When sophomore wide receiver Laquon Treadwell and sophomore offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil signed with Ole Miss and became part of the famed 2013 recruiting class, they were making a huge leap of faith. Both five-star prospects, they could’ve gone to a more established program but instead chose to join the rebuilding Rebels, who were entering their second year under new head coach Hugh Freeze and coming off a surprising 7-6 season.
Now, with Treadwell and Tunsil midway through their sophomore season, the team is 6-0 and coming off wins against Alabama and Texas A&M in the last two weeks. Tunsil said this season has helped validate his decision to attend Ole Miss.
“I feel like it has, being number three in the nation,” Tunsil said. “I told everybody we were going to do something special.”
While Tunsil did expect the team to see this improvement, he did not expect it in his sophomore season.
“I actually didn’t think it would happen this fast,” Tunsil said. “I thought it would happen my junior year.”
Treadwell also felt the importance of the team’s improvement and impressive start to the season.
“It felt great. The vision of changing the program with some players that are underrated and looking past when it comes to rankings and all that, it felt good,” Treadwell said. “I know that the seniors here feel very great about the couple wins.”
In agreement with Treadwell’s statement, senior cornerback Senquez Golson was very pleased with the team’s victories over Alabama and Texas A&M. He was also surprised at how quickly the team reached a high level.
“I knew we could be good, but I don’t think I had it in my mind that we could be this good at this point,” Golson said. “But we still have a long way to go if we want to continue to do what we do, and we just have to keep playing well.”
With these two huge wins behind him, Treadwell talked about the upcoming matchup with Tennessee.
“Their defense is very physical. They’re young, but they play hard, and it’s kind of similar to how we play,” Treadwell said. “They probably just have a couple young players on the team that are still learning the tempo, the SEC, stuff like that but other than that they’re a great defense.”
Meanwhile, Golson discussed what he had seen from the offensive players he would cover during the game.
“The receivers are physical, probably the most physical receivers we’ll play all year, big, and they make plays,” Golson said.
Golson broke down the challenges that bigger wide receivers present for the Rebel secondary.
“It’s harder to put your hands on them. With the smaller corners that we have, they try to body us,” Golson said. “I just have to keep watching film and get the tendencies and give it my best shot.”
Golson also said it would be important to not slow down at the end of the game.
“We did not finish against Texas A&M. I think that’s what we’re probably going to put a big emphasis on for the rest of the season – finishing,” Golson said. “It was a great thing that we won, but I think after the game as a defense we kind of talked and were like ‘this is not acceptable if you want to win big.’”