I remember watching Archie Manning as a small lad and I still think he’s one of the all time great college football Quarterbacks. This site is as unbiased as I can possibly be, but I have a soft spot for Ole Miss just because of Archie.
That said, Ole Miss is in the toughest conference in America and in the toughest division of that toughest conference. I am ranking them at 22 because I don’t feel they have the goods to beat the top echelon of this conference but I feel like they still have a pretty good team.
Ole Miss opens against Boise State and their brand new coach, Bryan Harsin. Then, they play Vanderbilt with their brand new coach, Derek Mason. Starting in October, Ole Miss takes on Alabama, Texas A&M, Tennessee, LSU and Auburn in November. They finish with Arkansas and in state rival, Mississippi State. This is murderer’s row and they will have to pull an upset or two if they don’t want to make me look foolish.
Yes, I do know that they don’t care how I look, but it’s going to be a tough undertaking for them.
Bo Wallace (6-4,210) is back for his senior year after throwing for 3346 yards and 18 TDs. Wallace, in spite of being a JC transfer has 6340 career passing yards and could hit 10,000 if he has a great year. Archie Manning only had 4753 career passing yards. Wallace also ran for 355 yards and 6 TDs. He did struggle as the season wore on.
Ole Miss lost both QB back ups, Barry Brunetti and Robert Ratliff. The Rebels have a couple of redshirt freshmen that were both 4 star recruits a year ago. Ryan Buchanon (6-3,205) was the #15 ranked pro style QB a year ago from Jackson, Mississippi and will battle it out with the #12 ranked dual threat QB out of Dallas, DeVante Kincade (6-0,180). This season’s recruiting class brought in 3 star QB Kendrick Doss (6-3,215).
However, the most interesting QB prospect and one of the most interesting developments in the country this season may be Jeremy Liggins (6-4,285) a JC transfer listed as an athlete but is coming in to play QB. Yes, a nearly 300 pound QB arrives on the scene. Liggins played QB in high school but was playing DE at Northwest Mississippi Community College. They ran out of QBs apparently and asked Liggins to move to QB and he did well. Well enough to be recruited by several SEC teams. Time will tell if he can play QB at the major college football level, but the man can run and has a nice touch on the ball. I don’t know if he has the arm strength because I have only seen limited clips of his playing days at the JC. But, his coach says he can throw it 70 to 75 yards. Liggins will either be a monster QB that people have a hard time sacking or he will move to another position and may be tried at TE as well. I credit the coaches for giving him a shot. I can imagine Jeremy Liggins in a goal line situation. America thought Tim Tebow was big and strong, wait till they get a load of Jeremy Liggins.
Ole Miss used 3 RBs almost equally a year ago and 2 of them are back. I’Tavius Mathers (5-11,190) was the guy that had the most yardage with 563 and 3 TDs. Jaylen Walton (5-8,170) was next in yardage with 523, but had 6 TDs. Also back are Mark Dodson (5-10,190) and Kailo Moore (5-11,185) who saw action as freshmen a year ago. Eugene Brazley (5-10,180) is a freshman out of New Orleans that redshirted a year ago.
Ole Miss recruited DK Buford (5-10,180) a locally grown 4 star guy. Plus, JC transfer Akeem Judd (6-0,215) and he was considered one of the top junior college RBs in the nation. Judd would bring a big back into the mix which is something the Rebels are sorely lacking.
Ole Miss loses it’s top receiving threat, Donte Moncrief, and that’s a huge loss. He was a big bodied play maker. They also lose Ja-Mes Logan and Jordan Holder and together this trio caught 118 passes in 2013.
On the bright side, they do return super freshman Laquon Treadwell (6-3,215) who had a big year with 72 catches and 5 TDs. Along with Treadwell, Vince Sanders (6-1,185) is also back and for his last season as a Rebel. Sanders had 21 receptions a year ago and will need to pick it up. Cody Core (6-3,190) has a little experience and freshman Quincy Adeboyejo (6-3,180) also played as a freshman. Collins Moore (6-1,200) is a senior that has played very little. To thicken the plot a little bit, Ole Miss adds 2 highly recruited home grown guys that could play early and well very early. Markell Pack (6-2,180) and Dayall Harris (6-3,185) were two of the better prospect in the country at WR.
In the Spring, DBs Quadarias Mireles (5-11,185) and Quintavius Burdette (5-11,185) will move to WR to try and bolster things up a bit.
TE or HB was Jevan Engram (6-3,220) had 21 catches for 3 TDs a year ago as a freshman. He did miss a little bit of playing time due to injury but he had a good year. Nicholas Parker (6-1,235) had 2 catches.
The Ole Miss offensive line lost a lot of seniors, but they do have some talent up front. LT Laremy Tunsil (6-5,330) was a freshman All America and will be one of the top OTs in the nation this year and next. At RG, another outstanding freshman, Austin Golson (6-5,290) returns. LG should be Aaron Morris (6-5,360) an absolute giant of a man, but what do you expect from a school with a 300 pound QB? Morris must recover from a torn ACL.
Justin Bell (6-3,345) will play somewhere.
Davion Johnson (6-4,330), Darone Bailey (6-5,345), Robert Conyers (6-3,285) and Daronte Bouldin ( 6-4,330) are all young guys that could find a way on to the field this season. Making things better, top recruit Rod Taylor (6-3,325) is considered the #2 guard in the entire country and Fahn Cooper (6-5,315) is one of the top JC OTs.
I am not sure anyone in the country will have a bigger offensive line than the Ole Miss Rebels.
The entire Ole Miss Rebel defense should be a team strength in 2014 because they return nearly everybody and I believe it’s time for Robert Nkemdiche ( 6-4,295) to become the player that everyone thought he would be.
Nkemdiche was the #1 recruit in the country a year ago. There’s not a lot of players out there to compare him to, other than Jadeveon Clowney. Nkdemdiche is an extraordinary talent. Standing 6 foot 4 and weighing just a slight bit under 300 pounds he can still run a 40 yard dash in slightly over 4.6.
Nkemdiche missed a little playing time, but was 12th on the team in tackles and had 2 sacks. But, he was a true freshman and he should improve by leaps and bounds this season.
Bryon Bennett (6-2,280) is back at the other end. Channing Ward (6-4,260) , CJ Johnson (6-3,230) and Carlos Thompson (6-4,240) all played in 2013.
Woodrow Hamilton (6-3,300) returns at a tackle spot and made 31 tackles last season. Isaac Gross (6-1,250) led the team in sacks with 3.5 and had 34 tackles.
Lavon Hooks (6-4,300), Carlton Martin (6-2,290) Herbert Moore (6-1,350) Martin may move to offense in the Spring for a trial.
True freshmen Garrald McDowell (6-1,260), Breeland Speaks (6-3,280) Chris Williams (6-1,285)
Serderius Bryant (5-9,215) is undersized at LB but was the teams leading tackler. Denzel Nkemdiche (5-11,205), the older brother of Robert should take the other LB slot. Keith Lewis (6-1,220) Temario Strong (6-1,235) are experienced back ups. DeMarquis Gates (6-2,215) is a top recruit out of Georgia and JC transfer Christian Russell (6-1,240) might also challenge for playing time.
DT Shackleford was granted a rare 6th year by the NCAA and should be the team’s MLB this season. He had 44 tackles and 2 sacks a year ago.
Secondary should be a team strength because they have everyone back. The Rebels generally play a 4-2-5.
Corners are Senquez Golson (5-9,190) and Mike Hilton (5-8,190) also Derrick Jones (6-2,185)
Safety is Cody Prewitt (6-2,215) nickle back is Tony Conner (6-2,205) Rover is Trae Elston (6-1,190) and backed by Chief Brown (6-1,200) Prewitt had an incredible year with 6 INTs.
The defense will keep Ole Miss in a lot of games. If they were any other conference and played any other schedule I might have Ole Miss in my top 15. Coach Hugh Freeze and his staff are some of the best recruiters in the country and I think this team will be one of the better teams in the country eventually. Not sure it’s going to happen this season but it should happen pretty quickly. I am picking Ole Miss to go 8-4 this season.