Like the rest of Ole Miss' commitments at the time of Houston Nutt's departure from the University, St. John's (Ind.) Lake Central linebacker Ike Spearman was not sure what the future held for the Rebel's program.
Spearman took an unofficial visit to their Oxford campus over the summer, and was back for his official visit for the weekend of Nov. 17. He was already sold on the program and the school, but who would coach the team and where that individual saw Spearman fitting in remained a question.
Other teams began pursuing Spearman again in the midst of Ole Miss' coaching change, and he took an unofficial visit down to West Virginia for their final home game of the season. In the weeks since, though, Spearman has been able to talk with new Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze as well as their defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
"When we first started talking to West Virginia, I would say he was probably 60%-70% [with his commitment]," Spearman's father, Derek, said on Monday. "When they hired a new coach and the coach called, that bumped him back up to about 90%.
"He is just feeling comfortable with Ole Miss right now. He was able to receive confirmation from the coaches that they are honoring his scholarship. He is going to be a hybrid strong safety/linebacker type deal, and I know that's something that he likes."
Besides West Virginia, coaches from in-state programs Purdue and Indiana were also in conversations with Spearman. His father said they will continue to listen to coaches from other schools, but the commitment to Ole Miss is very strong at this point and he has been further encouraged by their plans for him.
"He likes the position because he will be able to perform," Derek Spearman said. "I think this will give him an opportunity to make more plays, and I think he plays well in space. I think he will have an opportunity to go there and make an impact."
The 6-1, 220-pound Spearman is coming off a senior season in which he earned first team all-state honors on defense.