Athlon Sports ranks Hugh Freeze in top 20 of FBS football coaches
Ole Miss Head Football coach Hugh Freeze received some praise early Tuesday morning as Athlon Sports ranked him the 17th best FBS college football coach for 2016. Athlon Sports also ranked all of the Southeastern Conference coaches from top to bottom with Freeze taking the No. 2 slot, trailing only Nick Saban, who has led the Crimson Tide to three national championships in the past five years. Freeze has defeated Saban’s Alabama teams the last two years in a row.
Since Freeze has been the Rebels’ coach, he has climbed the ladder as one of the most respected coaches in all of college football by taking Ole Miss to new heights. In Freeze’s first season with the Rebels, the program finished 7-6. For the next three seasons, Ole Miss improved in the wins category, finishing 8-5, 9-4 and 10-3, respectively.
Before Freeze arrived in Oxford, he had already staked his claim to being a solid head coach. In two seasons at Lambuth, Freeze went 20-5 and the program finished as one of the top two teams in the Mountain West Conference in both seasons. He then led Arkansas State to a 10-2 record and a first place finish in the Sun Belt Conference.
However, Coach Freeze really made a name for himself in his last two seasons in Oxford with back-to-back trips to New Year’s Six Day Bowls, which were highlighted by a dominating 48-20 victory in last year’s Sugar Bowl against Big 12 member Oklahoma State.
The Rebels have had a top three finish in the Southeastern Conference Western Division in the past two seasons.
Freeze has also done well in recruiting, locking up four straight top 20 classes. His 2016 signing class is the best to date, ranked as high as No. 4 in the country by ESPN.com. Quarterback Shea Patterson (6-foot-2, 198-pounds), offensive lineman Greg Little (6-6, 326), wide receiver A.J. Brown (6-1, 225), and wide receiver Tre Nixon (6-1, 170) are some of the big targets Freeze and his staff were able to reel in.
Here is Athlon’s Top 25 FBS Football Coaches:
|1) Nick Saban||Alabama|
|2) Urban Meyer||Ohio State|
|3) Jim Harbaugh||Michigan|
|4) Mark Dantonio||Michigan State|
|5) Bob Stoops||Oklahoma|
|6) Gary Patterson||TCU|
|7) Jimbo Fisher||Florida State|
|8) David Shaw||Stanford|
|9) Dabo Swinney||Clemson|
|10) Brian Kelly||Notre Dame|
|11) Bill Snyder||Kansas State|
|12) Bobby Petrino||Louisville|
|13) Chris Peterson||Washington|
|14) Tom Herman||Houston|
|15) David Cutcliffe||Duke|
|16) Mark Richt||Miami|
|17) Hugh Freeze||Ole Miss|
|18) Bret Bielema||Arkansas|
|19) Kirk Ferentz||Iowa|
|20) Dan Mullen||Mississippi State|
|21) Mike Gundy||Oklahoma State|
|22) Kyle Whittingham||Utah|
|23) Butch Jones||Tennessee|
|24) Pat Fitzgerald||Northwestern|
|25) Les Miles||LSU|