OT: A closer look at Hugh Freeze

Submitted by MGoVoldemort on February 6th, 2013 at 2:01 PM

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?



February 6th, 2013 at 2:10 PM ^

Would you please edit the title to make it a little more informative?  I wasn't sure if Hugh Freeze had died, been accused of bribing commits, or found with CRAIG JAMES AND FIVE DEAD HOOKERS.


February 6th, 2013 at 2:16 PM ^

Without a doubt. Brady Hoke is not normal, with his straight shooting, and genuine honesty. The hard reality, is that recruiting is filled with guys with images to keep, and who sell themselves as much as they sell the school. 


February 6th, 2013 at 3:54 PM ^

Cause somebody was giving me grief about it so rather than getting into a pissing match about something as silly as that I changed it to something completely ridiculous.

Basically my feelings got hurt so I took my avatar and went home.  But due to popular demand I'm going to change it back.  I'm done pouting.


February 6th, 2013 at 4:25 PM ^

I can understand that.  I would probably not use personal photos myself (even though my kids are extraordinarly cute).  But I always thought it was cool that you did and that you have been so gracious in the silly criticism that comes your way.  Do what you feel most comfortable doing.  I was just teasing you.


February 6th, 2013 at 2:19 PM ^

I'd highly recommend reading Bruce Feldman's Meat Market.  It covers an entire recruiting cycle at Ole Miss under Ed Orgeron when Freeze was on the staff as tight end and then as receivers coach but was Coach O's recruiting coordinator.  There's no doubt the guy can recruit and if his first class is an indication, Ole Miss could overtake Mississippi State as the premier program in that State once again.  You can make stacks of money jokes all you want but until there is proof of actual allegations there's no reason to think foul play is involved otherwise.  If something does happen down the line, then you can I told you so and everything but for now, Ole Miss is an up and comer.  Freeze had a good record at Arkansas State, despite only being there for a short time, and his Ole Miss connections got him this job.  He's still gotta prove it on the field though!  Recruiting means nothing unless the players produce.


February 6th, 2013 at 2:37 PM ^

Alternatively, the argument "a mediocre at best program is doing something well? It has to be because the program is cheating" sounds an awful lot like RCMB threads on Michigan's basketball team. Is there any evidence that that Ole Miss is doing anything wrong other than doing well?

And, as highlighted below, some of their best recruits had pre-existing relationships with Ole Miss (e.g., brother, best friend already on the team). It's not like all these guys committed out of nowhere.


February 6th, 2013 at 2:53 PM ^

Doesn't change the crux of what I was saying. There still isn't any evidence that Ole Miss is doing anything wrong other than doing unexpectedly well. Plus, as I (and others) have pointed out before, some of the highest ranked recruits they landed have existing relationships with people in the program. This class could easily be an abberation caused by good timing with some high ranked players. And don't forget, this is Freeze's first real recruiting class. He was hired by Ole Miss something like 2 months before last year's signing day. So it could be that the guy just is legitimately good at recruiting.

I'm not defending Freeze or Ole Miss, and I wouldn't be surprised if dirt came out. I just get tired of hearing knee-jerk whining and accussations of cheating when literally the only evidence anyone has is just that Ole Miss's recruiting class is really good.


February 6th, 2013 at 3:07 PM ^

GoBlueinNYC...I posted this in another thread today but it does address some of your points (which I dont entirely disagree with BTW)


Re the Ole Miss "Where there's smoke there's probably fire" recruiting excitement I can share a true story that somewhat supports that.  In the early 90's I did some recruting for Michigan here in Northern Ohio and you got to know which kids were looking for something more than a scholarship if you know what I mean.  Oddly enough it seemed that ALL those kids ended up at one particular B1G school (not Michigan or OSU) which made all of us wonder just a little bit what was going on.  Nothing was ever said or proven and the school never got busted for anything but man was it a wierd coincidence that seemingly every kid with has hand out was ending up in one place.

Note - the kids never actually came out and asked for anything BTW.  It was always through somebody else that you found out.  Friend, cousin, etc who would ask "what are you going to DO for player X?" and then wait for your response.  When we said "provide excellent coaching, the possibility of playing in front of the largest stadium in the country and on National TV several times a year AND a world-class education" you would get looked at for a bit and then asked "that's it?"  

And then you knew

Hardware Sushi

February 6th, 2013 at 3:28 PM ^


Michigan basketball is also a top-15 historical program with 100-million dollars of basketball-focused renovations that gave us top-10 facilities and our only 'elite' rated commit at the time of his commitment was McGary. And a basketball class can be top-10 based on one recruit's decision.

Ole Miss is one of the worst programs in the SEC. They've pulled more blue chips this year than in the past 6 combined. And they have basically the same facilities they had the past 6 years.

There is a big difference in Michigan basketball recruiting and Ole Miss football recruiting, although I understand the general point you're making of everyone sounding like sour grapes


February 6th, 2013 at 9:35 PM ^

That is all true, and Ole Miss does have enough local talent and national prominence being the SEC to recruit well in certain years.  But just because the NCAA and/or some intrepid reporters have not unearthed violations does not mean they do not exist.  Hell, Miami is basically getting a mulligan on one of the least-surprising "scandals" in recent memory, and the same with a UNC program that similarly "came out of nowhere" with great recruiting classes.

And with Michigan, I accept that people will always wonder about UM's success in basketball in light of what happened with the Fab 5 and Traylor, Bullock, etc.  That was a massive institutional failure, one that still has resonance decades later, and will probably remain a black mark of the program for many more years.  I'm fine with that; it is part of the program's history, even though the difference with the recent success is that UM has a history of being a pretty good basketball team that suffered through a fallow period than a school with a .560 winning percentage with most of its best years 50+ years ago. 

The SEC has been on an unprecedented run of dominance in college football, and if history has taught me anything, nobody maintains such dominance without cutting corners.  Maybe they are just the best at doing it, but these transgressions inevitably come to light, and when they do I wouldn't be surprised if a school like OIe Miss is at the center.


February 6th, 2013 at 3:05 PM ^

Congrats, you are taking the same approach bigots have for generations. Assuming something based on nothing but appearances.

Whatever happened to basing opinions on facts and evidence? What ever happened to suppressing prejudice for good ole fashion logic and reason? Just because something appears to your personal prejudice to be shady that does not mean it is.




February 6th, 2013 at 2:47 PM ^

Stating because there is no current proof anything fishy is going on then there is no reason to infer otherwise is nuts!!!  I guess you are saying we should not infer any NFL players are using steroids until after they are actually caught also. 

My name ... is Tim

February 6th, 2013 at 2:20 PM ^

I think the most suspicious thing to me is him pulling kids from places that Ole Miss has no business pulling from given the local competition. If Nkemdiche, Tunsil and Treadwell were from Mississippi it might make more sense but pulling 5-star blue chip guys from Florida and Illinois in particular given the current state of Ole Miss' program seems suspicious at best.

My name ... is Tim

February 6th, 2013 at 3:19 PM ^

Everyone sells family. But not everyone - and definitely not a team that hasn't won a conference championship in 50 years and is coming off 4-8, 2-10, 7-6 seasons - lands the top DE, WR, and OT from out of the state and/or out of the region.