After an exhaustive year, including a number of official and unofficial visits and relentless phone calls from college coaches in pursuit of his signature, Treadwell finally made his commitment.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Treadwell announced for Ole Miss, choosing the Rebels over Oklahoma State and Oklahoma during a press conference at his school late Thursday afternoon.
“I chose Ole Miss because I wanted to be a part of something special,” he said at the press conference. “I believe in (Ole Miss head) coach (Hugh) Freeze's vision.
“It was a very hard decision. I knew Ole Miss was the best school for me. They want to move me around. Coach Freeze is a great man. He preaches greatness. I got a great relationship with them.”
Freeze led Ole Miss to a 7-6 record in his first season as head coach, including a blowout win over Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl earlier this month.
Treadwell, who had participated in the Under Armour All-America game in Orlando, Fla., a day prior, flew in for the game, played at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala.
“It was a great experience,” he said. “Ole Miss is showing everybody they’re a team you’ll have to contend against for the next few years. They took it to Pittsburgh and kept getting better and better throughout the year.”
The success of Freeze’s up-tempo offense was the primary reason for the Rebels’ drastic turnaround from 2011-12, when they finished 2-10 overall and 0-8 in Southeastern Conference games in the final year of Houston Nutt.
Ole Miss was fifth in the conference in total offense in 2012-13, averaging 423.8 yards per game and 31.5 points per game. Leading receiver Donte Moncrief, now a junior, was sixth in the SEC in receiving, finishing with 976 yards and 10 touchdowns, good for third.
“They’ll do something special at Ole Miss,” Treadwell said in an interview with Chuck Rounsaville of the Ole Miss Spirit in December.
Treadwell should challenge for playing time the minute he steps on campus. He’s rated the No. 5 receiver in the country by Scout.com, after totaling 81 receptions for 1,424 yards and 16 touchdowns in leading Crete-Monee High School in Crete, Ill., to a state championship.
Treadwell had six catches for 85 yards and a touchdown, and also rushed for 93 yards and another score, in his final game.
“I like how any play they call has a pass option to it,” he said of Ole Miss’ offense. “They like to throw the ball. I like the wide receiver screens, and I like the fact that there are plenty of opportunities for receivers to make plays.”
Treadwell joins his former high school teammate, Anthony Standifer, at Ole Miss. Standifer, a cornerback, is entering his sophomore season. Standfier signed with Ole Miss in the recruiting class of 2012.
Standifer played sparingly as a true freshman. He was slowed by a minor injury in the final month of the season.
“We played together in high school. We’re very close, good friends. Like brothers,” Treadwell said of Standifer. “When I was a junior and he was a senior, we’d have some good battles in practice. I think I’m up one in that deal, but he’s real good.”
Treadwell had no shortage of interest from prospective schools. Along with his three finalists, he held offers from, among others, Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State.
But it was Ole Miss that was able to land him, a “big receiver who uses his body well to shield defenders … and once he gets unwound, he’s hard to catch in the open field,” according to Scott Kennedy, director of scouting for Scout.com.
“He’s a physical guy. He’s willing to block, willing to hit. Great ball skills,” said Allen Trieu, Midwest football recruiting manager for Scout.com, who has covered Treadwell for years.
“He’ll go up and use his size to get the ball. He’s not a 4.4, 4.3 speed guy, but he’s really good in the open field. He’s kind of got that knack for finding lanes and making guys miss. He’s a load to bring down. While he’s not a burner, he’s able to create separation and make separation after the catch. Laquon Treadwell has it all.”