Rebel football coach Houston Nutt and his staff have been on the road recruiting non-stop since the season ended.
He arrived back in Oxford Saturday around noon and opted to take in the Ole Miss-ETSU basketball game at Tad Smith Coliseum.
Right now, nothing he's doing seems to be giving him much peace of mind.
"It stings not being in a bowl game. This is only the third time I have experienced this in 13 years in this league and it hurts," he said. "It's hard to get away from, so we have turned to recruiting 100,000 miles an hour."
Nutt saw the recruiting efforts pay off in the JUCO signing period with four signees: QB Zack Stoudt, S Ivan Nicholas, DT Gilbert Pena and CB Wesley Pendleton.
"This is a group that can really help us in some need areas," said Nutt to a small media gathering at halftime of the basketball contest. "We need help on the back end of the defense and I think we have that with a real physical safety in Nicholas and a fast corner in Pendleton. We lost our main defensive tackles and needed to pick up one with maturity. That's where Pena comes in. We only had two scholarship quarterbacks on campus and really like Zack.
"I am really looking forward to seeing those guys compete in the spring. We feel we added depth and instant competition at those positions."
Nutt has had his staff blitzing the top recruiting targets still on the board by sending multiple coaches into prospect's homes.
"We have had six or seven assistant coaches in their homes at a time and have hit quite a few like that this last week before the dead period (tonight)," he noted. "We want to leave no doubt heading into the holidays how badly we want them to join our program."
After a year with multiple suspensions from within the team, it appears only freshman CB Tony Grimes and junior LB Brandon Sanders will be gone for good.
"I think it was best for us and for Tony that he look elsewhere," he continued. "Delvin Jones, Melvin Harris and Clarence Jackson all worked out with the team the last few weeks prior to semester break and seem to be doing well."
Next on the table, something that Nutt will deal with throughout the break, will be the uncertain future of rising senior Tailback Brandon Bolden, who has indicated he is looking seriously about bypassing his senior season in favor of the NFL.
"I don't know how that is going to pan out. I want what is best for Brandon. We are going to talk some more over the break and see what he's thinking," Nutt noted.
Houston was also asked about any staff movement or realignment. He avoided comment at this time.
"It's been all about recruiting until now," he closed. "First things first."
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