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Ole Miss Signee Says Hugh Freeze Had 'Conversation' with Mark Richt over Top OL

February 6, 2013; Lake City, FL, USA;  Laremy Tunsil and his family after announcing that he will be attending the University of Mississippi on National Signing Day at Columbia High School. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports
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Brian LeighFeatured Columnist IVDecember 30, 2016

Speaking with Michael Carvell of the Atlanta Journal-Constitutionincoming Ole Miss freshman Kendarius Webster, a 3-star cornerback on the 247Sports Composite, let on about a "conversation" Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze had with Georgia head coach Mark Richt toward the end of the cycle.

According to Webster, who played at Stockbridge High School in Georgia and had an offer from the Bulldogs, the conversation had less to do with him and more to do with offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, a 5-star prospect in 2013 who shocked many by choosing the Rebels.

In Webster's own words:

At one point in time, though, Coach Freeze had a conversation with Coach Richt at the end of the recruiting process. I’m not going to say Coach Freeze got mad, but they had a conversation. I’m not sure exactly what they talked about it, but I heard it had to do more with Laremy Tunsil. He had switched from Georgia to Ole Miss (the year before).

Coming out of Columbia High School in Lake City, Florida, Tunsil was the top offensive tackle and No. 4 overall player on the 247Sports Composite. He was long considered a Georgia lean before Freeze and the Rebels swooped in to land him at the end of the cycle.

That same year, Ole Miss landed the top overall prospect in the class, defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, and the top-rated wide receiver in the class, Laquon Treadwell. Perhaps in part because of this success, Webster said teams tried to recruit him negatively against the school.

"A lot of coaches were saying ‘Ole Miss is this, and Ole Miss is that," he told Carvell. "...That they're racist and why would you ever want to go there. It was just crazy things like that."

Players such as Tunsil, Nkemdiche and Treadwell are thought to be out of Ole Miss' league—more in line with a school like Georgia. There is no proof that Ole Miss did anything wrong to land such blue-chip prospects, although unsourced Internet speculation has run rampant since the end of last recruiting cycle.

Tunsil's incredible first year with the Rebels did not help matters on this front. He allowed just one sack as the starting left tackle, leading Ben Garrett of Ole Miss Spirit to tell Bleacher Report that Tunsil is the "most physically gifted" player in program history:

We may never know what Richt and Freeze's "conversation" was about, how it pertained to Tunsil or the extent of Richt's displeasure. Beyond what Webster told us, there is no use in speculating.

Recruiting is for the most part an arcane science, something we can only try to understand from a distance or on online message boards. Things like this are best left to the persons involved.

But that won't stop a potential Richt-Freeze feud from becoming a big story at SEC Media Days, which begin July 14 in Hoover, Alabama.

 

Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT

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