Five-star football recruit looks to Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze for inspiration

by Lee Warren, Newswriter |
Mississippi Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze and Oklahoma State Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy talk before the 2016 Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. | Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

OXFORD, Miss. (CHRISTIAN EXAMINER) — Greg Little was looking for more than a college football program that could help him become an even better football player and he believes he found that in head coach Hugh Freeze.

The five-star, 318-pound offensive lineman from Allen High School in Allen, Texas was a top three recruit in the 2016 recruiting class. He received offers from the likes of Alabama, LSU, Texas and others, but he chose Ole Miss because he believed Freeze could help him grow spiritually.

"He's a very religious guy," Little said about Freeze in an interview SB Nation. "He can help me get in touch with my religion. He's a very big believer in going to church and everything."

Little also said he liked the familial feel when Ole Miss recruited him. In that same vein, he said he believed Freeze would stick around as the coach at Ole Miss for a while and that he would be a father figure.

Freeze, 46, is known for living out his faith as a coach. A 2014 Washington Post article chronicled one particular optional Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting in the Manning Center in which several Ole Miss players carried Bibles into the room while "Jesus Paid It All" played over the auditorium speakers and Coach Freeze sang along.

"The most important thing we have is the platform we have to impact the lives of the people in our program," Freeze says in the article. "When my life comes to an end, how much does that scoreboard really matter?"

Freeze expanded on that thought in April 2015 while speaking at Pinelake Church in Mississippi. As he spoke about the importance of living as an intentional believer in Jesus Christ, he told the audience that Christians need to understand what their "it" is.

"Here it is, it's real simple," he said. "It's found in Matthew 5:13-14 when Jesus tells us, 'You are the salt of the earth ... You are the light of the world.' So your 'it' is real simple. Your 'it' is to impact and influence for the glory of God through the platform he's given you."

It's easy to see why Little would be attracted to Freeze's motivational style. Freeze routinely tweets statements about being honest with yourself, staying the course, being faithful and remaining positive.

Here are a few examples:

"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst 1Tim1:15"

"Reminder: God makes the broken whole. He looks at overlooked, the left out, the written off, the disqualified and says, I still choose you!"

"Wherever you are, whatever you did, it's just a page in your book, it's not the end. Redeem the time and finish Your story. #TakeAStand"

"I don't know what circumstances you find yourself in, but they don't have to define you. Even if you can't change them, defy them. #Attitude"

"God wants you to get where God wants you to go more than you want to get where God wants you to go. Take a deep breath & relax. Trust Him"

Ole Miss went 10-3 this season, including a dominating 48-20 win over Oklahoma State in the Sugar Bowl on January 1. It was the first appearance for the Rebels in the Sugar Bowl in 46 years.