The University of Mississippi athletic department is happy to turn the page on 2017. For the most part, any success the Rebels had on the field was mired by a NCAA investigation into its football program.
It wasn’t all bad, mind you.
Following the firing of head coach Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss named assistant coach Matt Luke as interim head coach. Luke would be named the permanent head coach after guiding the Rebels to a surprising 6-6 finish, higlighted by an Egg Bowl victory over Mississippi State.
If the early signing period is any indication, Luke will thrive in Oxford. In a few short weeks, Luke and Ole Miss catapulted up the recruiting rankings from No. 60 to No. 36 according to the 247 Sports composite rankings.
There is no one more excited about the future than Ole Miss’ Director of Athletics Ross Bjork. In 2017 alone, Bjork has seen his deputy athletic director Stephen Ponder resign, multiple assistant football coaches leave, had to fire his head football coach, all while leading an athletic department through a long, arduous, acrimonious, very public NCAA investigation.
To Bjork’s credit, he never hid behind his desk, no matter the adversity. Just recently via Twitter, he told the Ole Miss fans how he understands their disappointment with the past year and is excited to be moving forward.
Let’s Go 2018. Happy New Year! pic.twitter.com/mq4Iv6SUQB
— Ross Bjork (@RossBjorkAD) January 2, 2018
Ole Miss has put in an appeal to the NCAA regarding an additional year bowl ban for its football program. The verdict should be rendered within the next six months.
As it stands now, Ole Miss has a chance to finish in the Top 25 nationally in recruiting classes if it closes strong.
With the NCAA investigation into the football program now over, Ole Miss now can look to the future. Finally, for Ole Miss fans, the future looks very bright.
(You can follow Brad Logan on Twitter @BradLoganCOTE)
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