Christmas came early for Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze, who agreed to a new four-year contract on Monday.

This on the heels of the first nine-win regular season since a quarterback named Eli who wore No. 10 suited up for the Rebels. With its win over Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl, Ole Miss now has a shot at a berth in a New Year’s Six bowl and a 10-win season.

With Freeze’s future leading the Rebels shored up, win improvements in each of his three seasons and a reputation as a skilled recruiter, what’s next for Freeze and the Rebels?


Freeze has lifted a program that was in shambles, and turned the Rebels in viable contenders in the SEC West. With seven, eight and now nine wins in his three seasons, the pressure is on. Regression next season isn’t an option, even for the folks in Oxford.

A 7-0 start, No. 3 ranking and scene like no other when College GameDay visited The Grove on Oct. 4 put Ole Miss football on the national map. That feeling, that expectation is tough to shed, even for a program where seasons such as this are once a decade. Following a 10-win season in 2003, it took just one year for David Cutcliffe to be shown the door. Houston Nutt recorded back-to-back nine-win seasons in 2008 and 2009, however, losing seasons in 2010 and 2011 left him unemployed. The Rebels have trended upward thus far during Freeze’s reign, however it’s important for Ole Miss — and for Freeze — that the trajectory continue.

Freeze has changed the culture around the Ole Miss program, and though he’s modestly said the Rebels are in a good position in year three, there’s no question a mixture of talent, experience and parity came together for Freeze and the Rebels this season.


Ole Miss only loses six seniors and possibly one or two juniors who may declare early for the NFL Draft. However, several of those six seniors are key components of the success the Rebels have had this season.

Quarterback Bo Wallace, wide receiver Vince Sanders and defensive backs Senquez Golson and Cody Prewitt all depart, leaving gaping holes at their respective positions. Ole Miss fans will end up missing Wallace, perhaps, more than they anticipate. Wallace missed two series’ in the loss to Arkansas forcing backups DeVante Kincade and Ryan Buchanan into action. Neither played well, and in addition, have muddied the water behind Wallace in the mop-up action the two have seen this season.

Golson and Prewitt depart a secondary a part of college football’s top defense. Golson leads the country in interceptions and has come up with several big plays this season, highlighted by the interception to seal the win over then-No. 3 Alabama. Prewitt quarterbacks the defense from his safety position, and departs with a wealth of experience.

Replacing high-production players is no easy task for Freeze, however the third-year head coach must find guys to step in and fill the void.


In his short stint on the FBS level, Freeze has built a reputation as a recruiter, garnering nationwide attention by hauling in a consensus top-ten recruiting class in his first offseason. Eleven high school All-Americans, including the nation’s top overall recruit in Robert Nkemdiche signed with the Rebels.

In addition to the nation’s No. 1 overall player, Freeze inked the No. 1 offensive tackle, No. 1 wide receiver and the No. 2 safety, highlighting a class comprised of 16 players rated four stars or better.

Ole Miss currently boasts the 19th-ranked class in the country with 15 commitments. Freeze and offensive line coach Matt Luke landed a huge prospect recently in Javon Patterson, the top-rated prospect in the state of Mississippi.

The Rebels are on pace for another strong class, important to the success Freeze and Ole Miss hopes to have moving forward. Sure, a huge part of the equation is the talent panning out. However, the success the Rebels have had in their first three seasons under Freeze prove he’s an underrated developer of talent. Nearly every signee of that historic 2013 class has panned out and played a huge role in this season’s success.

The extension Freeze agreed to on Monday also shows his commitment to the program. The 9-3 season, coupled with Freeze’s new four-year deal will ease the stresses of future recruits.

It’s been widely reported Freeze was offered the head coaching job at Florida, and there’s little doubt of the Gators’ interest in the Mississippi native. However, with perhaps a better job on the table, Freeze stayed put which will resonate with recruits that he won’t leave for greener pastures.