Houston Nutt Press Conference: NSD11
Feb. 2, 2011
Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt met with the media on Wednesday and discussed the Rebel's outstanding 2011 signing class.
"As soon as that last whistle blew we went to work. If you had told me last November that we were going to have four U.S. Army All-Americans, eight members of the Dandy Dozen, the top five players in Mississippi and that 12 Mississippi players said they wanted to be Ole Miss Rebels, I don't know if I would have believed you. It is our staff and winning back-to-back Cotton Bowls that put us over the top. I have to give credit to the Mississippi mothers. They have just been awesome. For example, Aaron Morris' mother recruited other mothers. Senquez Golson on the coast has been solid on Ole Miss for so long, along with Donte Moncrief, even being heavily recruited by other schools. The backbone of Mississippi stood strong. I wish the mothers could be here so you could see what I am talking about. The way they have raised their young men makes it a privilege to take the baton from them. It all goes back to the body of work. As bad as we felt last season, we went to work. I am really proud of our staff. They did it the right way and worked hard. I really feel like we dominated in a lot of areas. Most importantly, it always came back to the relationship and the belief that we have a good thing going. We have a good thing going here at Ole Miss. It starts with these players. I am really excited today with this new group that is coming in. I am very excited with our staff and where we are going. I am glad this day is over, too. There are a lot of coaches wives that are glad they are going to get to see their husbands again."
On recruiting to fill needs on the roster:
"First and foremost, there were two groups we concentrated on recruiting. We wanted our secondary to have taller, faster and stronger guys. That was a real need, and we met that need with safeties and corners. We got some outstanding playmakers. I am excited about that group. Also, this is probably one of the best groups of receivers to ever come out of Mississippi. Tobias Singleton, Nickolas Brassell and Donte Moncrief were three huge guys to get. Getting T.J. Worthy and Collins Moore really helped us. Then we needed to get linemen, like Justin Bell, Aaron Morris and Mitch Hall. We got some older guys, such as Uriah Grant, who are very strong and physical. We fought off Miami there at the end for Uriah, and I am very proud of that. C.J. Johnson is so athletic and so very special. Once he decommitted, Coach Tyrone Nix continued his great relationship with him. C.J. Johnson started recruiting our other guys. He asked other players to stay in Mississippi and win a championship here. When it came from his mouth, a lot of guys started listening. That is what makes this group special. A lot of coaches feel [Johnson] was the best at the San Antonio All-Star game. They said he was the best they had seen at this stage. If you look at him, he is an opposing figure at 6-foot-4. He can fly on the field and arrives in a bad mood. He is fun to watch and is an exciting guy. He became one of our leaders and a true ambassador for our recruiting. We felt like we met our needs from the back end. We got linebackers and receivers which is what we really needed."
On scholarship numbers:
"We ended up with 22 signees. That is pretty good. Those things usually work themselves out. I have never had a mother come up to me and say I was not truthful with them. We always lay things out in the recruting process where they have time to weigh their options. The numbers will work out fine. I am not concerned about that right now. We recruited the right ones. We looked at our needs and recruited accordingly."
On Floyd Raven:
"He was here very early on a visit and fell in love with Ole Miss. The bottom line is that he wanted to be here and wanted to come, but it is a hard decision to make for an 18-year-old. Everybody is very good at what they do as far as selling their university and program. We got a signature, but I want people who really want to be here. His mom really wanted him here in the worst way. Let's leave it at that. I am excited about the ones that said today that they wanted to be an Ole Miss Rebel."
On C.J. Johnson's commitment:
"I was so excited when Tyrone Nix called me around the time of the Army All-American Game in San Antonio and said C.J. was thinking of de-committing. Within five days of that decision, C.J. Johnson called me. I have never been more excited about a player. I had been hearing all of what happened in San Antonio against the best of the best. When I knew there was a genuine interest in him being here, I was very excited. When he got here with his mother, he fell in love with Ole Miss. He loved the FedEx Center and the academic system we have in place here. He knows he can take care of the athletic part of it. From there, he started recruiting for us. It was awesome for him to be leading the charge for us with Tobias Singleton, Aaron Morris, Donte Moncrief and Senquez Golson. They wanted to come here and win an SEC Championship. It is exciting to get these guys because even though we did not do that well on the field, they were committed to coming here. We got them all."
On the future of the defensive secondary:
"Senquez Golson is a great athlete and wants to get a degree at the University of Mississippi. I am excited about the way Wesley Pendelton and Charles Sawyer are working right now. Nickolas Brassell is another guy we are excited about bringing in and not being afraid to send in on third-and-eight to stop people. He is that kind of athlete. I love it when a guy can play both sides of the ball. Brassell is one of those guys who can go both ways for us and make plays. We know he is a great wide-out. He can also play corner, safety or in the nickel package. A lot of players we got have two-way ability. Tobias Singleton can take a kickoff or punt return back for us. That is what we are excited about. Athletes that have 4.4-4.3 speed that can play both ways are exciting."
On Nickolas Brassell:
"I know that his mother did a great job of raising him. He was here on campus a lot at our senior camps. He was here a lot in the last six weeks unofficially. He always had a smile on his face and wanted to be around us. He reminds me of Darren McFadden in the way he loves football. He is the first one on the field and the last one to leave. He loves football and playing the game more than anything. What was difficult was that he was highly recruited by places such as Alabama. Up until last night, he could have gone there. Everyone wanted his services. We feel good that he knew the people in front of him who came from South Panola - Peria Jerry, John Jerry, Jamarca Sanford, Nicholas Parker - were treated well here. The relationships with our staff are what they believe in. We believe in Nick and he believes in us. His mother knows that we are going to stay very hands on with him and that he is going to have to do everything the right way. She felt like he could become a man here in Oxford with the right people around him. That is really what won it over for us."
On mothers in the recruiting process:
"The mother is a special part of the recruiting process. They take on many roles, from raising children, to working and nurturing. Many of them play father roles as well. It is really hard. I have an awesome respect for what mothers do. The mothers of Mississippi are the MVPs. Building a relationship with them allows them to believe in us. Even when we had our worst season, they know what is getting ready to happen. They have seen the wins and the trophies and know what we can get done. They want to know who is going to take care of their son and truly watch him. Recruiting talk is really easy, but it comes down to your body of work. We have had guys like Michael Wallace who is playing in the Super Bowl this weekend who still text us every other week and say 'thank you'. That is what is important. I won't apologize for mentioning the mothers regularly."
On the success of in-state recruiting:
"I want to go back to our body of work. We have proven through our two Cotton Bowl victories that we can get it done. When recruits get on campus and get with our current players, our guys act as the best ambassadors. I see them for periods of time, but I only have so much to do with it. When they get with the players with no coaches around, that is when you get them. You can lose a player in the first two minutes of a conversation with another athlete. That does not happen with our team. If you go back to our staff, they trust them and have great relationships. We had a lot of time to recruit because we did not play in a bowl game. We worked hard during this time. We were not going to lie down. Our guys did an awesome job."
On the impact of the mid-year transfers:
"Nathan Stanley and Randal Mackey have done a good job with working out. These two guys are physical and have athleticism to throw and run. Barry Brunetti is more of an athlete that can do both of those things. Zack [Stoudt] is a strong-armed guy who took his team to the championship. I have not had time to watch them at length. Listening to Coach [Don] Decker talk about them, he is very impressed. Gilbert Pena is a strong guy at 6-foot-4, 330 pounds. He probably needs to lose a little weight, but I love how massive and wide his shoulders are. Wesley Pendleton ran one of the fastest ten and 20-yard dash times. He is quick as lightning. Ivan Nicholas is strong and fast. I am excited about him."
On the impact of new coaches:
"Gunter Brewer got here the quickest of the three coaches and was outstanding. He was recruiting Donte Moncrief already. There were several coaches talking about Gunter all over the state. They know he is an awesome recruiter. He had a lot to do with Nickolas Brassell's signing. He was a great influence. Gunter did most of the recruiting because David Lee got here too late."
On Woodrow Hamilton:
"He is naturally strong and can dominate games. He is a big, much needed body. I cannot wait for Coach [Terry] Price to get ahold of him. He is going to be a special guy."
On the wide receiver class:
"This group ran some unbelievably fast times. All three of them are so explosive. Tobias Singleton is physical like a sophomore in college. He can take a kick return or a punt return. He turns six yards into 16 yards. Nick Brassell will fit in well in the Wild Rebel. We can see him taking a snap and running the things that Michael Wallace ran. That is exciting. Donte Moncrief might be the tallest wide receiver that has the total package. People have him covered and he still manages to catch the ball. He is physical and I love that combination. This is the most explosive group that we have ever had. We have to get the ball to them. We want to have a balanced offense where we can run and throw. I love to throw to our guys and we catch it."
On Jamal Mosley and Donte Moncreif:
"I really appreciate Jamal Mosley for personally recruiting Nick [Brassell] from South Panola. That is a tight end that we have not had in a long time. I don't want him to miss out on the exposure he deserves. He is 6-foot-4, 250 pounds and runs so lightly on his feet. He has great hands and is a physical blocker. Donte Monrief has been solid. It is hard when other schools come calling after you have already committed as a player. I appreciate that he stood fast in his decision."
On the tight-knit recruiting class:
"You never know until signing day what will happen. There were a lot of questions asked of us about our season last year and they were hard to answer. On the positive side, I feel like the more we were able to get in touch with the families of these players and talk about trust and commitment, they knew where they wanted to go. They wanted to stay at home in Mississippi and win a championship. It is hard to explain, but it was the togetherness of this group that made this happen. They wanted to be here. They were here many times when this place was packed on gameday and wanted to continue packing it out on gameday. They are excited about a big crowd for BYU in the fall. I hope it is a very hot day. I am excited about this group."
On Uriah Grant:
"He is a mature guy from Miami. He fell in love with Oxford and Ole Miss. When you come from Miami to Oxford it is quite a change. They either really like it, or they do not. He loved it. His mother is a sweet lady who had a great spirit about her during this process. She knew her son wanted to be here in Oxford, Mississippi. She knew that it was a safe place where he could get a great education. Miami came on strong with their new staff trying to talk to him, but he did not budge."
On Mitch Hall:
"He is another one who stood in there every day from a rival state and said he wanted to be an Ole Miss Rebel."
On veteran competition with the new class:
"We want our new guys to come get ready to start. The guys that are here know that there is extreme competition that is getting ready to take place. We have a little older mix with this group. They will physically be a ahead of a guy just coming out of high school. It will be a competition, there is no doubt about it."
On the signing class needs:
"The only thing we did not sign is a tailback. We will fix that next year. It goes back to looking at receivers and defensive backs. We did an awesome job with that. C.J. Johnson and the big defensive linemen we signed will help tremendously. It is hard to stop talking about this class because they are so good."
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