Just call today "Laquon Treadwell Day," because that's what it really is for many...
College football fans from Laquon's potential suitors (Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, according to the Chicago Tribune) have had Thursday January 17 circled on their calendars ever since the talented, speedy wideout declared that he would make his final decision this afternoon at 5 p.m. CT in front of friends, family and coaches at his high school in Crete, Illinois.
Over the past few months, the No. 1-rated Crete-Monee High School senior wide receiver (per the 247Sports Composite Ranking), hauling in 81 catches for 1,077 yards (13.3 yards per catch) and 16 touchdowns on his way to a state championship, narrowed his final choices down to Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Michigan. The latter school is no longer on the list.
So why is it thought Treadwell may very well crease an Ole Miss cap with a big smile at 5 p.m., making the Rebels the winner of the Laquon Treadwell Sweepstakes?
That's the burning question of the day, so let's take a look at a few reasons why it may happen:
No. 1: In his first year at the helm in Oxford, former Arkansas State Red Wolves Head Coach Hugh Freeze brought with him to Oxford a fast-paced, up-tempo, no-huddle style of offense that would be a dream style offensive attack for one of the nation's premiere young wide-receivers.
In 2012, the upstart Rebel offense (mind you a very young group still trying to learn a very complex offensive scheme under Freeze and offensive coordinator Dan Werner) finished the season ranked No. 46 in the nation in passing under sophomore quarterback Bo Wallace.
Wallace finished the year with 3,249 yards through the air, including 24 passing touchdowns and a more-than0pedestrian 249.9 yards per game average despite competing week in and week out against ferocious SEC defenses.
With upcoming spring practice time, coupled with an even longer summer practice schedule, there is ample cause to believe that Freeze and company will be an even more efficient group in 2013 with more time to learn and implement the complex offensive scheme.
No. 2: #FeedMoncrief + #FeedTreadwell = Potentially Lethal Young Receiving Corps
As production between sophomore QB Bo Wallace and WR Donte Moncrief progressed throughout the season, #FeedMoncrief became a Twitter hashtag sensation by way of the Ole Miss faithful. Moncrief nabbed 66 receptions, 979 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2012, leading way to the belief that Moncrief should be "fed" early and often from his gunslinger QB.
It was highlighted by video of Moncrief acting as if he were literally eating a bowl of soup, being played on the jumbotron in Oxford's Vaught-Hemingway Stadium as the Rebels shredded their in-state rival Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl (winning 41-17).
Over the past few months, #FeedTreadwell has taken off as well. Laquon saw how well-fed and productive Moncrief was in 2012. Trust me, he wants what Wallace is feeding his receivers in Oxford!
3) Ole Miss Defensive Back Anthony Sandifer
Treadwell already has a friend at Ole Miss, former Crete-Monee high school teammate and current Rebel Anthony Sandifer. Treadwell has made official visits himself to the cozy, picturesque campus in Oxford, Mississippi, but he's likely been able to learn more than most recruits about how things really are as an Ole Miss Rebel as a result of his friendship with Sandifer.
As I wrote about earlier this week, Hugh Freeze has already put together a highly-regarded recruiting class for 2013 without official commitments from many highly sought after recruits that still may ink with Ole Miss come National Signing Day. Treadwell committing could signal a recruiting coup.
In his first year as head coach in Oxford, Hugh Freeze had one of the most remarkable turnarounds in the entire country. Entering the season, Ole Miss was coming off a 2-10 season in 2011 and 4-8 season in 2010. That's not to even mention the 14-game SEC skid on the Rebels' shoulders coming into 2012.
So, what did Freeze do in his first year at Ole Miss? He united a very divided fanbase in Oxford and led the young Rebel team to a remarkable 6-6 regular season record (3-5 in the SEC) capped off with a convincing victory against rival Mississippi State for the first time in three years.
Oh yeah, the Rebels also got invited to the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Alabama (their first bowl game since two consecutive Cotton Bowls in 2009 and 2010). Behind the support of between 35,000 and 40,000 Ole Miss fans making the trip to Birmingham, Freeze led his team to a 38-17 win over Pitt.
For these reasons and more, I believe that Christmas does come early for Ole Miss this afternoon by way of an Under-Armour All-American wide receiver with loads of potential, that's Laquon Treadwell.
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