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Hitting the recruiting trail

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze is taking advantage of his team’s bye week and is hitting the recruiting trail, while his squad gets itself healthy for a contest with Arkansas next week.

 
With a bye week on hand, Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze stressed his excitement to be able to focus heavily on recruiting. After coming off the first conference win of the season, Freeze knows that now is the ideal time to recruit.
 
“Recruiting has been going really well,” Freeze said. “I called and checked in with our coaches last night, and they seemed to be feeling good about their conversations. We’re hitting the road Thursday and Friday, and we’ll get to get out and be seen in schools. 
 
"It is good to go out after a win, an SEC win in particular.”
 
So far the Rebels have 20 committed recruits, but they still have plenty of big-name players they are pursuing. Freeze noted that the success this season has helped in Ole Miss’ pitch to the recruits.
 
“I don’t think we have a legitimate shot if we didn’t pull off some (wins),” Freeze said. “I don’t know that you have to pull off a certain amount of wins to be in the game with some of those (recruits) because we are in the game with some really good recruits, but I do think they have to come here and see a competitive team with some of the better teams. And I think we have given them a couple of signs of that, and that helps us out.”
 
Injury Update
 
After getting banged up this past Saturday against Auburn, freshman defensive back Mike Hilton, sophomore offensive guard Aaron Morris and senior tight end Jamal Mosley are all looking to heal up during the Rebels' bye week. Also, sophomore defensive end C.J. Johnson did not practice Tuesday afternoon.
 
Hilton, who suffered a concussion, is still on the road to recovery.
 
“He is on the last stage of being cleared from that,” Freeze said. “He will have to pass one more test to be cleared from it.”
 
Mosley, who is nursing a knee injury, sat out of Tuesday’s practice and will likely be evaluated every week for the rest of the year.
 
“Jamal is going to be something we have to nurse every single week before the season is over,” Freeze said. “He’ll play, but will probably be limited some every week.”
 
Johnson, who is suffering from an apparent lower back injury, is “OK,” according to Freeze. 
 
Mackey and Scott thriving in the backfield
 
Senior running back Randall Mackey and junior back Jeff Scott have both thrived in the new offense brought by Freeze and his staff and have made significant impacts for the Rebels out of the backfield this year.
 
Mackey, a converted quarterback, is second on the team with 233 rush yards and three touchdowns on the ground. He has also thrown for a touchdown and added nine catches for 152 yards.
 
“I think the big thing that comes to my mind when I start talking about Randall is versatility,” running backs coach Derrick Nix said. “He’s scored catching the ball, he’s scored running the ball, he’s thrown a touchdown pass, you line him up at receiver, quarterback, kickoff return, he does a little bit of everything. He’s just a versatile guy. He is a football player that can do a little bit of everything.”
 
Nix also said that he thinks if Mackey had had more time to develop as a running back, things may have been a little different for him.
 
“If he had been there from day one, there is no telling what he could’ve been like, but he is doing a good job,” Nix said. “He is a natural. He’s been a quarterback, and if he was there full time, he would be successful there as well. I think he has the skill set to be a good back.”
 
Scott, who leads the team with 562 yards on the ground and five touchdowns, has seen his numbers explode from a season ago under the new offense.
 
“I think this a godsend for what we do,” Nix said. “This high-tempo spread attack that we do gives him a lot of one-on-one opportunities and puts him in a position to go make plays for us and doesn’t lock him into a box. He has taken advantage of it.”
 
Scott was injured early on during the season and was sidelined, which increased the competition for the starting running back job. However, Scott used it as motivation to work even harder. 
 
“He’s always been a tough guy, for being a smaller guy,” Nix said. “He’s always had kind of a chip on his shoulder, but I think the competition has helped. 
 
"You see Brandon Bolden and Enrique Davis leave, two guys who had been here for a while, and you may get the point, 'The job is going to be mine,' but you bring in a Randall Mackey, two brand-new freshmen, and all of a sudden he sees other guys who can do what he can do. I think that is helping as well to focus in and lock in on the task at hand.”
 
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