2008 was a year of transition for Houston Nutt. FOIA'd out of Fayetteville, he inherited an Ole Miss team that had gone 3-9 and failed to win a conference game. He had to consider whether it was worth finding an alterations shop that could replace all the Arkansas bands on his Panama hats with Ole Miss logos or just buy new ones. Most importantly, he had to adjust to a new recruiting environment, and that meant taking unorthodox approaches.
You know, like accidentally recruiting high school band members.
Because I'm an important and brave journalist, I had some follow up questions for Wes.
So you walk into the Rib Cage (I'm assuming by yourself?) and Houston Nutt finds you. What's he say and do you have any room to get a word in edgewise?
I was actually with my mom (might have made it more like I was a croot) as my dad was parking the car. I was actually in town for an honors scholarship interview. A big ice storm hit during this big recruiting weekend, so it might have kept some away. Nutt walks in, slaps me on the shoulder and says "How ya doin' buddy?!" This is when he tells the staffer to find us a table.
How long does it take for someone to figure out that you're not a recruit?
I finally warmed up enough to take off my jacket. On the back of my shirt in bold letters is my high school marching band's name. The staffer who was checking on us sees that, and we don't hear from anyone the rest of the night.
Did you consider trying to fake like you were, and how long do you think you could have kept up that ruse?
Later that night I realized that I should've kept going. Lord knows a football scholarship would've been more than what I got from the academic scholarship. I could've probably gotten to camp. I love football, but I was/am a big softy and never played.
Do you think the staffer ever told Houston Nutt about his mistake?
He finally made some sort of gesture to let the staff know.
In your estimation, how many other high school seniors who don't play football have been inadvertently recruited by Houston Nutt?
I'm guessing at least 5 per class and definitely at least 20 in the monstrous 35 person or whatever it was class.
(Special thanks to Bunkie Perkins and Steven Godfrey for alerting us to this important story; they're probably out right now delivering a pontoon boat that has hidden compartments stuffed with emeralds. Recruits don't come cheap these days.)