Elijah Daniel became the third five-star recruit to commit to Ole Miss when he announced his decision on Sunday evening, according to 247sports.com. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound defensive end also had offers on the table from the likes of Arizona, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas A&M and West Virginia.
The Avon, Indiana native reportedly made the decision shortly after his official visit to Arizona State.
“I felt like it was the right place for me,” Daniel said. “I wanted to play in the SEC. I feel they’re on the rise and I see big things for them in the future. I want to be a part of that.”
Freeze recently completed a fantastic turnaround in just his first season at the helm of the Rebels. After coach Houston Nutt led Ole Miss to a 2-10 embarrassment of a year in 2011, Freeze was not expected to do much of anything in the big, bad SEC. However, he led the Rebels to a regular season finale victory over Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl in order to finish with six wins and gain bowl eligibility. Ole Miss then ran roughshod on Pitt, 38-17, in the BBVA Compass Bowl.
Thus, young men such as Daniel want to be a part of the up-and-coming program.
“I wanted to make the class stronger,” Daniel said. “I had a connection with the head coach and the rest of the coaching staff. Just everything.”
Daniel collected 85 tackles and 16 tackles for a loss as a senior, thus earning a No. 3 ranking at his position and No. 27-overall ranking in the entire nation. His coach, Mark Bless, obviously believes his former superstar player has the ability and the draft to succeed at the next level.
“Obviously he has the physical tools to step in and play immediately,” Avon High head coach Mark Bless said. “His strength, height and weight attributes to him being able to play as a true freshman. Speed and quickness are two of his biggest assets. Coming off the football, that is one of the things we noticed immediately is his take off, off the ball. When he’s in a three-point stance and pops off the ball, that is something that has caught the eye of the college coaches.
“One thing that we noticed is that he tried to improve his knowledge of the game more than anything,” Bless said. “Besides his physical stature, this year he tried to improve in the area of football knowledge.”
Daniel obviously has all the physical tools to succeed, and with his studies of the game he should be able to see the field, at least in some regard, in his first year on campus. Further, if he really has been studying, he’ll understand that his new school of choice is in hot pursuit of the nation’s No. 1-overall recruit, Robert Nkemdiche.
If Daniel and the rest of the recruits can help coach Freeze make a pitch to Nkemdiche, there may be no stopping these Rebels from runnin’ wild over the next few years.