Mississippi’s recruiting classes from the past several years along with their final record and rank:
Total # of
(# from MS)
(# from MS)
|n/a||7||27||3 (0)||9 (5)||7|
|2012||7-6||40||19||0 (-)||2 (1)||1|
|2011||2-10||19||27||1 (1)||5 (5)||0|
|2010||4-8||18||25||0 (-)||7 (6)||1|
|2009||9-4||18||37||1 (0)||8 (2)||7|
|2008||9-4||29||31||1 (0)||2 (0)||3|
|2007||3-9||27||22||0 (-)||6 (1)||5|
|2006||4-8||15||30||2 (0)||7 (4)||5|
|2005||3-8||30||28||1 (1)||2 (0)||2|
|2004||4-7||45||25||0 (-)||3 (3)||0|
|2003||10-3||38||21||0 (-)||2 (1)||1|
|2002||7-6||33||18||1 (1)||8 (7)||1|
Without running any data through statistical analysis, here are some observations:
- There were several good recruits in the state of Mississippi this season and historically players from that state stay home to play football. The Rebels deserve credit for signing those guys and that helps to tone down suspicion perhaps.
- Coach Hugh Freeze was hired before last season and did enact somewhat of a turn-around with a 7-6 record that included a bowl win. New coaches can sometimes lead to a bump in recruiting prowess. However, prior to this season he had a total of ONE YEAR of college head coaching experience…..at Arkansas State.
But there’s still something out of the ordinary going on here:
- Ole Miss has never had a class ranked higher than 15th….but this year they are 7th. It would also seem that their higher ranked classes from past years were based as much on quantity (37 recruits in 2009???) as quality.
- In the four previous seasons Ole Miss got a TOTAL of eight players ranked 4-star or higher to commit from out of state. In 2013 they have seven.
- Only one five-star recruit in four seasons has attended from out of state….three are coming this year.
- From 2010-2012 the Rebels had a record of 13-24 and pulled in a total of one 5-star and fourteen 4-star recruits, all but one of whom were from the state of Mississippi. This season they have signed twelve top recruits and just five are from the state.
It is very possible that Hugh Freeze is a great recruiter and has found a new method that is within the rules to attract this talent. It is also possible that this recruiting class had somewhat of a snowball effect and talent attracted talent. But there’s enough circumstantial evidence here for further investigation. This is where I turn it over to the talent on this blog. Here are some ideas for further analysis:
- Have other teams out-performed their historical trends by this much in the recent past?
- Based on the presumed correlation between record and recruiting success (probably 2-year record) has any other team out-performed their on-field success this abnormally before?
- Can we quantify the typical recruiting improvement a coach sees after his first year and compare it to what Freeze is doing?
- Has anyone on the blog been recruited and witnessed corruption first hand?
- Are there any theories on why this seemingly obvious corruption hasn't come out in the open at any school despite the large number of people involved and the fact that many of these people are teenage kids not being recruited for their ACT scores?
Maybe I'm alone in my frustration on this topic, but when you hear ESPN go on and on about the SEC and even Ole Miss specifically on signing day I'd like to hear someone at least ask the question - how are they doing this?
The incident happened in January and he had a prior arrest back in November involving marijuana and had to be tased because he became very aggressive.
How do schools not know or if they did know, why did they continue to recruit him?
Hoke just told Sam Webb that's just a rumor, he has never cried over a recruit (read: Green). His dad - yes. Recruits - nah. Not sure where that rumor started. As some people in that thread said, you could see Hoke crying after a young man graduates after 5 years with Hoke but just for a signing? Nah.
Now has Hoke often pointed at a recruit? Hell yes. (allegedly)
EDIT - as poster commented below the quote came from Green
“He was real excited,” Green said. “I kept him on his toes. But when I told him today he was just astound and actually started crying. It was crazy, it was an unbelievable experience.”
Res ipsa loquitor:
Hugh Freeze has managed to reel in the greatest recruiting class in the history of Ole Miss Football. This is an undeniable truth that the country is still trying to wrap its head around. Like everyone else, I want to know how a recruiting coup like this happened to a program seemingly headed no where.
A quick glance at Hugh Freeze's coaching record screams mediocrity, and a coach that hardly seems to be qualified to coach in the sec. Now, overall record isn't everything, because Brady Hoke's overall record before coming to Michigan wasn't world beating, but they were of course extenuating circumstances. (see taking over a horrid ball state program) His coaching resume includes a fairly successful high school program, Lambuth (yes Lambuth), Arkansas State, and various titles at Ole Miss. Nothing against those "fine" institutions, but they hardly seem like the type of schools on the resume of a coach who could bring in a class of this magnitude.
A closer glance at his High School program, could give us his credibility among certain recruits. As some, or most of you may know, he was the high school coach of Michael Oher, and was depicted in the book/ movie "The Blind Side". While seemingly unimportant to the MgoBlog community, that could resonate with a lot of kids, and a lot of parents in the recruiting circles.
Still, his fame not withstanding, it would hardly seem to validate his ability to pull this kind of class down to a school like Ole Miss. Not to mention a highly publicized racial incident after the election this past November, and the flood of top recruits to Ole Miss seems crazy. I'm trying to look at this with a impartial viewpoint, but this top rated class at Ole Miss just doesn't add up.
Does this guy look like a coach that screams great recruiter?