Can Ole Miss Rebels Ever be an SEC Powerhouse?

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The Ole Miss Rebels have been trying for decades to push themselves into the upper-echelon of SEC football. Now, with Hugh Freeze, fans have had a right to believe they are as close as ever to getting there.

It’s no like there aren’t times where the Rebels were at or near the top, but they haven’t competed for an SEC west crown since Eli Manning’s senior year in 2003. You have to go back to the Johnny Vaught years to find them in serious SEC contention before that. But perhaps the Rebels just haven’t found the right person to lead the program since 1970.

Or perhaps, they’ve simply made idiotic decisions such as firing David Cutcliffe and bringing in Ed Orgeron, which might be the dumbest college football administrative decision outside of hiring Derek Dooley at Tennessee over the past 10 years. Regardless of what happened in the past, two straight Top 20 recruiting classes and lots of young, returning talent has many Rebels fans believing they just might soon be at the top of the SEC West.

Nov 16, 2013; Oxford, MS, USA; Mississippi Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze talks to his team during a time out against the Troy Trojans during the first half at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Unfortunately, a Top 10 recruiting class put them only at No. 3 in the SEC West in 2013, and the 19th ranked recruiting class put them at No. 4 in 2014. Seriously, try and say any conference is nearly as deep as the SEC. That’s just one division.

However, the Rebels do have some returning talent and a good number of young, raw players with lots of potential to use this year. Is it enough for them to compete for the SEC West title? Is it enough for them to simply take the next step?

It will be hard, especially when you take into account that in-state rival Mississippi State has some serious talent back as well. But if Ole Miss is going to take another step, it will have to rely on very young talent. Continue to Next Slide for Offense

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