If you were to sum up your thoughts and feelings about this most recent Rebel signing class into just a couple hundred words, how would you? What about this class stands out? What about this class disappoints you? What does this class mean for the 2012 football season and beyond? What does this class tell us about our new coaching staff?
Those questions, and others, were ones we at the Cup have attempted to tersely answer. Read our thoughts and opinions, then offer yours, if you'd like.
People who say that our class is alright are delusional. This is a pitiful SEC class. We got very few players who project to be major contributors. It would have been nice to get a high school quarterback. It would have been nice to get a second defensive tackle. Sure, we met most of our actual immediate needs, but that doesn't make a signing class good. A good signing class leaves you wondering how you'll find snaps for all the good players. This class cannot be described that way.
Now onto the things that make the class better than terrible: We didn't sign very many players who don't project to ever play. Most of them will eventually see time, which means we avoided the typical "transition" class. I'm happy not to have taken players simply to get to 25 signees. The last thing we need is worthless players taking up a scholarship for five years. We don't appear to have gotten many of those people. Also, the top of our class is pretty solid. It's just that the depth of the class is mediocre at best. Overall, I'm disappointed.
While most people will probably write this off as a failure on behalf of Nutt, I think some of the blame has to be placed on Freeze's shoulders. He closed horribly, missing out on several players who had no business going elsewhere. We lost three players we offered to KENTUCKY. Pitiful.
I am disappointed in this class, but only because we were in late with so many high-profile recruits who wound up signing elsewhere. Over the past few years, we've become accustomed to signing guys who were perhaps on the fence between Ole Miss and other rival SEC schools, so that arguably spoiled us a little bit regarding our hopes for 2012's signing day. Missing out on Sheldon Dawson, Richie Brown, and Cordarrelle Patterson stung, but the fact that we were still in it late with guys of that talent level, despite having a 2-month-old coaching staff and a 10-loss season on our side, says a lot about this program and coaching staff.
When attempting to figure out what we've gotten out of this class, I look for immediate impact guys versus those who are going to redshirt and provide valuable depth for a few seasons. The immediate impact types of Channing Ward, Bo Wallace, Trae Elston, Dehendret Collins, Pierce Burton, I'Tavius Mathers, and Issac Gross. Not all of them will see significant roles, while others are already penciled in as starters. So I suppose that one could best describe this class as top heavy (and, yes, "heavy" is a pretty relative term here), and a decent one to contribute to whatever, if any, success we are to have in 2012.
I guess my first impressions this morning are that I'm disappointed, but not with Coach Freeze necessarily. After our worst season in school history, the fact that our class isn't blatantly the worst in the SEC is something that makes me feel a little easier. We have a young D-Line, but Ward should come in and be able to contribute immediately in my opinion. Gross will add needed depth at D-Tackle, thought I would be surprised if he redshirts to put on about 20-30 lbs.
Holding onto I'Tavius Mathers was huge. He has a good build, good speed, good vision and seems like a real every-down back. Though I don't know what the deal is with Nick Parker, I'm glad we added a back like Loyal. (insert easy Enrique/vision joke here). I'm also glad we picked up a solid DB in Eltson.
Like I said, I'm not happy with it because we missed out on some guys we might have had. However, considering the conditions surrounding the program, I think Freeze did a fine job at not letting this be the disaster that it very well could have been.