Arkansas coach Bret Bielema took an apparent shot at Florida's recruiting during an appearance on ESPN2 on National Signing Day, saying the Gators were "kinda like the new Ole Miss," and "doing things that kinda shocks you a little bit."
"Florida, kinda the new Ole Miss, they're doing some things in recruiting that just kinda shocks you a little bit."
It's anyone's guess what "things" Bielema is referring to, or how one is actually supposed to transcribe the face Bielema makes just before saying "just kinda shocks you," but the important context is threefold:
- Mississippi, which has been dogged by whispers about the legitimacy of its recruiting under Hugh Freeze, is now facing an NCAA investigation of alleged violations — which largely didn't happen under Freeze, but still feed a narrative of the Rebels operating in the shadows.
- Florida nabbed a commitment from Arkansas target Tyrie Cleveland early Wednesday.
- Florida is also trying to make a late push to flip Arkansas commit Joseph Putu, a JUCO cornerback, as Gator Country's Andrew Spivey and others have hinted.
Whether Bielema was heaping legitimate praise or throwing shade, you can bet this incident will be referenced this fall, when Florida visits Arkansas on November 5.
Update: Freeze told a Sports Illustrated Signing Day show that Bielema's comments were apparently supposed to be a compliment to Mississippi.
Hugh Freeze just told SI’s Signing Day show that Bret Bielema called him and said his earlier comments were meant to compliment Ole Miss.— Zac Ellis (@ZacEllis) February 3, 2016