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A Hotty Toddy heard around the land

The 2013 National Signing Day has become one of the biggest days in the history of Ole Miss football.

Denzel Nkemdiche and Robert Nkemdiche just after Robert signed his LOI to Ole Miss on Wednesday.

With the signings of five 5-star recruits, five 4-star recruits and 15 more rated as 3-stars, second-year Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and his staff have landed the No. 2 signing class in the nation, as ranked by 247 Sports.com.

The news has sent shock waves throughout the college football landscape. ESPN was set up inside the Ole Miss indoor practice facility, trying to figure how and why.
Freeze gave some simple answers when he faced the media for his National Signing Day press conference.

"It gives us a great sense of pride to bring joy to the Rebel people," Freeze said. "We're just thrilled with what has happened today and we want to give credit to the energy and passion of the Ole Miss people."

A big hand, however, should go to Freeze's assistants Maurice Harris, Chris Kiffin, Matt Luke and Derrick Nix.

"We have some of the rising stars in the recruiting field," Freeze said. "We started with a one-year plan. Our staff executed our year-long plan pretty flawlessly. Of the offers we had out there today, we got all but one of them. Our players helped out and sold our program. We were able to convince (the signees) a want to be different and our goal was to upstart the apple cart."

The signing of the nation's No. 1 prospect by 247 Sports, defensive end Robert Nkemdiche from Loganville, Ga. at 6:35 this morning, got the Rebels off to a great start.

"The crown jewel of our class, the No. 1 player in the nation by every single service," Freeze said. "His skill-set is unbelievable. He will be an impact player at Ole Miss."

Freeze admitted that the Rebels had some help. Nkemdiche's brother, Denzel, starts for the Rebels at linebacker.

Laremy Tunsil

"No doubt, we had some great tie-ins with some of the top national guys," Freeze said. "True we had some luck, but we executed our plan. And the criticism I got, especially over the last 48 hours, I took head on. Our staff conducted themselves with great integrity."

Freeze said Denzel Nkemdiche's presence on the Ole Miss football team was the deciding factor why brother Robert turned back a late push by LSU to sign with Ole Miss.

"Robert and Denzel's mother wanted her two sons together at Ole Miss," Freeze said. "The question for us was whether we could create enough excitement in Denzel's first year. We needed to win some games. We were competitive in others. We won the Egg Bowl and then we won the Compass Bowl. That gave us some validation."

Just around 9 a.m., the 2013 Ole Miss class got even better. The nation's best offensive lineman and the No. 3 overall rated recruit by 247 Sports, Laremy Tunsil from Lake City, Fla., signed with Ole Miss over Florida State and Alabama. An All-American by four publishing services, Tunsil was the first of four high-quality offensive line recruits for the Rebels.

"It starts with Matt Luke going out and getting the best lineman in the country," Freeze said. "We graduate six after this season, so the offensive line was an area we had to address. We got four quality ones. I think (Austin) Golson was a big get for us. He is the No. 3 tackle nationally out of Prattville, Ala. Every one of his family to his grandfather said he fit with us. Still, he was the most anxious (signing) one we had today."

Tunsil and Golson are joined by 3-star signees Daronte Bouldin of Canton and Davion Johnson of Byhalia.

Ole Miss closed out its running back class with Rosedale speedster Kailo Moore, Cordova, Tenn.'s Jordan Wilkins and New Orleans' Eugene Brazley. Mark Dodson, the top running back in Tennessee was an early enrollee.

"All four are highly rated but Kailo was a huge in-state get," Freeze said. "Jordan at 215 pounds, gives us one of the bigger backs that we've had."

Five-star wide receiver Laquon Treadwell from Crete, Ill., did more than just boost the Rebels to the nation's No. 2 class. He actively helped the Ole Miss staff by talking up the school to other national recruits.

"The recruiting Laquon Treadwell did helped us put this class together," Freeze said. "I can't recall so many active committs become so active for us."

Treadwell was joined by Quincy Adeboyej, Eupora's Derrick Jones and Grenada athlete Trey Bledsoe. Two junior college signees, former Ole Miss player Nick Brassell and Hinds Community College Quadarias Mireles will likely move to the defensive backfield, Freeze said.

Depth at quarterback was addressed with the signings of Devante Kincade of Dallas and Jackson Prep's Ryan Buchanan.

"We were able to get these guys committed early and they did a great job of selling our program. They are different in styles. Ryan is a drop-back guy and Devante is a dual threat."

Capping the day was the get of South Panola safety Tony Connor. The Rebels wrestled the Tiger star away from the clutches of defending national champion Alabama.

"When Tony did the Land Shark thing, I let one out," Freeze said. "He is so rangy, so fast. He's exactly what we need at our "Husky" position."

The Rebels also added corners David Kamara and Bobby Hill, linebackers Marcus Robinson and Ray Ray Smith, tight ends A.J. Jackson, Evan Engram, Christian Morgan, and kicker Andy Pappanastos of Mobile, Ala.

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