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Hugh Freeze explains how he signed his head-turning recruiting class

Hugh Freeze and the Ole Miss staff quickly became the talk of college football on National Signing Day after the Rebels closed like Mariano Rivera in his prime. 

According to ESPN.com, Ole Miss inked the No. 1 overall player Robert Nkemdiche, No. 1 wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, No. 1 offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil, No. 1 junior college player Lavon Hooks and No. 2 safety Antonio Conner. 

"It's kind of been the perfect storm for us," Freeze told CBSSports.com's recrutiting show. "I'm not foolish enough to believe we could have done this without these tie-ins."

Freeze was quick to credit those tie-ins in helping the Rebels land Treadwell (whose best friend is already on the roster), Nkemdiche (whose brother is already on the roster), Conner (who hails from Batesville, 25 miles from Oxford) and Hooks (who committed to Ole Miss out of high school). 

"Laquon and Robert have been recruiting behind the scenes for us for a long time now," said Freeze. "Tony Conner was right down the road. They did a great job helping us with Laremy."

Natural in-roads gave Ole Miss a great head start, but the key was getting the Rebels' top targets on campus at the same time and selling them on the future of Rebels football.

"Here's what we want our vision to be. Let's do it together. We need all of you guys to get there," Freeze told the recruits.

Ole Miss' success comes hand-in-hand with plenty of naysayers crying foul, as Freeze is more than aware. In his words, Ole Miss' success "rocked the apple cart". 

"They need to come and visit," Freeze suggested. "Critics are the same people that say Oxford is the No. 1 college town in the nation and the Grove is the No. 1 campus spot in the nation. People can criticize me all they want, I know we did it with integrity."

Players explain Saban's in home recruiting pitch

Every coach and university has their own recruiting pitch when they sit down in front of a family during an in house visit. Most of those pitches consist of coaches telling the recruit how much they need to have him as a part of their team, and how much they'll be able to contribute.

That isn't the case when Nick Saban sits down in a living room. Saban lays out his plan and tells recruits "We're going to win with or without you." Last year, Julio Jones explained hearing that same pitch in his living room during a visit from Saban.

The approach is so honest and different that it works. Recruits really connect with the honesty, and one player compared the unique approach to dating.

"Begging is what everyone does, so that's different. I guess it's like dating. You want the woman that does something different." former four star prospect Damion Square explained, who had countless other offers on the table when he decided to go to Alabama.

More players weigh in on their living room experience with Saban in a 'BamaMag.com article, including how Saban's infamous "process" played a role in their decision as well. The article provides a lot of good insight into the methods of one of the top closers in the country.

After today, those stars that once signified a players ranking no longer carry any weight. Freshman are freshman, and the more stars a player had just signifies how much more humble he has to get when he gets to campus.

As Square explains, "We have a facility of five-star guys. So when you come in you better humble yourself."

We have a feeling humility is a large part of the pitch as well.

How Pat Fitzgerald creates ownership at Northwestern

Last night we saw a tweet from Pat Fitzgerald that caught our eye.

What you see is Northwestern's Leadership Council gathering to pick players for their off season draft. The team competitions, called the "Wildcat Games", include players competing in daily challenges ranging from weight room activities, to winter conditioning events, to academic and community outreach activities. The Leadership Council players will serve as the captains of their teams, which will stay together through spring ball.

Teams are composed of players from both sides of the ball and all classes.

The Leadership Council is a group of guys that the staff has in place to help create ownership, measure the pulse of the team, and help to make important team decisions. It's composed of high character guys that have excellent leadership ability, and players that will hold their teammates accountable for their actions and expect the best from their them at all times.

It also serves as a great way to build team chemistry, as it gets guys interacting with players on the opposite side of the ball, and mixes the seasoned veterans in with the newcomers to make sure they know the standard that is expected of them during the off season.

Developing a Leadership Council of your own for your program, whether it's the high school or college level, is a great way to create ownership at every level. Fitz and his staff have seen the results that it can have on the team with their results on game day, including their first 10 win season season since 1995 this past year (and just their second one in the history of the program).

Rich Rod's recruiting plan: 'Our Kinda Guy'

Watch the video above and hear Arizona director of recruiting / player personnel Matt Dudek explain Arizona's plan for national signing day. 

#AZOKGDay 

Video: Forever a Tiger - The LSU Experience

When it comes to churning out high quality videos that strike a chord with recruits and their fan base, LSU is one of the best in the country.

Their latest installment of "The LSU Experience" focuses on the experience of playing at LSU, the experience in Tiger Stadium, and the idea that once your a Tiger, you're always a Tiger.

Sit back and enjoy this one, and listen to why LSU is a special place to play college ball.

 

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