Alex Weber, a freshman listed at 6'0" and just under 180 pounds, is a scholarship-holding wide receiver on the Ole Miss Rebel football team. Most of the Ole Miss fan base has never heard of Alex - he was never mentioned during National Signing Day coverage of the past couple of years, nor has he played a down of football in a Rebel uniform - yet he's an important member of this program moving forward.
That's because he's left tackle Laremy Tunsil's brother, and his securing a scholarship is reportedly a part of a "package deal" so to speak offered to Tunsil and Weber by coach Hugh Freeze two years ago. This wasn't the same type of package deal we saw with the Nkemdiches, where one (Denzel) was an underrated high school star; Weber would likely not received a division one offer were he not the brother of a top football prospect. He simply didn't have the high school production you'd expect out of a receiver with an SEC future, catching just 33 passes for 456 yards and three touchdowns over the past two seasons at Columbia High School in Lake City, Florida.
So our coaches gave a scholarship to a guy who doesn't readily pass the eye test as an SEC talent. This is a move, however, that isn't particularly unprecedented (again, look at Denzel Nkemdiche's recruitment), nor is it against any sort of NCAA rules. Some could argue that it's unethical to give a scholarship to someone in lieu of someone else who is perhaps more deserving based on his high school production or athletic abilities, and I could perhaps see that argument if this were a case where Laremy Tunsil wasn't a potential all-SEC offensive tackle. But he is, so I can't.
Also, I hate mixing my ethics with my football.
What I like mixing with my football, however, is my economics, and this was a very economical decision. The way I see it, Coach Freeze "spent" two scholarships on one player, and with Tunsil being as good as he is, he got a hell of a deal out of it. The price of two scholarships for Laremy Tunsil was an easy one to pay when you consider what this offensive line would look like without him anchoring it.
So bring on the Alex Webers of the world. Remember, there are 85 scholarshipped players but only 22 starters. There are plenty of guys who will earn scholarships and rarely, if ever, see the field in a meaningful way. If we have to offer 22 different zero-to-two star athletes to secure the signatures of 22 five-star guys, then that's way worth it.
- Oxford High wideout and Ole Miss commitment DK Metcalf is a top-20 player for 2016 according to Rivals. I, for one, am thrilled that we'll get to see "Metcalf" on the back of a Rebel uniform again.
- Team Speed Kills ruminates on the Rebels and concludes what we've all said here before - this team needs to just win September, set things up for the rest of the SEC schedule, and see what happens.
- Here's an article on beer in Mississippi. Hooray, beer!