USA TODAY Sports
Coveted Illinois wideout selects the Rebels over Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.
Five-star wide receiver prospect Laquon Treadwell committed to Ole Miss Thursday afternoon at a ceremony held in his suburban Chicago high school. Treadwell narrowed his long list of offers to three, and selected the Rebels over Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Treadwell disappeared behind the podium for a full 15 seconds before emerging with an Ole Miss hat on his head and holding an Ole Miss sweatshirt, punctuating his commitment with a "Hotty toddy."
"I chose Ole Miss because I wanted to be a part of something special. The program is on the rise with the new coaching staff and coach Freeze is doing a great job of developing young men. I believe in his vision. I want to be a part of returning Rebel Nation to glory," said Treadwell.
The surge on the recruiting trail for Ole Miss has been led by new coach Hugh Freeze, who has done an outstanding job of changing the culture around the program in only a single year, aided by some fantastic recruiting efforts from his assistant coaches.
Treadwell further acknowledged that Freeze and his staff played a big role in his decision.
"Coach Freeze is a great man -- he's like a father, role model already. He preaches greatness and coach McGriff is the funny guy of the crew, show you a fun time while you're down there. And coach Heard, I have a great relationship with him," said the elite prospect.
How long has Treadwell known he would commit to Ole Miss? He said that he knew at the Under Armour game in early January, but managed to keep it a secret, with the aid of his teammates down there, though who most who follow recruiting expected the Rebels would win out.
With the capability of playing inside or outside, Treadwell said that the Ole Miss coaches plan on playing him in both positions, noting that teams will have a difficult time dealing with both he and deep threat Donte Moncrief -- if teams want to double both of them, it will leave a significant numbers advantage in the box for the Rebel running game.
Crete Monee head coach Jerry Verde spoke of his star player in glowing terms.
"In the last four years, it's been my pleasure to watch a young man with many physical athletic gifts turn himself into one of the top football players in the country. Let me make one point clear -- his natural ability made him a blue-chip recruit, but it was his work ethic that separated him from even the elite players," said Verde.
Besides the fact that Treadwell can play any wide receiver position, he also starred as a defensive starter, registering six sacks and five forced fumbles as a sophomore. Not versatile enough? Verde noted that Treadwell even took on placekicking duties at one point.
Treadwell received five star ratings from both Rivals and Scout, and is listed among the nation's top 150 recruits at ESPN. With his pledge, he became the highest-rated prospect to ever commit to the Rebels, a title he will likely hold only until the top player in the country, Robert Nkemdiche, makes his expected decision in favor of Ole Miss.
"There are a lot of big names still out there and I think I just gave them another reason to like Ole Miss," Treadwell said, after seemingly nearly mentioning Nkemdiche.
Treadwell led his school, Crete-Monee, to the state football championship in November, catching 81 passes for 1,077 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior. In his last two years of high school football, Treadwell caught 156 passes for nearly 2,500 yards and 34 scores. His total career reception yards are enough to place him second in the all-time Illinois record book in that category.
Treadwell's offer sheet includes prestigious programs like Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State and USC. He briefly flirted with a commitment to Michigan, but backed away from the Wolverines over the winter in favor of the Rebels. His former high school teammate, Anthony Standifer, is a defensive back at Ole Miss, who Treadwell said "played a big role" in his decision.
Wescott Eberts contributed to this report.