The annual freak out from fans over Ole Miss football recruiting is in full force and with National Signing Day just days away it can be too exciting.
It seems we are going through an almost annual freak out over Ole Miss football recruiting. The scenario goes that everyone gets excited about the interest from various highly rated recruits. The coaching staff has some success getting some of these recruits in for visits. Along with the visits there is further hype about getting these recruits. And then the recruits start dropping off.
Actually, I think following recruiting is sort of like watching baseball. My wife likes to tell me how boring watching baseball is. And it is easy to understand this feeling from someone who doesn’t love the sport. Think about watching baseball. Nothing much goes on while we wait for the coach, pitcher and catcher to figure out the pitch and make sure the fielders are in place. And then on the other side are the instructions to the batter and any runners that might be on base. The on-deck hitter is warming up and paying attention so he will know the situation when he gets to the plate.
Of course, there is actually a lot happening. However, to us as fans, the wait for the next pitch can sometimes seem like an eternity. And then it is very possible that the pitch will result in the situation not changing much and then go through it all again. I like to brag about being able to multi-task while watching baseball.
Recruiting Has Been Very Active
Ole Miss Rebels Football
There is a lot going on in recruiting but we don’t get to see most of it. A picture here and there. Some quotes from players about how great the visit is going. (How often are the quotes about a lousy visit? Then we would have something to complain about!) A list of the top schools for the recruit and of course the forecasts about where the recruit will end up.
And then something happens and more often than not the recruit takes Ole Miss football off his list or commits somewhere else. If you take the baseball analogy and make the successful commitment from a recruit analogous to the batters then it is likely the news will not be good more often than it is good. A hitter that gets a hit 3 times out of 10 is doing very well.
Odds Are Against Us
Actually, the reality is the odds are always stacked against you in recruiting as well. It is really a numbers game. This is even true of all programs. These highly rated recruits have all kinds of choices. And if you can get to the point of being a finalist the excitement level gets frenetic.
However, it is still a numbers game. The players get it down to 3, 4, or 5 schools. In some cases even more schools are on the list until close to the end. So, there are always more losses than wins. Just like in baseball. Expecting to hit beyond .300 or even .250 routinely is just being unrealistic in recruiting.
This year for Ole Miss we can add that the odds may have been greater. One thing we can count on is everyone we are competing against is throwing the year of loss of bowl eligibility at any recruit we are in a battle for. The coaching staff actually did a great job in the early signing period against these odds. It might have worked a little to our advantage that there was a short time between the announcement of sanctions and early signing day. You can bet with more time the competing coaches are drilling this into any potential recruit’s heads.
And all the freaking out is actually over athletically gifted young men who haven’t played a down of college football or completed a college class. There are so many other things involved in the success of these players. The coaches are aware of this and it gets factored in by the coaches. Or, the numbers just may not work. If Ole Miss could sign 20 4-star wide receivers should they do that? Of course, not.
There is just a week until signing day. It’s time to step back and leave it to the coaches and players. No reason for high blood pressure and stress over something you have no control over. There will be some wins. Unfortunately, the nature of the process means there will be more losses. That is just the way it is. Much like celebrating the clutch base hit in baseball, let’s celebrate the wins we get!!
Recruiting Losses Are Inevitable
It appears some of the more highly touted recruits on our list are not going to end up as Rebels. That was inevitable. This isn’t going to be a top 10 Ole Miss football recruiting class. However, it will be a very good class considering how far behind we were and that our competition had some other arguments as the result of the NCAA ruling. Still, we are filling our needs for the short-term and the long-term.
To add to the impressive list from the early signing period, we can add for now at least, DT Noah Jefferson, LB Kevontae Ruggs, and OL Hamilton Hall. Of course, there will be more by signing day. And with Mississippi and even Memphis being fertile ground for the 2019 class we should be in a great position for the next Ole Miss football recruiting class of top high school players.