Big 12: LaQuon Treadwell

New-school recruiting for Ole Miss, Texas

September, 12, 2013
9/12/13
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AUSTIN, Texas -- Their paths don’t cross much on the recruiting trail, and what they’re selling isn’t all that similar.

Texas offers tradition and the 16-year track record Mack Brown has built, the national titles he’s won and played for, the titles he expects to play for again soon. Ole Miss has traditions, too, but it’s now a younger program led by second-year coach Hugh Freeze that’s trying to rise up in the SEC.

Old School vs. New School? Not quite, but not far off in the eyes of some recruits.

The matchup this Saturday of No. 25 Ole Miss and Texas is no doubt an intriguing one when viewed through the lens of recruiting. Both schools are among the nation’s best on that front.

Texas has had top 10-ranked recruiting classes in seven of the past eight years. Being a power in those rankings is nothing new for the Longhorns. But in Freeze’s first year, Ole Miss stunned the recruiting world by signing the No. 5 class in the country, highlighted by No. 1 overall recruit Robert Nkemdiche, five-star receiver Laquon Treadwell and several other four-stars who will take the field Saturday night.

“He’s done a great job,” Texas coach Mack Brown said of Freeze. “I can’t remember what they did after our game, but they finished very strong, had the best recruiting year in the country and now they’ve got a great start. It’s great timing for us to bring a really good SEC team in here and challenge us before we get started in conference play. I’m excited about the challenge.”

Ole Miss went 7-6, but Freeze still capitalized on the annual phenomenon of coaches having first-year recruiting success. The relentless efforts he and his assistants make in recruiting are drawing attention.

There was also good fortune. Nkemdiche’s brother played for Ole Miss. Treadwell’s best friend did, too. Freeze proudly said on signing day that those ins were “God’s favor to us,” though the popular (and unproven) assumption among skeptics was that the Rebels had cheated.

[+] EnlargeRobert Nkemdiche
AP Photo/David TulisThe nation's No. 1 overall recruit, Robert Nkemdiche, led Ole Miss' recruiting success.
One thing was certain: Ole Miss sent a message on Feb. 6 when Nkemdiche, No. 1 tackle Laremy Tunsil and No. 2 safety Tony Conner all made signing-day decisions for the Rebels on national TV.

Jamal Adams was watching. The ESPN 300 safety from Lewisville (Texas) Hebron called that Ole Miss class “the best yet” and is convinced the Rebels are on the rise.

“They have the potential to go far in the next few years,” Adams said.

Adams has both Ole Miss and Texas in his top six and will take official visits to Oxford next month and Texas in November. He said most schools recruit him the same, but there is one thing Freeze’s staff does that caught him by surprise.

“They stay on you, giving you Bible verses every morning,” Adams said. “It’s cool at times.”

Ole Miss has offered more than 25 recruits from the state of Texas in this class and signed three Texans last year. Landing a big fish like Adams would do wonders for Freeze’s goal of making his program a national recruiting power.

"Recruiting in Texas has been big to us,” Freeze said Monday. “We've certainly picked up some momentum there. Going over there and doing well would provide dividends.”

Adams is as critical a target as any for Texas right now, a kid Mack Brown and his coaching staff has been recruiting for years. The approach they’ve taken -- not just with Adams, but all targets -- has undergone impressive changes in the past six months.

The hiring of Patrick Suddes in March to lead a new player personnel department has been a boon for the Longhorns’ recruiting efforts. They’re working hard to shed that “old school” label and modernize how Texas evaluates and pursues prospects.

Three-star Longview (Texas) defensive tackle Zaycoven Henderson is keeping a close eye on both schools. He recently decommitted from TCU and has Texas and Ole Miss in his new top six. The moment he received an offer from the Rebels was a special one.

“I was like, dang. Nkemdiche, the No. 1 defensive end in the nation, is going to Ole Miss. And then when I got the offer, I was pumped up about it,” Henderson said. “I was like, ‘Man, I can go play with the No. 1 player in the nation.’ Not everybody can say that.”

He was raised by diehard Texas fans with Longhorn emblems on all their cars. Mom and dad love Texas, and his best friend Dorian Leonard has already committed to UT. Despite the recent turmoil in Austin following the firing of defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, Henderson is still planning to visit Texas next weekend. He has a feeling both schools can be atop the college football world someday soon.

“Texas is very similar to Ole Miss in their recruiting style,” Henderson said. “Either you want to go to Texas or you don’t. They want to know that from the start, if you have any interest in them. If you do, they want to talk to you.”

Like the Twitter-savvy Freeze, Suddes has helped refresh Texas’ recruiting methods on social media. On the first day they were permitted, he and Mack Brown were up late into the night sending Twitter and Facebook messages to 2015 recruits on Sept. 1.

They’ve held new recruiting events and ramped up their efforts with that 2015 class to the point that they’re in the lead for most of the state’s best. The point isn’t to put together one great class. It’s to stay ahead and work on two or three at a time, advancing your message and brand in as many ways as possible.

Freeze undoubtedly subscribes to that philosophy. He admitted on signing day it takes two or three elite classes to build a title contender. He proved in Year 1 he’ll compete with anyone.

Now that includes Texas. The Rebels and Longhorns will square off Saturday night at DKR, but that won’t be the last time they battle.
Oklahoma State nabbed three prospects in the ESPN 300, and all three have officially signed their letters of intent.

The Cowboys have a pair of receivers in the fold in Ra'Shaad Samples, the nation's No. 166 player, and Marcell Ateman, the nation's No. 245 player. The duo ranks No. 19 and No. 37 at the position, respectively. Samples is a 5-foot-11, 170-pound target from power program Skyline in Dallas, and Ateman is a 6-foot-5, 200-pound prospect from Wylie, Texas. Those are two very different receivers, but they'll get a chance to start their career in an Oklahoma State offense with lots of receptions to go around.

Oklahoma State missed out on the nation's top receiver, Laquon Treadwell, who signed with Ole Miss earlier today, and longtime commit Fred Ross (No. 22 WR) flipped to Mississippi State on Tuesday. But it's still a solid pair of pickups for Oklahoma State, which has established a stellar receiver tradition with Dez Bryant and two-time Biletnikoff Award winner Justin Blackmon, as well as 2012 breakout star Josh Stewart. There's no doubt those guys influenced Samples' and Ateman's decisions.

The Cowboys' third ESPN 300 signee, defensive tackle Vincent Taylor, made it official this morning, too. He's a 6-foot-2, 267-pound defensive tackle from San Antonio, Texas, and ranks as the nation's No. 24 defensive tackle.

Lunch links: Big 12 expansion coming?

January, 17, 2013
1/17/13
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Welp.
Here's a bit of what you missed over the weekend in the Big 12, excluding Sunday's big news out of Fort Worth.

Stoops draws ire with Johnny Manziel comments

I don't know what you'd necessarily call this. A straight insult? A backhanded compliment? Either way, Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops raised eyebrows with a quote near the end of an appearance on an Oklahoma City radio station on Friday.

Transcription courtesy of The Oklahoman:
I’ve never felt as helpless as we were the other night, that’s for sure. You know, anytime you can go for 500 yards against a team like Alabama, what they did to Notre Dame, you don’t need to say anything else. On the road, at Alabama, that guy was phenomenal that night, and he just creates so many problems for your defense, and he knows what those problems are. He understands them very, very well. They’re gonna be tough to deal with. If they can keep him out of jail or keep him eligible, he’s gonna be pretty good. If they can keep him off the Twitter, he might win three or four Heismans. He’ll have that type of ability.”

Hello! Stoops later apologized for the comments through a spokesman, expressing his regret, but it's not a good look. Manziel has a pretty active Twitter account that drew some heat for photos that were posted in the days following the Aggies' win over Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, and Manziel was also arrested before the season after presenting a fake ID to police following his alleged involvement in a fight in College Station.

You could call it bulletin board material, but the Aggies and Sooners aren't scheduled to play for the foreseeable future, considering Texas A&M's SEC membership. Stoops' comments were clearly a joke, albeit one in poor taste. It's never good for a coach to joke at the expense of a 20-year-old kid, especially in a public forum. Manziel already responded (kind of) on Twitter, tweeting a post from the blog "Every Day Should Be Saturday" that read "[puts ten bucks on Manziel staying at his current job longer than Mike Stoops]."

Jokes aside, it sounds like both of these guys could use a timeout.

McCoy, Hicks reinstated to Texas' team

Case McCoy and Jordan Hicks have been reinstated and rejoined the Longhorns after being sent home from the Valero Alamo Bowl.

"Obviously when you break team rules there's a certain amount of trust that has been broken, and that will be addressed with further discipline," Brown said in a statement. "That discipline will be handled within the team."

McCoy, a senior quarterback, and Hicks, a junior linebacker, were both suspended from the team the day before the Valero Alamo Bowl for reasons that Brown declined to specify. The suspensions followed a KENS-TV report that two unidentified Texas players were being investigated for sexual assault.

For more on our story, go here.

Sooners, Cowboys chasing top receiver

LaQuon Treadwell spent the weekend in Stillwater, giving Oklahoma State the last word in the chase for the nation's No. 1 receiver and No. 19 on our ESPN 150.

Treadwell has narrowed his top three to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and likely favorite Ole Miss. Treadwell visited Oklahoma back on Dec. 14. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound wideout from Illinoise had this to say to ESPNChicago.com:
"Once I get home this weekend, I will know where I want to go," Treadwell said in a telephone interview while at Oklahoma State. "Just want to be comfortable with the coach. I want it to be some place I can step in and make an impact on the program and help them out.

"I want it to be a place where they treat you as more than just a player. I understand it's a business. It's a business for the coaches and everything. But I want to go with a coach who knows you as a person and not just a player. I want to go somewhere where I could see myself living there and not just as a football player."

Both Oklahoma State and Oklahoma need impact players at receiver, but we'll see where Treadwell elects to go on Thursday.

Texas Tech finds its defensive coordinator

Texas A&M linebackers coach Matt Wallerstedt is headed to Lubbock to become Texas Tech's new defensive coordinator under Kliff Kingsbury, according to a report in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

Kingsbury, formerly the offensive coordinator at A&M, made Wallerstedt the Red Raiders' fifth defensive coordinator in five seasons.

Before that, Wallerstedt spent four seasons under Troy Calhoun at Air Force.

Recruiting battles across the Big 12

December, 10, 2012
12/10/12
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Our crack team at RecruitingNation is on top of the game, and each week, breaks down the top 10 recruiting battles across the country.

Here's the set from this week .

This week, the man at the center of Big 12 country is receiver LaQuon Treadwell. Our recruiting team says it's the nation's No. 2 overall recruiting battle.

The Illinois native is the nation's No. 1 receiver and No. 20 overall prospect. Ole Miss reportedly has the inside track on him, but he's still very interested in Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

Todd Monken's Illinois roots add some intrigue to this battle. He just brought in QB Wes Lunt from the state, and now he's after Treadwell, who checks in at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds.

Here's what they're going after, according to our scouts.
Treadwell is tall and lanky, but with lateral wiggle and speed to not only be a vertical factor, but also one after the catch. He is long and shows good suddenness off the line to create separation and get downfield. He is somewhat graceful and fluid in his movements considering his height. He has a wide wingspan, big hands and, given his height, a high-cut build that is very fluid through the hips.

Be sure to keep up with our Blue Chip Battles throughout the recruiting season.

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