MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Not long after Hugh Freeze, who had been at Arkansas State, was named head coach of Ole Miss this week, he reached out to one of Mississippi's top uncommitted prospects, four-star inside linebacker Richie Brown of Long Beach.
"He called me right when he got hired and said, 'We've got to get you.' I didn't think I had a great chance [as head coach] at Arkansas State.'" Brown said. "He told me last night he was going to be calling me as much as he can."
The hiring of Freeze by the Rebels has seemingly helped get Ole Miss back into the picture. While at Arkansas State, Freeze also recruited Brown, and the player has grown fond of him.
"He's a great coach and I have a lot of respect for him," Brown said. "He had a lot to do with [Brown considering Arkansas State]. He built that program up from the ground. He's a great coach and he believes in everything I believe in. He believes in God first, family second, then team. That's how they run the program."
In recent weeks, the Rebels had slipped in the hunt for Brown.
"They were having a bad season," Brown said. "I guess they weren't really keeping in touch with me as much as they had been. I don't know what it was, but they started slowly calling me again."
Southern Miss, another program high on Brown's list, also is going through a coaching change. Today, North Carolina announced that former Golden Eagles coach Larry Fedora was headed to Chapel Hill. For now, that move won't hurt Southern Miss in its courting of Brown.
"It's a good school," Brown said. "Wherever you go, there's a possibility the coach might not be there all four years. I'm going to let things settle a little bit, then start to narrow it down."
LSU and Mississippi State are two other programs Brown likes a lot. The Bulldogs, whom Brown said have been "pretty steady" with their recruitment of him, will get one of the two official visits Brown has set up for January. Southern Miss has the other.
"The others are in the making," he said. "I'm probably going to take a couple visits that are far away just to see them because I've never been there."