Late on Wednesday afternoon, the Ole Miss Spirit reported that Bradley Dale Peveto would be hired as the Rebels’ new linebacker coach and defensive run game coordinator. Considering his reputation as a solid recruiter but so-so coach, this addition may confirm the idea that Hugh Freeze is going with a “talent outweighs scheming” approach with rebuilding the defensive staff. Paired with new defensive coordinator and ace recruiter Wesley McGriff, Peveto gives Freeze’s staff a boost on the ‘crootin trail.
While it may be easy to dismiss Peveto’s recent recruiting success as a byproduct of working at LSU, he was their most important piece in terms of acquiring talent in the 2016 cycle and has become well known for developing relationships over the years. 247Sports, which tracks this type of thing, lists Peveto as the primary recruiter for four blue chippers in 2016 alone. For a full list of the recruits attributed to Peveto during his career, click here.
Using 247’s data, we compared the recruiting productivity of Peveto and McGriff with that of Ole Miss’ other assistants, specifically O-line coach Matt Luke, tight ends coach Maurice Harris, secondary coach Jason Jones, D-line coach Chris Kiffin and receivers coach Grant Heard (Kiffin and Heard left the Rebels staff this offseason).
(A few of the more seasoned coaches have commits from when they were at lesser recruiting powers, so I limited it to the top 20 recruits for each coach when looking at 247’s composite rating.)
While he’s not personally responsible for the signature of nearly as many players as McGriff is, Peveto shines when it comes to the quality of commits he’s secured, as nearly half of his all-time recruits have been rated four stars or better. Following the 2016 cycle, Rivals acknowledged him as one of the top recruiters in the nation, after he not only helped in retaining in-state talent for LSU like Rashard Lawrence, but also grabbed two blue chip pledges from Texas.
In addition to serving as LSU’s top recruiter in 2016, Peveto contributed to Kentucky’s surge in the 2014 cycle. It was a confusing time for all of us when the Wildcats briefly boasted the top ranked recruiting class that previous summer, and Peveto had something to do with that after receiving verbals from the coveted Boom Williams and Jared Tucker. This is all to say that he’s managed to make an impact in the recruiting landscape wherever he’s been.
It’s also encouraging that both coaches have a good bit of experience going into the most talent-rich areas of the country. Here’s where Peveto’s and McGriff’s commits have come from geographically, focusing on the South.
*Some players/dots may be stacked on top of each other due to having the same location.
About 75 percent of their combined commits came from either Texas, Florida, or Georgia. While Peveto relied mainly on securing Louisiana pledges during his time at LSU, he got plenty used to poaching players from Texas and the Atlanta metro area. McGriff is very familiar with East Texas from coaching at Baylor a decade ago, as well as infiltrating South Florida while he was at Miami.
Given the NCAA-related recruiting difficulties Ole Miss is experiencing, it’s critical to have a staff well versed in
doling out large bags of cash getting players on campus in creative ways. With the newest hire, the Rebels could be well on their way to catching up in 2017.