December 7, 2011

Mays hoping Freeze makes Ole Miss offer

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Before he died last Christmas Eve after losing his battle with throat cancer, Tarble Mays told his son he hoped he would get the opportunity to play college football at Ole Miss.

Before his phone rang Monday night, Todd Mays didn't believe he was going to have a chance to fulfill his father's wish. Houston Nutt and Co. never showed much interest in the Olive Branch, Miss., quarterback/athlete.

"It did bother me, but I can't do anything about it," Mays said. "You just have to keep getting better."

Nutt was fired in early November. His replacement, former Arkansas State coach Hugh Freeze, was hired on Monday. Later that day, the new Ole Miss staff contacted Mays, and for the first time, the soft-spoken Mays has hope.

Arkansas State offered Mays earlier in the fall. While an Ole Miss offer wasn't extended Monday, Mays believes it's a distinct possibility.

What would an offer mean?

"It would mean a lot, you know," Mays said, pausing for a moment to collect himself shortly after completing a practice at Huntington College in Montgomery as he prepared for Saturday's Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic. "To do that for my dad and for my grandma as well, it would mean a lot to me and the family."

Mays' grandmother, Margie Neely, died shortly after her grandson scored four touchdowns in Olive Branch's state championship win over Petal last weekend.

Mays said the Rebels are talking to him about playing slot receiver or running back.

"They're interested in me," Mays said. "If I go there, I'll play whatever position they put me at and do whatever. I'm trying to get in. Hopefully they offer."

Southern Mississippi has offered Mays the opportunity to play wide receiver. Arkansas State was recruiting the 6-foot-1, 190-pounder as a quarterback.

"They're good people," Mays said of the former Red Wolves' staff. "They made me feel comfortable. They're interested in me. That's what I like to hear.

"Coach Freeze is a good person. His dad was my middle school principal. My dad knew his dad as well."

Mays also has offers from Louisiana-Lafayette and Memphis.

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