Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze pulled in what some thought always was going to be an all-time class in 2013. That class should produce at least three first-round picks.

But just three years later, he may have done even better. Ole Miss has collected three more five-star players in a group that is at least as deep and will finish in the composite top 10.

That’s despite an NCAA investigation into Rebels athletics, still in the preliminary stages. Initial reports indicate that the football team’s involvement in any allegations is relatively minimal. But that didn’t stop teams from using it against Ole Miss during the process.

One of Freeze’s main messages Wednesday afternoon was that he feels proud of the way he and his coaching staff navigated that negativity.

Freeze also went on the Paul Finebaum show to talk about his class. Here is some of what he said:

“We’re thrilled. We just think that top to bottom it’s probably our best class. We’ve had some good ones since we’ve been here. At quarterback, we think we got the best guy in the nation in Shea Patterson. We got a left tackle to protect him. Benito Jones is one of the best I’ve seen. We think he’s ready to play. We continue to add to our receiving corps, which is always important to us.”

On the negativity:

“It’s frustrating as heck, I assure you. We’ve changed the narrative in college football for some people, and they don’t like it. We have rose-colored glasses (fans). Hopefully in the course of time — we’ve had four consecutive top 15 classes. I know how we do things. I know how our staff does things. You can’t let it deter you.

“The storms came and they came in a variety of ways from the different coaching staffs to media to social media. Our relationships won out in the end, which makes me even more grateful to those families who chose to stay with us.

“We get gut punches in life all the time. How you handle that is going to determine who you are in life long-term.”