December 15, 2011
QB commitment entertains Rebels' new coach
C.J. Beathard liked what he heard about and from Hugh Freeze when Ole Miss hired the Arkansas State coach earlier this month.
Still, the Franklin (Battle Ground Academy), Tenn., quarterback looked forward to meeting the Rebels' new boss face-to-face. Beathard got that chance earlier this week when Freeze spent the day in middle Tennessee visiting Beathard, running back I'Tavius Mathers, offensive lineman Andrew Jelks and others.
"It was good to put a face with the name," Beathard said. "I had heard great stuff about him. I really liked Coach Freeze. He said they really liked me. He said they were going to honor my commitment. He said they'd love to have me in their system and they want me to throw the ball around. That's the best thing I could hear."
Beathard committed to former Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt on May 2 and built a strong relationship with former Ole Miss offensive coordinator David Lee. In many ways, Beathard admitted late Wednesday, the change in Oxford could end up benefiting him as much as anyone.
"You can look at it like that," Beathard said. "Coach Freeze's offense throws the ball a lot. That's good to hear for a quarterback. That's encouraging to hear. That's for sure."
Beathard, a 6-foot-2, 180-pounder, said Freeze told him the Rebels plan to sign two quarterbacks in February. Ole Miss is in hot pursuit of Mississippi high school quarterbacks Anthony Alford and Jeremy Liggins.
It doesn't bother me," Beathard said. "I'm going to have to compete regardless. I'm open to compete. They told me the best quarterback is going to play. They said they're going to bring two quarterbacks in this year because they only have two quarterbacks on scholarship."
Beathard will take his official visit to Ole Miss on Jan. 20. In the meantime, he'll continue to recruit Mathers, a running back from nearby Murfreesboro who also committed to the Rebels in the fall.
"We met with (new Ole Miss assistant) Coach (Tom) Allen the other day," Beathard said. "Coach Freeze went to his house also. He seemed to really like Coach Freeze. The only thing he seemed to question is whether they're going to run the ball enough to fit his needs."
Beathard, who has built a strong relationship with Mathers over the past several months, said he believes Mathers will ultimately sign with Ole Miss.
"I think he will, but there's always that wild hair that he might want to go somewhere else," Beathard said.
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