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Recruit claims Ole Miss yanked his scholarship because of a knee injury

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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Since Hugh Freeze's arrival at Ole Miss, the Rebels have been blanketing the country with recruiting offers in an attempt to get the program back to a high level, but a claim from a recruit on Monday might give some of those offered pause.

According to an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Mario Mathis, a linebacking recruit, showed up to camp at Ole Miss this past weekend only to learn his scholarship had been revoked.

Mathis tore his ACL prior to his junior season, but because of a misdiagnosis, continued to play on it. He had surgery in January and committed to the Rebels on May 3. But according to Mathis' father, David Fletcher, the Ole Miss coaching staff "didn't like progress of his recovery from knee surgery," and waited until Mathis made the trek to campus before letting him know he was no longer welcome there.

"They told us he was no longer on the commitment list," Fletcher told the AJC. "They basically pulled the scholarship offer.

"It was frustrating for that to happen because we thought we were solid with Ole Miss. Mario loves the place, loves the coaches. We thought it was a done deal. It kind of surprised us. Well, it definitely surprised us. But I know college football is business."

Ole Miss knew about Mathis' knee and accepted his commitment with open arms. According to the paper, Freeze even gave Mathis a speech on "what commitment means" after he continued to be courted by Mississippi State, South Florida and South Alabama.

Mathis did a light workout for Ole Miss coaches this past weekend and Fletcher told the AJC the doctors were encouraged by his progress. However, the news was not positive enough to keep Mathis on Ole Miss' scholarship board.

"They said it was strictly because of the leg," Fletcher told the paper. "If he comes back 100 percent, then they said he would be back on the recruiting board.

"But the offer has been pulled. And if Ole Miss fills up with linebackers before they decide they would take him, then Mario is kind of out luck with them … it's just very frustrating for this to happen."

While this kind of thing isn't common, it does happen. And with Ole Miss sending out so many feelers, I'm sure they want to keep their options open for any other players that might be considering the school. With Mathis off the list, the Rebels have 19 commitments for the 2013 class and eight of those commitments came in July. The positive for schools that recruit against Ole Miss is that they can use this story for negative recruiting; though the Rebels' 2-10 record has been enough ammo for coaches like Mississippi State's Dan Mullen.

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