NCAA cloud could be to blame for slow recruiting start for Rebels


Though three major targets are already on board for Hugh Freeze’s 2017 class, recruiting efforts seems a bit stalled as it sits today, in late April. The NCAA shadow looming over Oxford is an obvious area to point a finger, and that’s probably correct, for a few reasons.

Photo courtesy of @CoachHughFreeze via Twitter
Photo courtesy of @CoachHughFreeze via Twitter /

It wouldn’t be obtuse to believe that opposing coaches, in the fiercely competitive Southeastern Conference and beyond, are filling the ears of top-flight recruits about how bad things could get in Oxford due to NCAA sanctions.

And with only those on the side of the Rebels pumping the breaks on that notion, it’s likely something some blue chippers are in wait-and-see mode about, at the very least. However, in today’s recruiting landscape things like patience are foreign and viewed as negative. Even though we sit at just over NINE MONTHS before National Signing day 2017.

It is also conceivable that the Rebel coaches are being more selective and patient in the process.

Mostly due to the fact that this was never going to be big class and it is now being said that some scholarships have been forfeited, due to self-imposed penalties.

Additionally, Freeze and company held no junior days or big recruiting weekends in March and early in the year, as they usually would, also a self-imposed penalty.

So with the spring evaluation period currently going full blast, the recruiting calendar has simply been pushed back for the coaches in this cycle.

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The summer camp evaluation opportunities, which are crucial each year, could be even more pivotal this summer, specifically as it pertains to the 2017 class.

There seem to be a handful of prospects who are going to receive close inspections at camp this summer. That reigns true for a few Magnolia state prospects, as well. Homegrown prospects are crucial to the success of Ole Miss recruiting efforts, and there seems to be plenty of viable options in the 2017 class.

However, in a year where they are being more exclusive with who they take, it is important to see which guys in Mississippi grade out higher, and if they grade out better than some of their out-of-state targets.

Then, there are the top-flight guys in-state, that will likely wait out their decisions because quite frankly, they have plenty of options. Cam Akers, Willie Gay and CJ Avery fall into that category.

There will also be a waiting game to play with some significant out-of-state targets, though, as well. Walker Little, Trey Smith, DJ Johnson, Tee Higgins, Marvin Wilson and Jacob Phillips are just a few of the targets they are at or near the top for who are sure to wait out and enjoy the process.

And while the staff has recruited each of the prospects well thus far, there’s a legitimate worry that some of the recruits further from the campus could be more easily swayed by negative recruiting about the case with the NCAA.

Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports /

DD Bowie, Markel Winters and Ben Brown are all prospects the Rebels are extremely pleased to have in the boat. And recruiting is going better than it would seem, but getting beyond this NCAA stuff is certainly paramount.

Putting it to bed, getting the facts out and moving on would presumably close the door on any concerns, as well as give the program shot in the arm for this recruiting cycle.

And while a few different factors go into the slow start, there’s no doubt the NCAA cloud is mainly to blame.

NOTE: Thanks to the hard work of the 247Sports crew, all prospects are linked to their prospective 247Sports profile. Be sure and visit the Ole Miss 247Sports site and follow them on Twitter: @Rebels247.