Just over a month after Ole Miss hired him as defensive line coach, Tray Scott is jumping ship to take the same position at Georgia. What sounds like a very perturbed Hugh Freeze released this statement on Wednesday morning:
“Tray Scott is leaving our staff for another opportunity. We want coaches that are 100 percent committed to winning championships at Ole Miss. Our student-athletes, our staff and Rebel Nation deserve that, and that is what we will bring to this great program.”
Freeze’s indignation is understandable. With the coaching carousel already settled down, finding a suitable replacement this late in the game will be a tall order.
Scott was hired in late December after long-time Rebel D-line coach Chris Kiffin left to become his brother’s defensive coordinator at FAU. Scott, who’d previously served as a graduate assistant in Oxford, had built a reputation as an up-and-coming star while coaching D-linemen at North Carolina. It didn’t take long after joining the Ole Miss staff for him to prove he had an eye for talent, offering a scholarship to and receiving a commitment from lightly-recruited three-star JUCO tackle Larrell Murchison, who shortly thereafter received offers from Texas and Georgia. Murchison ended up defecting to NC State at the last minute, but it seemed to be a promising example of Scott’s scouting acumen.
But UGA came calling after its own D-line coach, Tracy Rocker, abruptly left (or was dismissed from) the program on Tuesday. Rocker was scheduled to make $525,000 this year, while Scott was scheduled for $375,000 at Ole Miss. Georgia hasn’t released Scott’s new contract numbers yet, but the Bulldogs probably threw a good bit of cash his way to pry him out of Oxford. You have to wonder if the looming NCAA penalties played a role as well.
Scott is the second Ole Miss assistant this offseason to bolt shortly after being hired. Matt Lubick left two weeks after accepting the wide receivers coach gig, though he at least had the excuse of taking a promotion as the offensive coordinator at Baylor. He was replaced by former Cal assistant Jacob Peeler.