Mike Clark: Crete-Monee’s Laquon Treadwell makes Mississippi his college choice
By Mike Clark email@example.com January 17, 2013 6:44PM
Crete-Monee's Laquon Treadwell announces Thursday he will attend the University of Mississippi and play football. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 19, 2013 1:59PM
It turns out Laquon Treadwell is as fast and as smooth in front of a microphone as he is on the football field.
Treadwell hosted an auditorium full of family, friends and media Thursday at Crete-Monee High School for the announcement of his college choice.
Often these ceremonies feel like the Oscars, with lengthy detours before everyone gets the news they’re waiting for. But not this time.
After brief remarks by Crete-Monee offensive coordinator John Konecki and former coach Jerry Verde, Treadwell walked to the podium and said what most expected to hear: He’s a Rebel.
With former teammate Anthony Standifer already on campus at Mississippi, coach Hugh Freeze had the inside track on the nation’s consensus No. 1 receiver in the Class of 2013. The Rebels didn’t squander the opportunity.
“Anthony has always been one of my best friends,” Treadwell said. “Once he decided to go to Ole Miss, I was like, ‘Why Ole Miss?’ ”
But then he visited the campus and found out what hooked in Standifer, whose own recruiting trail was more circuitous.
“You never really know till you go visit a place,” Treadwell said. “I went up there to visit a couple times and I fell in love.
“Coach Freeze is doing something very special with the recruiting class he’s bringing in and what he preaches to his players: ‘Be great, do great things, start your own thing.’ ”
Treadwell followed that advice, keeping control of a process that trips up so many prep stars. Standifer originally picked Michigan before decommitting and winding up with the Rebels.
“I learned a lot from Anthony’s recruitment,” Treadwell said. “He wanted to wait, too ... but he thought he found the right school. Unfortunately something happened.”
Treadwell made a deliberate choice to take it slowly with his recruiting and it worked out well not only for him but for his teammates. College coaches watching film and coming to games to see the nation’s top receiver couldn’t help but notice the Class 6A state champion Warriors had plenty of other talented players.
Maybe the one who benefited most was Lance Lenoir, another senior receiver with major upside who wasn’t getting much attention before the season. But now he has scholarship offers from Eastern Michigan and Alabama-Birmingham, along with interest from other major colleges.
It was just another way Treadwell helped elevate Crete-Monee football.
His numbers, impressive as they are (second all-time in Illinois in receiving yards, fifth in receptions and receiving touchdowns), only tell part of the story.
Treadwell also was a leader off the field with a quiet but commanding presence. Like Verde, who resigned to return to his alma mater (Marian Catholic) as head coach, he’ll be greatly missed at Crete-Monee.
But he will be fun to watch in the nation’s best college football conference, where he figures to team with returnee Donte Moncrief to form a dynamic receiving tandem.
That’s Freeze’s plan, at least. “He wants me to come in and compete, take a spot instantly, move me around, take some pressure off Donte,” Treadwell said.
Getting Treadwell was a game-changer for Ole Miss, which doesn’t usually get five-star recruits. They could wind up with another — defensive end Robert Nkemdiche — before the dust settles on national signing day early next month.
Either way, the Rebels are happy to have Illinois’ No. 1 prospect. And he’s happy to soon be one of them.