Signing Day always has its fair share of drama, something which we as Ole Miss Rebels fans are far too familiar with. Today was hardly an exception, as several big time recruits surprised many with last-second commitments, sparking either excitement or soul-smashing agony amongst numerous fan bases. And while not the most high-profile piece of signing day drama, the interesting scenario surrounding Louisiana cornerback Floyd Raven, a four-star prospect per Rivals, is certainly the most bizarre.
Up until this morning, all signs pointed to Raven honoring his commitment to Ole Miss and everyone involved, from the Rebel coaching staff to, apparently, Floyd's very own mother expected this to be the case. But that didn't happen, and what did transpire is perhaps the most unpredictable and unprecedented bit of signing day drama of 2011. Here is the timeline of events leading up to and including today as we know it:
- Floyd Raven committed to the LSU Tigers last summer before being told that he had no LSU offer (that probably hurts).
- He committed to the Ole Miss Rebels on December 12th, 2010. The Rebs were, obviously, his backup plan.
- On January 15th, he decommitted from the Rebels. Twelve days later, and shortly after an official visit to Texas A&M, he committed to the Rebels again after having committed to the Aggies for roughly thirty minutes.
- Today, the Ole Miss coaches received a letter of intent (LOI) with signatures from both Raven and his mother, just as they and everyone else expected. Per sources, the fax was apparently not very legible, so they asked the Raven family to send it again. They never did.
- The Ravens sent a signed letter of intent to Texas A&M instead.
- Floyd Raven informed the Ole Miss coaches that his mother had forged - literally forged - his signature on the LOI they had received and that he was, in fact, going to be an Aggie. This is, by far, the greatest and most confounding part of this whole story. So he signs an LOI to play for Ole Miss, only to contact the coaches and say that the LOI was a fake, and that he didn't really mean it.
- Ole Miss announced that they were "voiding" the supposedly fake LOI - I guess to make it official - and no longer pursuing Raven.
- As of this being published, though, A&M still hasn't released that his letter of intent was received. He is listed by recruiting services as having committed to Texas A&M, but not as having signed his LOI. There is, apparently, some question about whether the A&M staff will accept Raven's LOI at this time.
The wacky, wacky story of Floyd Raven just cannot seem to come to an end.Coach Nutt made a remark during his Signing Day press conference that he only wanted players who "want to be (at Ole Miss)" and then went on to wish Raven "good luck," as if to say "look, Floyd, we're kinda tired of being given the run around so we don't really want to take you anymore." It seems that Texas A&M feels the same way, likely feeling a bit put off that Floyd had, at one point, committed to and decommitted from the Aggies on the same day.
As Rebel fans, we are a bit bitter with this whole scenario as well because we feel it has negatively impacted what absolutely needed to be a good class of defensive backs. Think about it, Ole Miss once had Gerrod Holliman and Andrew Johnson, both four star prospects at DB, committed to the Rebels. They were then courted by Charlie Strong at Louisville, who then got the pair to decommit from Ole Miss and commit to Louisville (Charlie Strong does some damn fine work on the recruiting trail, apparently). Ole Miss then pursues defensive backs Jermaine Whitehead and Floyd Raven more aggressively, earning good favor with the two of them. It seemed that everything was going to work out for this class with the coaches earning the commitments of two future starting cornerbacks. Whitehead, though, is courted by and commits to Auburn at the last-minute - a recurring theme of the day - while Floyd engages in some completely unexpected Machiavellian chicanery to
earn good favor with LSU secure a spot at Texas A&M guarantee a long, successful career at Louisiana-Lafayette. It all seemed to blow up right in Ole Miss' face at the last minute.
This, of course, does not sit well with the Rebel coaches who, per sources close to the Cup, had told the previously committed Andrew Johnson that a spot was not available for him at Ole Miss anymore during his official visit two weekends ago. He had inquired as to whether or not he could take a spot at Ole Miss if he began to waver on his Louisville decision, something which wasn't going to be possible with Whitehead and Raven at Ole Miss.
So, now, we're left without all three of the once committed four star cornerbacks, leaving the team in a pretty tight spot at that position.
We don't know where Floyd ends up, but this once promising cornerback seems to have, with the help from his parents, burned a few bridges with the two BCS programs which were most aggressively recruiting him. Good luck Floyd. At this point, you may need it.