Ole Miss is thought to be the favorite for 5-star wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, but his recent visit to Oklahoma may have really put a dent in any lead the Rebels have.
The Rebels have been one of the hotter teams of this recruiting cycle and much of that has revolved around the interest of No. 1 overall recruit Robert Nkemdiche—whose brother plays at Ole Miss—but landing Treadwell would be just as big of a recruiting win for Hugh Freeze and his staff.
Ole Miss recruiting has definitely been trending in a positive way as of late, but sustaining that momentum is what really matters, and that's going to be easier said than done with these elite recruits.
Nkemdiche recently said that Ole Miss shouldn't be considered the team to beat just yet. In regards to Treadwell, his visit to Oklahoma really helped out the Sooners, according to Josh Helmholdt of Rivals.com:
Going into this weekend's official visit Treadwell had Ole Miss out front as his leader followed by Oklahoma at No. 2. The official to Norman increased his perception of the Sooners, though.
"This trip made me more interested [in Oklahoma]," Treadwell said. "Visiting my two top schools and trying to compare both of them, they both want to throw the ball and that's what they want to do.
Don't underestimate how important this visit to Oklahoma could end up being for Treadwell (Note: Helmholdt also reports that Treadwell will visit Oklahoma State as well).
The Sooners are one of the premier football programs in the country and that's not something that can be argued. Oklahoma is known for great football and for producing great football players, and it is constantly in the running for the Big 12 crown and oftentimes even more.
Bob Stoops is one of the most well known coaches in the country and he has a history of being successful. Not only that, but Oklahoma can provide Treadwell with quite an opportunity as a true freshman, according to his own quotes via Helmoldt's report:
"I talked to Coach (Jay) Norvell, Coach (Josh) Heupel and Coach (Bob) Stoops," Treadwell said. "They basically explained to me they have some good receivers on the depth chart with the guys coming from last year, but with Kenny probably leaving early and Justin Brown being a senior this year I could come in and compete for a spot as a true freshman. That really caught my interest.
Ole Miss may be growing in profile and in talent under Freeze, but it's still foolish to consider them to be amongst the elite programs in college football. Yesterday, I argued that they aren't anywhere near the level of Alabama and LSU in regards to national relevance or basic recruiting draw, and that same argument applies here when compared to Oklahoma.
The last time Oklahoma won a National Championship was 2000, and it has seven National Championships in total. They shared the Big 12 title with Kansas State this season and finished with a 10-2 record. Oklahoma is one of the more recognizable programs in college football.
Conversely, the last time Ole Miss won the SEC was in 1963 and their last National Championship came in 1962. This season, the Rebels finished an average 6-6, including a 3-5 record in the SEC. They were outscored a total of 234-143 in their six losses. You can say some of them were close and that in actuality Ole Miss was a play or two away from winning, but football is not a game of "shoulda, coulda, woulda," and in the end, programs are defined by their records.
For an elite wide receiver, would playing for one of the best programs in the Big 12 and country be better than playing for a middle-of-the-road SEC program?
One could argue that recruiting is all about the future and that if Ole Miss can land Treadwell and Nkemdiche its future will be very bright, but just how much real success can the Rebels expect to have in the same division as Texas A&M, LSU and Alabama (all powerhouses in the SEC)?
Those are just two of the questions that Treadwell is going ultimately to have to answer.
Either way you look at it, this has to be concerning for the Rebels, and there's no doubting that his recent visit to Oklahoma will hinder Ole Miss' chances at landing the 5-star wide receiver.