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Thursday, January 17, 2013
Treadwell could be first domino to fall

By Dave Hooker

Historic is the best way to describe it.

Perhaps a top 25-class (at least for now) doesn't seem like much. But wait -- there could be more to come.

Imagine for a moment a middle-of-the-pack SEC West team nabbing the top receiver in the nation, as Ole Miss did with Laquon Treadwell of Crete (Ill.) Monee on Thursday. Imagine that same program potentially securing a commitment from the top prospect in the nation.

It just doesn’t seem possible, but somewhat quietly, Ole Miss is putting together one of the most impressive classes in the country.

Just eight years ago, Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze was a high school coach. Now, he's besting some of the nation’s top programs in recruiting.

Treadwell is just thought to be the beginning for the final push. No. 1 ESPN 150 prospect Robert Nkemdiche is believed to be a heavy Ole Miss lean. Sure, he's looking at other schools, but it would be a surprise if he didn't pick the Rebels.

With Treadwell, Ole Miss has five ESPN 300 prospects committed and 11 four-star prospects. Not bad for a coach entering just his second season coaching in the country’s top conference.

Landing Nkemdiche will give the Rebels publicity that money can't buy. Remember Michael Oher?

Treadwell, however, is the latest coup. He immediately became Ole Miss' highest rated prospect when he committed. The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder is the top-rated receiver and No. 19 prospect in the ESPN 150. Think schools in the Midwest are sorry to see him go south?

Perhaps the ultimate compliment to Freeze's staff is that Treadwell shouldn't have been considered a priority. In fact, Treadwell is a luxury. The Rebels return their top three receivers. Two are sophomores.

Michigan had a chance to land Treadwell and was thought to be the leader for months. Then, Ole Miss got involved. While Michigan continued to chase Treadwell, Ole Miss secured its hold on the four-star prospect. Ann Arbor sighed understandably when Treadwell announced via Twitter that Ole Miss was his leader last month.

Rebel fans felt and enjoyed the momentum from the short message.

More could be on the way.