Coaching comes full circle for PeelerBy STAN BEALL,
Officially, Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze named Kosciusko native and former Whippet star offensive lineman Jacob Peeler as wide receivers coach last Wednesday, but Tammy Peeler, Jacob’s mother, was shouting Hotty Toddy two days prior to that.
Mrs. Peeler was the first of the parents to receive the call from her son about his new opportunity with the Ole Miss Rebels and found it hard to hold in her excitement.
“A lady at work heard me yell, ‘Hotty Toddy!’ and had to come see what was going on and Jacob was like, ‘Calm down; calm down.’ He has always loved Ole Miss and we at one point had season tickets. We have been very excited and we know that God has opened doors for him to come back home. He (Jacob) has sacrificed so much to get to this point and has worked very hard and nothing has been handed to him for sure. He has earned every bit of it.”
Pete Peeler, Jacob’s father, and current fleet manager at Kirk Auto in Grenada was in his office when he received the call from his son about his new position.
“It was great and me and his mom were tickled after hearing the news,” said Pete. “We grew up Ole Miss fans and when Jacob was just a kid, we went to a lot of Ole Miss games. He had Ole Miss in him from Day 1 and his goal has always been to come back to Mississippi.”
Jacob’s on-field ability as a coach is a well-respected part of his career repertoire, but his recruiting ability has a chance to make him legendary.
“He built his foundation at Cal in recruiting,” said Pete.
“In ’16 he went and got the No. 1 receiver out of Georgia (Demetris Robertson).”
Convincing a player like Robertson to leave the South and the Southeastern Conference (SEC) to play out West is a very difficult thing to do and is a testament to Peeler’s mettle as a recruiter.
Peeler, who is described as a dynamic on-field coach as well, has served the last four years on the staff at Cal.
He was a graduate assistant in the 2013-14 before being promoted to assistant coach for inside receivers in 2015. He helped turn Cal’s offense into one of the top in the nation after the Bears finished in the top 10 in passing offense, top 15 in total offense and top 25 in scoring offense for each of the last three seasons.
“Jacob has quickly developed a reputation as an elite recruiter and an outstanding offensive coach who relates well to his players,” Freeze said in a press release. “He is Mississippi-born and bred and should be able to hit the ground running as we continue to elevate our program.”
Prior to joining the staff at the University of California, he spent four seasons (2009-12) on the football staff at his alma mater Louisiana Tech, serving as a graduate assistant working with the inside receivers in 2012 after three previous seasons in quality control roles on the offensive side of the ball. Before returning to Louisiana Tech, he coached at both Itawamba Community College (Fulton) and Independence Community College (Independence, Kansas).
Dave Woodfin, who was Peeler’s head football coach when he played for the Whippets, did not really know at that time that Peeler had aspirations to be a football coach, but said that he was exactly the type of kid coaches look forward to coaching.
“He was a hardworking kid and was just great to be around,” added Woodfin. “He was the type kid that if you got on to him about something, there was never any disrespect and of course he was raised like that by his mom (Tammy) and dad (Pete) who were very supportive of him and our football program also. It doesn’t surprise me that he is where he is just because of the things I have mentioned.”
Peeler, a 2002 KHS graduate, added a master’s degree in kinesiology in 2008 from Mississippi State after receiving his bachelor’s degree in education in 2007 from Louisiana Tech. At Louisiana Tech, he played two seasons (2005-06) and started all 13 games as a senior for an offensive line that helped the Bulldogs produce 4,479 total yards. Peeler redshirted his first season in Ruston in 2004 after playing every offensive snap for two seasons in 2002 and 2003 at Holmes Community College (Goodman), where he earned All-America as well as first team All-State and first team All-NJCAA Region 23 honors. The Bulldogs won the MACJC State Championship in 2002.
Peeler, who is married to the former Tori Hollis, has indeed hit the ground running for the Rebels and has been recruiting all over the Southeast and various other locales during his first week on the job, having yet to sleep in Oxford.
“He did stay at the house (in Kosciusko) this past Friday night to get some sleep before hitting the road again on Saturday morning,” added has father.