Book Review: Meat Market

Author Bruce Feldman chronicled the 2007 Ole Miss signing class with his new book. Go inside for a review by The Ole Miss Spirit.

Meat Market: Inside the Smash-Mouth World of College Football Recruiting

Bruce Feldman

I wasn't sure what to expect from Meat Market, but every expectation was met and surpassed in the time it took to finish the insightful, Red Bull charged title. Author Bruce Feldman recalls his "fly on the wall" viewpoint to perfection and delivers hard-hitting, fast-paced prose that is a must read for every college football fan and a once-in-a-lifetime account for anyone that supports Ole Miss.

The book documents Ed Orgeron and the rest of the Ole Miss recruiting team as they deal with the triumphs and tribulations associated with high stakes college football recruiting. Feldman was there for all the hits and misses leading up to Signing Day 2007.

Fans normally just see the end result, but readers will respect and awe the meticulous amount of work and preparation that is involved with inking each year's new crop of college athletes. This is the part of the read that will hook all football fans. Die-hard Rebels will enjoy that phase plus much more.

Meat Market centers on Rebel recruiting, but a biography of Orgeron is mixed in. Ole Miss fans will view a side of the Ole Miss Coach that has never been seen before. His past troubles and his insatiable desire to win are each detailed with an honesty and clarity that makes the reader root for Orgeron no matter where allegiances lie.

Coach O's work ethic and meticulous attention to detail are the main themes reiterated throughout the quick read of just more than 300 pages. The intense work days beginning at earlier than 5 a.m. and the endless search for undiscovered talent will overwhelm all readers' energy levels.

Orgeron may be the caffeine guzzling protagonist, but appropriate amounts of attention are given to the bevy of recruits that will roam the Rebels' (or other teams) sidelines starting Saturday. This is where the book becomes a great read for Ole Miss followers.

The recruiting sagas of Joe McKnight, Jerrell Powe and Robert Elliot are all detailed along with the accounts of first impressions and decisions that Orgeron made on current Rebels like Rishaw Johnson, Ted Laurent, Jamariey Atterberry and Tony Fein. Orgeron's recruiting prowess has always been well known, but now the average fan can gain an understanding of why the Ole Miss head man is unparalleled in planning and research regarding recruiting.

Whether in Alabama recruiting amidst a cock fight or banging a bass drum throughout the IPF, Orgeron and Feldman bring every fan an opportunity to experience the hunt that leads up to Signing Day. And for the Rebel faithful, also present are anecdotes describing how losing a football game led to Orgeron meeting wife Kelly and what past events contribute to the tremendous drive for success that consumes the burly Cajun.

Meat Market simplifies the jargon-laden world of recruiting and will consume every football enthusiast. The pages will turn, and with it, Orgeron will be revealed and appreciated. A great book for college football and a necessity for all supporters in Red and Blue.

Author Bruce Feldman will hold a book signing at Square Books on September 7 and will return on October 12 for a special event also at Square Books.

That Friday prior to Alabama vs. Ole Miss football the day after, Feldman will join Clay Travis (Dixieland Delight), John Ed Bradley (It Never Rains in Tiger Stadium), Warren St. John (ESPN Guide to Psycho Fan Behavior) and Pableaux Johnson (Gameday Gourmet) for a signing and reading moderated by writer Wright Thompson. The event is sponsored by Square Books, ESPN Books, and The Ole Miss Spirit.

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