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Monday, August 4, 2014
Freeze defends recruitment of receiver

By Edward Aschoff

Talking season in college football might be coming to a close, but Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze had no problem adding to it a little Friday.

During the Rebels' annual media day in Oxford, Freeze was asked about the accusations of improper recruiting of Washington transfer receiver Damore'ea Stringfellow made by Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, and he was none too pleased with Pelini, who earlier in the week told reporters to "read between the lines" when asked about Stringfellow's sudden decision to spurn Nebraska for Ole Miss.

"I think we all know what happened in that situation," Pelini added.

Pelini also went as far to call Stringfellow's mother, Kahlilah Levine, a "clueless parent" when asked about the effect parents can have on recruiting.

Here's how Freeze responded to Pelini's comments:
“We’re certainly confident in the way our coaching staff goes about doing things. I reached out to him and said ‘Hey, if you have something that I don’t know, please call me.’ I got no response. I don’t know. I will say this, the lady I dealt with was very charming, intelligent and very observant. I think there are a lot of reasons that it may have gone our way. I’m sure he had a reason he said it. We’re glad we have String and his mom.”

Here's a little clarity on the story: Stringfellow left Washington's football team after being charged with two counts of fourth-degree assault and one count of third-degree malicious mischief after being accused of being involved in a fight during a Super Bowl celebration for the Seattle Seahawks. Stringfellow was indefinitely suspended by new Washington coach Chris Petersen. Stringfellow appeared headed to Nebraska after committing to the Cornhuskers, but eventually changed his mind and enrolled at Ole Miss this summer after visiting the school.

Now, we all know that recruiting is what drives college football. You have to recruit in order to build, so missing out on guys can sting, especially when it seems almost guaranteed that you've locked someone up. But at the same time, every coach in America has to know that nothing is ever guaranteed in recruiting until that binding agreement is signed and sent in. Until then, all truly is fair in love and recruiting.

Pelini knows that, and to throw cryptic allegations out at a team he lost to for a recruit is irresponsible. Like Freeze said, if Pelini knew something foul was going on, he should have said something. Freeze invited him to, and he stayed quiet. If he had legitimate evidence proving that Ole Miss was involved in shady recruiting, he should have either divulged publicly or filed a complaint with the NCAA.

Instead, Pelini just carelessly tossed out an accusation with no substance to it and Freeze responded accordingly.

Stringfellow, who was ranked the No. 51 overall high school prospect in ESPN.com's RecruitingNation's 2012 recruiting class, ended his freshman year with 20 receptions for 259 yards and a touchdown. Under NCAA rules, Stringfellow has to sit out this year, but will have three years of eligibility remaining.