Houston Nutt has been the Football News' National Coach of the Year and also the SEC coach of the year. The program under Houston Nutt was not on a downswing by any means, but rather an upswing in recent years as the Razorbacks are one of only three SEC Schools to play in three New Year's Day bowls in the past five years and have a chance to make that four New Year's Day bowls in the last six years this year.
If Arkansas wins their bowl game this year, they will have won nine or more games in five of Coach Nutt's ten years at Arkansas.
The Ole Miss fan base no longer has to wonder if the new coach's "plan" is going to take them to the next level. Coach Nutt has already proven his plan will win and win consistently in the SEC.
And more importantly, he has proven that he can win at a school on Ole Miss' level. No more saying, "well yea, I could have won at Florida too." Arguably, Arkansas is as hard to attract top notch talent as any school in the SEC, considering its location is tucked away in the tip of the Ozarks. Kind of hard to sell the young men to attend a college in the chilly mountains where the nearest home cooked meal is some 8 to 10 hours away.
The Ole Miss fans will no longer have to hang on to every recruiting ranking because Coach Nutt has already proven that his recruiting and system has worked year in and year out over a 10 year period in the SEC.
No longer will an Ole Miss head coach have to enter the den of a prospect's home and sell them on their "vision". Now the folder comes out with marked accomplishments in the SEC, and on an elite level at that.
No, Coach Nutt has not had highly ranked recruiting classes on a consistent basis, although his current class at Arkansas is ranked 18th nationally. But he does know how to evaluate and develop the talent.
"Coach Nutt showed while he was at Arkansas that a) he is a good recruiter, b) Coach Nutt is a great evaluator, and c ) most importantly, he develops the talent," added Scout.com's national recruiting expert, Jamie Newburg. "I think his record at Arkansas is solid and he has proven he can win big in an ultra competitive league."
When looking further into Coach Nutt's recruiting philosophy we have seen a trend.
"The first thing when you talk about Coach Nutt, he understands how to recruit instate," stated Scout.com's Southern Regional recruiting expert, Miller Safrit. "When you look at his commit list, he did a great job at keeping the top players in-state, especially the skilled positions. When it comes to his commitments, he seems to really focus on the summer camps. Many of his commits came right after their camps from June to July. Around 15 of the 19 current commits came around this time frame."
We received further insight from Scout.com's Southwest recruiting expert, Greg Powers.
"I think one thing that helps Coach Nutt be a good recruiter is that not only can he sell what he has accomplished as a coach, he is also a good man," stated Powers. "He is a family man that really cares about his players and program. The families for the recruits are real comfortable with him. You hear this a lot, but in Coach Nutt's case it is true, he is like a father figure for most of the players that play for him."
We also know that the state of Arkansas does not receive the pub to give many of their recruits an accurate ranking.
All you have to do is look at the current NFL roster and you will see 30 of Houston Nutt's players on it. In the meantime, only five of those players were ranked 4 stars or better.
"I do not think he signs bad classes," stated Greg Powers. "In a state like Arkansas, the recruits are not going to get the pub like a recruit would from California, Texas, or Florida where they are sending 250 kids to the D1 level, where as Arkansas is sending 25. But you get 10 of those 25 to stay with your program; then you have done a good job keeping your players instate. The instate kids have passion about their program and care more about their program. It is just natural for them to feel that way, and that has helped Coach Nutt turn some of those classes that were not ranked highly and produce some really good teams.
Can coach Nutt recruit the "difference makers"?
Meet Heisman hopeful Darren McFadden, Felix Jones, and Peyton Hillis who all represent the top backfield in college football. And Rebel fans, do you remember Matt Jones in that 7 overtime game against Eli Manning? What about Ken Hamlin taking off a few Rebel heads? How about Shawn Andrews paving the way for the Hog running backs? Ever seen Marcus Monk be the difference of the outcome of a game? Ever heard the name of Tony Ugoh, Chris Houston and Jamal Anderson (1st round pick last year)? The list could go on and on.
Where will Ole Miss' recruiting territories stretch under Coach Coach Nutt?
"He will take care of Mississippi first," added Greg Powers. "He always wants to take care of his home state. I still think he will have a lot of success recruiting the state of Arkansas, and you can expect him to hit Texas, Louisanna, Tennessee, and Georgia hard. You will not see him go North or West. He likes to stay in the states that he is connected to."
Isn't it nice having all
of the uncertainty surrounding the Rebel's football program vanish before your
very own eyes?