By the time his senior season was complete, Crete-Monee (Ill.) wide receiver Laquon Treadwell had his pick of schools from across the country, yet by then the five-star prospect was already developing a bond with Ole Miss that ultimately led to Thursday's commitment.
"I'm going to Ole Miss," Treadwell told Rivals.com. "I just love everything about Ole Miss. I love what Coach [Hugh] Freeze is doing. He's always positive and is a great role model for his players."
Ole Miss jumped to the top of Treadwell's list immediately following a Nov. 30 weekend official visit to Oxford. A key to their rise was the comfort his mother had with Freeze and the other Ole Miss coaches and during that trip.
"The way my mom felt about the school, that really set it off," Treadwell said at the time. "She enjoyed her time down there and enjoyed being around the coaches."
Even before his late fall official visit to Ole Miss, Treadwell had made several unofficial visits to Oxford. His former teammate at Crete-Monee, Anthony Standifer, was a freshman defensive back this past fall for the Rebels and that connection helped facilitate earlier summer and fall trips to the campus.
In fact, Ole Miss was the first non-Midwest school Treadwell visited in his recruitment and he would not see another until official visits to his other finalists -- Oklahoma and Oklahoma State -- in the past month.
Treadwell's mother did not accompany her son on the official visits to Oklahoma or Oklahoma State -- an absence that signaled difficult roads for those programs to overtake the Rebels. He did have several family members along for his Oklahoma State official visit this past weekend, including an uncle who had played for the Cowboys.
Oklahoma State put up the greatest amount of opposition to the Rebels. Oklahoma was the third member of his final group, but by the time Treadwell entered the final week of his decision the choice had been narrowed down to the Rebels and Cowboys. His choice for Ole Miss is a boon for the Rebels that could pay off immediately.
Ranked as the nation's No. 10 prospect, Treadwell is just the third five-star high school recruit Ole Miss has landed since the modern era of Rivals.com rankings and he is also the highest-ranked prospect for the Rebels in that time. His commitment boosts Ole Miss' 2013 class from No. 17 nationally up to No. 11 and could signal the beginning of a big few weeks for the Rebels leading into National Signing Day on Feb. 6.
Since Treadwell and the nation's No. 1 overall prospect, defensive end Robert Nkemdiche of Loganville, Ga., started listing Ole Miss as their favorites, the Rebels have been attracting new interest from top prospects across the nation including five-star Lake City (Fla.) Columbia offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil.
Even if Ole Miss does not land another five-star in this 2013 class, however, they now have in Treadwell an instant impact freshman to pair with junior wide receiver Donte Moncrief to form a formidable receiver tandem who will be catching passes from returning starter Bo Wallace at quarterback in 2013.