Laquon Treadwell could have allowed the recruiting process to drag out right up until Wednesday, national signing day, like many other of the nation’s top recruits.
He could have let the plot thicken and kept interested parties guessing which college he might select.
The nation’s No. 5-ranked prospect, however, had a perfectly good reason for making his decision back on Jan. 17, amid local and national media: He wanted other top recruits who were considering Mississippi to join him.
Treadwell preferred the role of Pied Piper more than selfish recruit.
We don’t know for sure if Treadwell’s strategy was the reason lineman Robert Nkemdiche, the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect, and Laremy Tunsil, the nation’s top-ranked offensive tackle, announced Wednesday that they were joining MegaQuon at Ole Miss. But we do know that Ole Miss landed three of the nation’s top 15 prospects, recording a top 6 recruiting class by some analysts’ estimations.
And Treadwell, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound receiver who led Crete-Monee to the Class 6A state championship, made a significant contribution to the historic talent haul.
“I committed early to try and convince others to follow me to Ole Miss,” Treadwell said. “I felt comfortable and confident with my decision. I wanted others to know that and to follow me.”
And follow they did. Not just down the recruiting trail, but into the Twitterverse — by the thousands.
The number of people who follow Treadwell on Twitter — the micro blogging tool that allows people to share what they’re doing in real life, in real time, in 140 characters or less — cracked five digits after he announced for Ole Miss.
Most high school athletes boast a few hundred of followers. Since Jan. 17, Treadwell has gone from roughly 9,000 followers to more than 14,000 — or about 12,000 more than your’s truly (@disabato) and about 17.3 million less than Kim Kardashian (@KimKardashian).
His announcement was trending — a term for the most talked about topics on twitter — at a greater rate on the Ole Miss campus than the suds-and-grub specials at The Blind Pig.
Here’s what some Rebels fans had to say when Treadwell, whose twitter handle is @SuccessfulQuon, chose Ole Miss:
“SuccessfulQuon is the greatest receiver to ever play the game of football. Not Jerry Rice nor Randy Moss.” — @TrentonStorm.
“Ready to see @SuccessfulQuon kill it next year.” — @layne_on_me.
“Can’t wait till this guy helps bring a crystal ball back to our state.” — @Truly_Haley, referring to the national championship trophy.
“One day we’ll be watching the Super Bowl yelling, I went to school with that guy when SuccessfulQuon runs outta the locker room!” — @Dan_Mcelligott.
Mind-boggling stuff, eh?
So how does it feel to be adored before making your first collegiate pass reception?
“It’s cool, I enjoy it,” Treadwell said. “But you can’t take everything on there so serious.”
Know this: It’s not all sunshine and seashells on twitter. Followers can be mean-spirted, at times, belligerent.
MegaQuon took some shots for selecting Ole Miss, which prompted him to tweet this response recently: “People tweet at me like I’m not real. Come on man be respectful, I’ve never disrespected any other program or talked down, respect please!”
Respect and love is all Treadwell experienced when he visited Ole Miss on Jan. 26.
More rock star than receiver, more savior than prospect.
“It was kind of crazy,” Treadwell conceded. “Wherever we went, everyone was happy to see us. It’s just something Ole Miss has been waiting for, a big recruit coming to them. I appreciate all the buzz and all the support.
“I was going to have pressure on me no matter where I was going to go to college. Either way I have to work hard and be a leader.”
Treadwell appears to have his head on straight. He realizes that with the all the adulation comes expectations.
He knows college football is big business — 24/7.
And he knows nothing — not an SEC championship, national championship or a career in the NFL — is promised.
“I just felt real comfortable there when I visited,” said Treadwell, who recorded 1,450 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns in 2012. “That if I get hurt, they’ll be there for me. I have to be a student first.”