Nutt Cracks On Auburn Recruit With 2011 Camaro

With the walls closing in on his coaching career at Ole Miss, Houston Nutt lashed out at Auburn Monday during a speech to the Monday Morning Quarterback Club in Birmingham.

Jermaine Whitehead: Camaro bought by parents after signing with Auburn

Using the defense of oversigning as a thinly-veiled pretense, Nutt seemed to intimate to the group that a late commitment to Auburn last February by a Mississippi high school recruit might indicate a lack of NCAA rules compliance.

From Jon Solomon of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS:

“Gene Chizik came in and stole my man Jermaine Whitehead,” Nutt said during a speech today at the Monday Morning Quarterback Club in Birmingham. “I asked Gene, ‘Now Gene, you didn’t even have a home visit.’ It must be nice to hold up that crystal ball. Hold up a crystal ball and get one of my best players.”

Whitehead, a Mississippi native whose development this season has been praised by Chizik, was a four-star recruit last winter. At one time, Whitehead said he was committed to Mississippi State.

Nutt, who is often criticized for oversigning, said Whitehead was committed to Ole Miss for a month-and-a-half up to the final week before Signing Day.

“He took my hand and said, ‘Coach Nutt, I’m coming to play for you,’” Nutt said. “I took his word!”

Whitehead visited Auburn for its Big Cat weekend in 2010, for its game against Georgia in the fall and several other times, as well, including the final weekend before Signing Day.

“Jermaine didn’t go on Friday. He left Saturday,” Nutt said. “We stayed in his house until 10 o’clock on Friday night, the last weekend before Signing Day saying, ‘I know he’s not going to Auburn now.’ Wake up, starting to get nervous because Monday and Tuesday before Signing Day and now he doesn’t call. He won’t answer my call.”

Finally, Whitehead told Nutt he was going to sign with Auburn. Nutt described the conversation this way:

“Jermaine: ‘Coach, I gotta go to Auburn.’”

“Why? Why would you go to Auburn? They already won their title. They already have the crystal ball. They don’t need you. I need you.”

“Coach, it’s business.”

“Business? You shook my hand, man! You said you were committed to me!”

“I know, Coach. I’m sorry.”

Does that sound like an argument for oversigning or an all-out assault on the integrity of the Auburn coaching staff?

And why did Nutt single out Whitehead?

Obviously losing a top in-state recruit was a bitter pill, but Nutt’s choice of words in describing Whitehead’s flip probably wasn’t a coincidence.

Four months after Whitehead signed with Auburn, he linked the below photo of a new Camaro in an entry to his @J2Whitehead Twitter account.

Jermaine Whitehead: Camaro bought by parents after signing with Auburn

Whitehead later Tweeted that his parents had bought him the vehicle as a graduation gift, though the current Auburn Tiger later deleted the photo of the car he had previously posted.

Whitehead has since been officially cited as the owner of a 2011 Camaro in a July 21, 2011, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, speeding ticket.

Jermaine Whitehead: Camaro bought by parents after signing with Auburn

In a Pickens County, Alabama, speeding ticket a year earlier, Whitehead was cited as the owner of a 1999 Dodge Stratus.

Is it unreasonable to think that Nutt may have dropped the “Coach, it’s business” business into his speech given what we now know about Whitehead’s Camaro?

CJ Johnson's New Truck

(Nutt questioning a recruit’s late, about-face? Please)

Hours” before Whitehead signed with Auburn on Feb. 2, 2011, Steve Robertson of reported:

“My final three are going to be Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Auburn,” said Jermaine. “I am not ready to say who it’s going to be, but I have made my decision and I feel good about everything.”

Whitehead will sign and fax his national letter of intent in the morning and then join teammates, fans and media at a 1 PM press conference at Amanda Elzy High School.

In the end there can only be one, but Jermaine has found some positive things about all of his finalists.

Ole Miss: - “Ole Miss has a great coaching staff and great facilities. A lot of my boys are going up there, so it would be good to be able to play with them.”

Mississippi State: - “Mississippi State is a young team with a lot of talent. I believe they just need the right spark to get them playing at the highest level. They have a bright future.”

Auburn: - “The coaches at Auburn carry a swagger and you can tell they get the most out of all of their players. They have a great campus and great facilities.”

If you take the time to watch Whitehead’s interviews and read his comments throughout his recruitment, he clearly had a handle on the process. His most familiar refrain leading up to his Auburn sign was trying to find immediate playing time while still being in a winning environment. As he’s already on the field for Auburn, which is off to a considerably better start than Ole Miss and Mississippi State, it appears he made the right call - for now.

CJ Johnson Range Rover

(Nutt recruit CJ Johnson after flipping to Ole Miss)

While it isn’t unreasonable to have questions about Whitehead’s Camaro, considering Nutt has failed to translate his own recent experience as beneficiary of a late, about-face by a top-rated recruit into not getting manhandled by Vandy, you can’t blame any recruit for eschewing Nutt’s peepa heppin bidness.

Brooks is on Facebook and Twitter.

Player’s Parents ‘Outrage’ Illuminates Nutt’s Deceit

In a piece in today’s JACKSON (MS) CLARION-LEDGER by Kyle Veazey, Houston Nutt drove any credibility he had left in how he recruits and subsequently treats players off a cliff.

Houston Nutt reneged on scholarship offer to Dan Bailey

(Ask Bailey’s cash-strapped parents about Nutt’s “PEEPA HEPPEN BIDNEZ“)

Nutt, who was recently seen joking about the practice of oversigning in an ESPN expose on the subject - which University of Florida President Berne Machen recently called “despicable” and immoral - defended himself to Veazey thusly:

I’ve never ran anyone off in my career unless they broke multiple team rules or just committed a serious crime or something like that. That’s never happened.”

Thursday I noted an earlier piece by Veazey that documented seven Ole Miss players who had vanished from the team’s roster since signing day despite those players retaining eligibility.

Of those seven players Nutt claimed in Sunday’s Clarion-Ledger article that all had left the program voluntarily, with the coach going so far as to encourage Veazey to contact the departed to confirm the coach’s claim.

But Veazey reported today that he was unable to reach six of the seven players for comment. The player Veazey did reach, Lekenwic Haynes, refused to talk about his departure from Ole Miss.

And as I noted two days ago, it doesn’t appear the roster purge is over. From his piece today, Veazey wrote:

Just who will be members of the 25 new enrollees this fall remains in flux. Six mid-year transfers are already in school, leaving 19 spots for 22 players that UM signed on Feb. 2. Two players - Madison, Ala., wide receiver Collins Moore and Itawamba AHS quarterback Maikhail Miller - are grayshirt candidates. Eligibility casualties could also make the numbers work.

If you happen to know any of the incoming Ole Miss players, I suggest you point them to this DALLAS MORNING NEWS story about Nutt reneging on a scholarship offer to Dan Bailey in 2006.

Dan Bailey, who recently concluded a stellar four-year career as Oklahoma State’s kicker, was offered a full athletic scholarship in 2006 by Ohio University out of high school. But instead of taking a full ride at Ohio U., Bailey opted to walk-on to Arkansas because then-Coach Nutt promised him an initial academic scholarship that would cover tuition.

Bad move.

The DMN takes it from there: Read more…

Ole Miss Kicks Off Secret Roster Deletion Season

Kyle Veazey of the JACKSON CLARION-LEDGER has among the most thankless, difficult jobs in college football beat writing. Veazey covers Ole Miss, which under head coach Houston Nutt has turned laundering scholarships into high art.

Houston Nutt's secret roster deletion season

(Exacly one of seven departing players were on 2010 final two-deep)

For all the recent hoo-hah about Nick Saban’s oversigning practices at Alabama, Nutt’s reputation for secretly running off underperforming scholarship players is equally notorious. In 2009, with 64 scholarship players already on the Ole Miss roser, Nutt signed 38 players to letters of intent. (Schools are only allowed to have 85 players on scholarship.)

So Nutt mostly ran off 17 then-current scholarship players from the 2008 team to make room for the new recruits.

Bruce Feldman Tweets about 2009 Ole Miss 38-signee recruiting class

Of those 2009 Ole Miss recruits, ESPN’s Bruce Feldman Tweeted this wek:

Two yrs ago, Houston Nutt announced a 38-man signing class: 17 of em are not currently on the roster: 9 were 4-stars or better, 3 remain.

That brings us to Veazey’s inevitable story this week about the ever-changing state of Nutt’s 2011 roster - and the sudden, somewhat mysterious deletions from it since signing day.

Excerpts of Veazey’s roster report below are in italic followed by my quickie analysis of the players who - in the majority of cases - were cast adrift by Ole Miss: Read more…

Video: Major New Talent Development At Ole Miss

Some in the state of Mississippi are no doubt wondering if last season’s 4-8 record exposed Houston Nutt for the coach he really is.

Houston Nutt on his new talent

So it’s no wonder that after Ole Miss’ release to the media yesterday detailing the Rebel 2011 recruiting class, Nutt wasn’t reluctant in claiming to the media that he’d cleaned up on recruiting.

To that end, here’s some breaking video of Nutt at his press conference in Oxford yesterday as he followed up with the gathered media on a major new talent development at Ole Miss. Read more…

Video: Houston Nutt’s Ole Mission Statement

Not many men can move a spirit like Nutt can.

A certified pre-owned 1991 Dodge Spirit, that is.

Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt: Smuggy Much?

At his weekly media presser in Oxford, Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt reminded us that adversity is a great teacher.

The Faces Of Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt

A teacher that reveals the true character of a coach in the midst of adversity.

Below are some excerpts and video of Nutt’s opening rant statement to the media on Monday.

“I just want to remind our fans of this, number one, it was just 50 years, it’s been 50 years since you won back-to-back January 1 games. 50! 50!
Read more…

Masoli Sent Ole Miss ‘Scholarship Release Papers’

Ron Higgins of the MEMPHIS COMMERCIAL APPEAL reports today that Ole Miss football coach has confirmed that former Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, “has sent Ole Miss his scholarship release papers from Oregon.

Masoli Dismissed From Oregon Football Team

(Masoli now shopping for a school after his dismissal)

In a text message, Nutt said that Masoli, “e-mailed us his release as I’m sure he did to several schools.

More from Nutt: “Checking all avenues. I anticipated Jevon’s (Snead) departure (leaving school after his junior season for this past April’s NFL draft), but (Raymond) Cotton’s really puts us in a bind. Will let you know if I get serious with Masoli.

Redshirt freshman Raymond Cotton, the Rebels’ backup quarterback, left the program last Saturday.

Masoli has graduated from Oregon but only played three years of football with the Ducks after being kicked off the team following his second arrest in six months. NCAA rules would allow for his transfer to Ole Miss with accompanying, immediate eligibility.

Though the SEC does have its own rule stating that all transfers must, “have at least two seasons of competition remaining.” Read more…

Speed Read: Overrated, Clap Clap, Clap Clap Clap

Because no battle is ever won, he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools. - William Faulker, “The Sound and the Fury”

That was written by Mississippi’s “greatest author,” who I also thought was kind of overrated. Which, it turns out, could easily apply on multiple levels to the Ole Miss football team. On a national stage and with a No. 4 ranking, the Rebels completely imploded, falling 16-10 at South Carolina last night. It may or may not be true that no battle is ever won, but for Ole Miss, this one was certainly lost.

Moe Brown of South Carolina

Mainly it was lost for two reasons: QB Jevan Snead had a miserable game, going 7 for 21 for 107 yards while being pressured by the Gamecocks’ defense all night. And Houston Nutt’s game plan reminded you of why he was barely a .500 coach with a backfield of Felix Jones and Darren McFadden at Arkansas. Nutt seemed unable to accept that the passing game just wasn’t working, and waited until the fourth quarter to turn to running back Dexter McLuster. He ran for 68 yards in the final quarter, but by then it was too little, too late. Read more…

Official Memphis Shirt: ‘Bust A Nutt” On Ole Miss?

Not much to say on this one, from our friends at the Univ. of Memphis marketing department and FOTP:

(Why do I think this just gave UK hoops fans an idea for U of L game?)

Except that it gives whole new meaning to Frosted Flakes.

Here’s My Insurance Card And A Knuckle Sandwich

I think we know by this point that nothing good ever happens in a college town at 2:30 a.m. The best that you’re going to find is some engineering student desperately cramming for a test the next morning, and more likely than not there’s nothing but high jinx, tomfoolery, insipidity and God knows what else going on.

Jamar Hornsby

So when a trouble magnet like former Florida football player Jamar Hornsby - kicked off the Gators after stealing a dead student’s credit card - is out at 2:30 a.m., all bets are definitely off. The STARKSVILLE DAILY NEWS reports that Hornsby’s blown the second chance offered to him by Ole Miss, as Houston Nutt booted him on Friday following his indictment on charges stemming from a March 1 fight at a McDonald’s parking lot.

Read more…