February 02, 2011
Ole Miss was justifiably excited Wednesday morning when a faxed letter of intent arrived from one of its top targets, Floyd Raven, a four-star cornerback out of Reserve, La., ranked by Rivals as the No. 8 prospect in the state. Raven had been waffling between verbal commitments to Ole Miss, Michigan and Texas A&M for weeks, but with his signature in hand along with late victories for the services of in-state stars C.J. Johnson and Nick Brassell, the Rebels seemed to be closing in fast on a solid, top-20 class.
That ranking still held Wednesday afternoon, but the final list won't include Floyd Raven. Later in the day, his letter of intent was voided. Why? According to coach Houston Nutt, because the signature on the LOI faxed to Ole Miss on Wednesday morning was forged by Raven's mother. Yes, forged by his mother.
No, I am not making this up: Raven confirmed via a series of text messages to the (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger's Kyle Veazey that, yes, his mother signed the original letter of intent faxed to Ole Miss. "Yeah she did," Raven wrote. "I had no clue because I wasn't home, but I figured she thought she was doing the right thing she didn't kno [sic] she couldn't sign dat [sic] stuff and how serious it was."
Raven also said, “Long story short, my mom thought she was helping me out,” Raven said Wednesday evening. “I wasn't home and she sent it in. I never told her I had changed my mind to Texas A&M. I forgive her for it. It was an honest mistake.”
Nutt tried to explain the situation this afternoon in his own rambling, Nuttian way:
"His mom. Mom really wanted him here, David," UM coach Houston Nutt said, smiling, to Associated Press reporter David Brandt during today's news conference. "Mom wanted him here in the worst way. And so, (UM compliance director) David (Wells is) our expert on that, so the bottom line is when they told us that we said 'Hey, look, I want you to be here because you really want to be here.' And [Raven] was so torn. It's really hard, it's a hard hard decision, but when mom told me that, [I said] 'Hey, look, I want you to do what's in your heart.' And I think at the time he wanted to go elsewhere and look, I want them to want to be here." [...]
"Bottom line is, hey, we did get a signature, we did get a letter, but I want people that want to be here," Nutt said. "I want people that really truly want to be here. I'd rather just talk about the ones that we have."
Ole Miss president Pete Boone coined a new term for recruitniks: Instead of a "soft verbal," Raven gave the Rebels the nation's first "soft signature."
Raven's actual letter of intent went to Texas A&M, which added Raven's name on Wednesday afternoon. End of the day, kid's officially an Aggie – and if they play their cards right, maybe they can work ot a package deal with his mom, too. She's not big, but she is fearless over the middle. And the pregame meals will be awesome.