For the first time in memory, three Illinois products ranked among the top 25 players in the nation in the class of 2013.
Based on position rather than individual ranking, they are wide receiver Laquon Treadwell of Crete-Monee, running back Ty Isaac of Joliet Catholic and offensive lineman Ethan Pocic of Lemont.
Meanwhile, nobody did a better recruiting job this season than Hugh Freeze, the second-year coach at the University of Mississippi. On a campus where the speed limit is 18 miles per hour in honor of the number worn by legendary quarterback Archie Manning, Freeze is rapidly making a name for himself.
In his first season, Freeze's Ole Miss team went 6-6 and went on to defeat Pittsburgh 38-17 in the BBVA Compass Bowl. It was the first time the Rebels had qualified for a bowl appearance since 2009. But that was only the beginning.
Freeze, 43, who was born in Oxford, Mississippi, has initiated an unprecedented recruiting coup that has Ole Miss ranked among the top 11 classes in the nation, an achievement that even fabled Ole Miss coach Johnny Vaught never conceived.
The first domino was Treadwell, the No. 6 player in the nation according to recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network.
On national signing day, Freeze added three more blue chippers--defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil and defensive back Antonio Conner, giving him four of the nation's Super 25 players.
Nkemdiche is universally regarded as the No. 1 player in the country. Tunsil ranks No. 7 and Conner, from nearby Batesville, Mississippi, and his state's top-rated prospect, ranks No. 24. Lemming said Kkemdiche, who is Ole Miss' most celebrated recruit since Eli Manning, reminds him of NFL Hall of Famer Reggie White.
Treadwell was lured to Ole Miss because one of his best friends, former Crete-Monee defensive back Anthony Sandifer, is on the squad. And Nkemdiche's brother Denzel is a sophomore linebacker who earned All-SEC recognition last season. Their mother also was influential in the decision, saying she wanted her sons to play together.
Aside from Treadwell, Nkemdiche, Tunsil and Connor, Ole Miss also signed seven 4-star players--offensive lineman Austin Golson, wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo, defensive back Nickolas Brassell, running backs Mark Dodson and Kailo Moore, quarterback Ryan Buchanan and defensive tackle Lavon Hooks.
It moved the Rebels into the top tier of nation's leading recruiting schools, with traditional SEC powers Alabama, Florida, LSU and Georgia, and ahead of perennial national powers Oklahoma, Texas, Florida State and Nebraska.
As usual, the SEC dominated the Super 25. Alabama and Ole Miss landed four while Georgia got two and LSU, Florida, Auburn and Arkansas got one each. USC had five players, Texas and Oregon two each and Notre Dame and Michigan one each.
In fact, the SEC signed 100 of the ESPN's top 300 prospects. The Big 10 was next with 44.
Where the Super 25 are going
(According to recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network)
Pos. Name, Hometown Ht. Wt. College
TE Hunter Henry, Little Rock, Ark. 6-6 235 Arkansas
WR Laquon Treadwell, Crete-Monee, Ill. 6-3 190 Ole Miss
L Laremy Tunsil, Lake City, Fla. 6-6 278 Ole Miss
L Darius James, Harker Heights, Texas 6-6 320 Texas
L Ethan Pocic, Lemont, Ill. 6-6 295 LSU
L Grant Hill, Huntsville, Ala. 6-5 315 Alabama
L Kent Perkins, Dallas, Texas 6-6 287 Texas
QB Max Browne, Sammamish, Wash. 6-5 205 USC
B Thomas Tyner, Beaverton, Ore. 6-0 205 Oregon
B Ty Isaac, Joliet, Ill., Catholic 6-2 220 USC
FL O.J. Howard, Prattville, Ala. 6-5 225 Alabama
L Robert Nkemdiche, Longville, Ga. 6-4 270 Ole Miss
L Henry Poggi, Baltimore, Md. 6-4 255 Michigan
L Montravius Adams, Vienna, Ga. 6-4 285 Auburn
L Ken Bigelow, Elkton, Md. 6-3 275 USC
LB Reuben Foster, Auburn, Ala. 6-2 242 Alabama
LB Su'a Cravens, Vista Murrieta, Ca. 6-1 205 USC
LB Jaylon Smith, Fort Wayne, Ind. 6-3 217 Notre Dame
B Vernon Hargreaves, Tampa, Fla. 5-11 186 Florida
B Antonio Conner, Batesville, Miss. 6-0 190 Ole Miss
B Leon McQuay, Seffner, Fla. 6-1 180 USC
B Tray Matthews, Newnan, Ga. 6-2 200 Georgia
P Bryce Ramsey, Camden City, Ga. 6-4 205 Georgia
K Matt Wogan, Porter Ridge, N.C. 6-2 195 Oregon
KR Robert Foster, Monaca Valley, Pa. 6-2 180 Alabama