Slow Motion Whirlwind

Jeremiah Masoli

It happened so fast in real time, but seemed like forever while living it. But in the end, QB Jeremiah Masoli will join the Ole Miss football team this week. Read about it inside.

The past week in the annals of Ole Miss football could be made into a movie.

All the ingedients of a great story were present.

Intrigue, watching a relationship develop, pitfalls that had to be overcome and, most importantly, a story of second chances.

Through the efforts of many - principally Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt, and the trust of a family, former Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli will play his final year of collegiate football for Ole Miss.

His decision was announded by SI.com Sunday afternoon, ending a week of suspense on what the ultra-talented signal-caller would be allowed to do, and then, what he would ultimately decide to do.

Jeremiah Masoli>

Recapping, it was a real time whirlwind that seemed to move in slow motion at times. The ups and downs of the process made the week both exhilerating and exhausting, uplifting and demoralizing, sometimes within minutes.

When Raymond Cotton opted to leave Ole Miss, creating a need for immediate help at QB for the rapidly approaching season, Nutt - short on options - went to work.

Nutt had already had contact with Masoli, but at that time he felt his QB situation was set. Cotton's decision almost left him holding the proverbial bag, onion skin thin at the most important position on any team. Then he thought about Jeremiah.

Nutt started to explore the possibilities and the situation with Masoli. Lines of communication were re-opened and the investigation of what it would take to get him to Ole Miss began in earnest.

At first, to make it happen so quickly seemed like a longshot. Lots to do and little time to do it in. But persistance pays.

Nutt dug in. Masoli and his family listened.

First, Nutt had to make team decisions. Would this disrupt his team chemistry, developing since last January? The current players, including current number one QB Nathan Stanley, solved that for him, giving him their blessing and encouragement to pursue the lightning bolt from San Francisco.

Then, he had to discuss things with the administrative powers that be, those charged with guarding the integrity and well-being of the university as a whole.

Nutt was convinced, after doing his own background work on Jeremiah, that the young man deserved another chance. He convinced the administration that Masoli was no risk and worthy of our attention and inclusion.

Boldly, Chancellor Dan Jones and AD Pete Boone gave their blessing, but other hurdles had to be cleared.

Masoli had to get accepted into graduate school and had to be cleared for traveling via his probation terms.

Jeremiah Masoli>

Jeremiah had taken the GRE recently and had made an above average grade, but still there is a process to getting into grad school that had to be fast-tracked. Everyone obliged.

With those things cleared up in less than 72 hours, Masoli hopped a red eye and arrived in Oxford Friday morning at 9:30.

In the meantime, public opinion also changed substantially when Sports Illustrated published a very favorable story on Jeremiah's past. While a Spirit poll earlier in the week had already shown a 90 percent approval rating by Ole Miss fans, after the SI article, that climbed to even higher levels.

Ole Miss had Masoli fever, but would it happen?

He was put through the wringer Friday, meeting and being sized up by everyone involved. He passed all tests, with flying colors.

Even though there was a proposal, the marriage was not made while Jeremiah was in Oxford. He had promised his parents he would not make any more life decisions without talking to them face-to-face.

Nutt took Jeremiah back to the Memphis airport Sunday morning and both agreed they needed each other, for obvious reasons.

Nutt needed another QB desperately and Masoli needed a chance to prove his mettle.

Around 3 p.m. Sunday, it was official. SI.com broke the story that Masoli would indeed be an Ole Miss Rebel.

After elation by everyone involved, the calm returned to Ole Miss.

The calm before the storm known as the college football season.

Only this storm will now include one Jeremiah Masoli in Red & Blue.

A movie? It would be a good one, but the ending will not be written until the end of the season.

Let's get it on.

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