For many, when hearing the name Ole Miss it brings up an eerie feeling and thoughts of a confederate flag and a segregated south. However, today Mississippi football paints a totally different picture as the Rebels are turning heads around the country with early success in this young college football season.
For the first time since 2009, Ole Miss is ranked, and 3-0 for the first time since 1989.The reason for the upward swing is the recruitment of the nation's top talent, as last season brought in its greatest class ever (No. 5 in ESPN recruiting class rankings). Coach Hugh Freeze has no plans to slow down as Ole Miss is already projected to be in the running for a top 10 class again this offseason.
Perhaps it is not a story considering 10 of the 12 recruits are African-American, however it wasn't until Ben Williams signed to play for the Rebels in 1972 that black players were even recruited to come to play in Oxford. Williams would eventually claim All-SEC honors and have a long and successful NFL career following his stint in college.
With more black players being recruited to Ole Miss, it was the late 1970's when Roy Coleman was presented with the opportunity to become the starting quarterback of the Rebels. He would play both QB and receiver during his time, most notably playing an integral part of the 1977 team that knocked off eventual national champion Notre Dame. His 52-yard catch is one of the greatest plays to ever happen at Ole Miss in what ranks as one of the school's most prized victories.
Perception is changing as, week after week, the school's popularity continues to grow amogst the nation's top recruits. One thing is for sure, winning is color blind.