Sources confirmed to the Ole Miss Spirit Tuesday Freeze is poised to hire former Cal wide receivers coach Jacob Peeler to the same post for the Rebels. Peeler spent the previous four seasons as a member of Sonny Dykes’ Bears staff, including the last two as wide receivers coach. However, Peeler became immediately available after Dykes was dismissed as head coach a few days ago.
The hiring of Peeler comes eight days after news broke that Matt Lubick, who Freeze hired in December to the wide receivers coach post, would instead be joining Baylor as co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. Lubick spent all of 36 hours on the job at Ole Miss, with Baylor offering both a promotion in title and an increased salary structure.
But Freeze did well in Peeler, a Kosciusko, Miss., native who is accomplished both in his abilities as a coach, as well as his prowess on the recruiting trail. Peeler was responsible for the signing of Demetris Robertson, the nation’s top-ranked receiver in the 2016 recruiting class according to Rivals and 247Sports. Robertson was rated a five-star prospect by Scout and the No. 3 wide receiver.
Peeler is well-versed in the Air Raid concepts Ole Miss will look to employ under new offensive coordinator Phil Longo. Dykes, like Longo, is an Air Raid disciple, and his offense flourished in 2015 with Peeler contributing to the numerous records set by the Cal offense. The Bears set single-season school marks in passing yardage (4,892), passing yards per game (376.3 yards per game), passing touchdowns (44), total offense (6,879), total yards per game (529.2 yards per game), total touchdowns (63), scoring offense (37.9 points per game, modern-era record), first downs (341) and first downs passing (201), with all the marks previously set in 2013 or 2014.
Peeler coached a trio of inside wide receivers in his first season as a full-time coach on the offensive staff in 2015 that had at least 40 catches, led by Bryce Treggs (45 receptions, team-high 956 yards receiving, seven TDs) and also including Darius Powe (47-560-8) and Stephen Anderson (41-474-2). Treggs and Anderson were both two-time All-Pac-12 honorable mention selections who picked up their second honors as 2015 seniors under Peeler. Treggs also finished his career fourth all-time at Cal with 195 receptions, fifth with 2,506 yards receiving and 10th with 15 touchdowns. All of Powe's numbers were career highs.
All three players signed undrafted free agent contracts following the 2016 NFL Draft. Anderson landed with the Houston Texas, Powe with the New York Giants and Treggs with the San Francisco 49ers.
Peeler has developed the likes of current Green Bay Packers’ tight end and third-round 2014 NFL Draft pick Richard Rodgers as well as Anderson, Powe and Treggs over the last three seasons. Under Peeler’s tutelage, Rodgers (39 receptions, 608 yards, one TD reception) and Anderson (46 receptions, 661 receiving yards, five TDs) both registered the best statistical numbers of their collegiate careers in 2013 and 2014, respectively, before Treggs put up a couple of his career bests and Powe all of his in 2015.
Before Cal, Peeler spent four seasons as a quality control assistant at Louisiana Tech. He acted as the TEs and assistant offensive line coach at Itawamba (Miss.) Community College in 2008.