GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Rebel fans are eager for the 2016 season to kickoff and displayed their enthusiasm as the Ole Miss faithful packed the 3rd floor of the Gulfport Yacht Club.
Head coach Hugh Freeze was the main attraction. There was a long line waiting for Freeze to sign autographs and to take pictures.
Besides beating Alabama for the second straight season, the Magnolia Bowl trophy, the Sugar Bowl trophy and the Egg Bowl trophy were on display...thanks to wins over LSU, Oklahoma State and Mississippi State.
With quarterback Chad Kelly returning, Ole Miss is gunning for a national championship season.
Freeze said, "That was our goal when we came here. The thing that keeps you up at night, how do you keep it there? It's not easy in this conference for sure, but we're willing to try to build it with core values of where we are around the family atmosphere, I think is attractive to a lot of recruits.
We're in on the right guys. You've got to continue to recruit on that level, if you want to continue to be an elite team.
If Ole Miss can open with four straights facing Florida State in Orlando on September 5, followed by three home games in Oxford against Wofford, Alabama and Georgia, the Rebels would be ranked No. 1 in the nation.
Coach Freeze said No. 1 recruit quarterback Shea Patterson had a great spring and he hasn't decided if he'll red shirt the highly talented freshman. He said it's too early to make a decision on his playing status. Freeze did say he wouldn't be afraid to use the young man in games if he had to.
I asked Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork on the status of the NCAA investigation. He said Ole Miss officials can't wait to meet with the NCAA to give their side and he hopes it should be coming to an official end shortly, but couldn't give an official time table.