5 candidates to replace Hugh Freeze at Ole Miss

Photo of 5 candidates to replace Hugh Freeze at Ole Miss

The foundation of college football was shaken Thursday when Ole Miss announced the resignation of Hugh Freeze, freeing up a significant head coaching position just six weeks before the 2017 season gets underway.

With such a short amount of time until opening weekend, it's likely that interim head coach Matt Luke will call the shots for the bulk of the regular season. Ole Miss will have a big decision to make moving forward though, and speculation is sure to run rampant with ideas for Freeze's eventual replacement.

With that being said, here are five names that could find themselves in talks to become the next leader of the Rebels.

Les Miles - Former LSU head coach

It would be foolish to think that a Power-5 coaching vacancy, let alone an SEC coaching vacancy, could come and go and not have Les Miles' name linked to it.

Miles created a legacy as one of the top coaches in conference history during his 12 years at LSU, but has largely been mum in relation to subsequent job openings. As far as coaches on the open market go, Miles is at the top of the list. Ole Miss needs a steady hand in their time of turmoil, and that could either attract or repel a man of Miles' status and reputation.

It will just be a matter of whether or not the 63-year-old wants to leave a prospective television career behind in order to strap on the headset and hit the recruiting trail yet again.

Dave Aranda - LSU defensive coordinator

LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda has earned a reputation for himself as a head coach in waiting, and Ole Miss could be a big chance for the 40-year-old to make that happen.

Aranda's track record, from his days under Gary Andersen at Utah State to his recent impact at LSU, have established him as one of the stingiest defensive minds in the nation.

Aranda has also been nominated for the Broyles Award as college football's top assistant each of the past two seasons, and his proverbial knocking at the door could be answered if Ole Miss wants to go young with their next head coach.

Lane Kiffin - Florida Atlantic head coach

If college football was scripted by soap opera writers, this would already be a done deal.

Yes, Lane Kiffin just took the head coaching job at Florida Atlantic, but if we're being honest, it's hard to imagine his tenure with the Owls as anything but a stepping stone to the Power-5. Kiffin has a track record of hopping from program to program like a pub crawl on St. Patrick's day, so is moving again really out of the question?

Additionally, a move to Oxford would mean that Kiffin would be squaring off against Nick Saban and Alabama every year. If only, if only.

Joe Moorhead - Penn State offensive coordinator

Along with Aranda, Penn State's Joe Moorhead is another coordinator that has seen his name in consideration for a number of head coaching jobs.

Moorhead does have the advantage of head coaching experience under his belt, having led Fordham to three consecutive FCS playoff appearances in four years from 2012-2015. His work with the Nittany Lions over the last two seasons has reestablished Penn State as an elite program in the nation, and continued success could result in a number of phone calls regarding head coaching openings.

Depending on what style of coach Ole Miss decides to go with, there may not be a better up-and-coming offensive mind available than Moorhead.

Chip Kelly - Former Oregon head coach

Here it is, your obligatory Chip Kelly name drop.

The likelihood of the former Oregon head coach taking a job at a program that isn't primed to win in the next few years is extremely low, but, like Miles, it would be silly not to think that his name won't be thrown around.

Kelly is one of the biggest free agents in the coaching ranks since being let go by the San Francisco 49ers, so it's less a question of whether or not he could make an impact, but whether or not he would want to make it in Oxford, Miss.

(Photos courtesy: Action Images)

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