When coaching changes occur in any college sport, predicting the odds of what will eventually happen are about as good as flying a kite into the opposite direction of the wind — especially when a scandal rocks a program.
With uncertain times possibly ahead at Ole Miss, East’s Blaine Scott understandably jumped off the #HoddyToddy movement for now. The 6-4, 310-pound offensive lineman became the latest high school product to decommit from the Rebels on Sunday evening in the wake of the resignation of head coach Hugh Freeze on July 20 — ultimately becoming the fourth recruit to do so in a 10-day span.
“Due to recent events that have happened at the University of Mississippi, myself, my parents and my coaches believe that it is in my best interest to reopen my recruitment and start looking at other options,” Scott said on his Twitter account. “Ole Miss will still be one of my top schools, but I must do what’s best for me and my situation. Please no interviews as my team, and I, begin camp and two-a-days (on Monday) and I want to be ready for the start of my senior season. God Bless.”
Scott, who had offers from more than two dozen Power Five football programs in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) ranks, initially committed to the Rebels on May 5 in a signing ceremony at East High School. There, Scott chose Ole Miss over Arkansas, Duke, Michigan State, and Rutgers, who proved to be the multi-sport standout’s additional finalists.
Over the first two months of his commitment, Scott, who was the second player to join Ole Miss’ Class of 2018 following Wayne County (Miss.) standout Quentin Bivens’ commitment on April 29, held firm as the Rebels’ class grew to 10 by the beginning of the Independence Day Weekend.
Unfortunately, Ole Miss’ football program, who was already in hot water by the NCAA for alleged violations that involved former Rebel standouts Robert Nkemdiche and Laremy Tunsil, among others, took the biggest punch in the gut internally when Freeze resigned from pressure by Ole Miss chancellor Jeff Vitter and Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork after phone records showed that he had made a call to a female escort service.
While that call didn’t trigger Freeze’s direct resignation, Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork ultimately found other concerning activities after doing additional research through the released phone calls.
“While Coach Freeze served our university well in many regards during his tenure, we simply cannot accept the conduct in his personal life that we have discovered,” Vitter said in the school’s official press conference concerning the matter.
Scott, along with Oklahoma City, Okla. (Millwood) defensive tackle Israel Antwine, Germantown, Tenn. cornerback Jaylin Williams, and 2019 Houston, Tex. (Madison) cornerback Bobby Wolfe, have all decommitted from the program since Freeze’s resignation. Ole Miss finished 5-7 in 2016.
Freeze currently holds a 69-32 overall record in his coaching career and went 39-25 with a 3-1 record in bowl games at Ole Miss, including a 48-20 victory against Oklahoma State in the Sugar Bowl. Freeze’s teams finished in the Top 25 of the AP Poll and the Coaches Poll in 2014 and 2015.
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @ColleyKevin7