Sixth-ranked TCU allowed 61 points in a 61-58 loss to then-No. 3 Baylor on Oct. 11, the Horned Frogs' lone blemish in an 11-1 season.
Despite that outing, TCU ranks second in tackles for loss (8.4/game), second in interceptions (1.92/game), second in turnover margin (plus-18) and turnovers gained (36), fourth in opponents' third-down conversions (28.4 percent) and 17th in scoring defense (20.3 ppg).
"We learned to finish," said TCU senior cornerback Kevin White of what they learned from the loss to Baylor. "It's something we didn't do in that game. We had a lead, and we didn't finish the game. From that point on, we had to finish out every game, no matter what, whether we were up by 20 or down by 20. We had to finish."
The Horned Frogs see a similar challenge in No. 9 Ole Miss, despite the differences in scheme and injuries to three starters in junior offensive guard Aaron Morris, senior wide receiver Vince Sanders and sophomore wide receiver Laquon Treadwell.
"As I watch them, I would compare them to a pro team," TCU defensive coordinator Dick Bumpas said. "They do a lot of shifts and motions and whatnot, which forces you to be on top of your game in terms of where your eyes are."
"Looking at the tape, they have a lot of weapons," TCU junior safety Chris Hackett said. "Looking at Bo Wallace, he's a great quarterback. Playing in the SEC, they have a lot of competition week in and week out. They don't just have the one superstar player on their team. They're a good team as a whole."
On average, TCU opponents have run 74.1 offensive plays per game this season, including Baylor, which racked up 782 yards of total offense on 109 offensive plays, while Ole Miss has averaged 70.0 offensive plays per game, running more than 80 plays just once this season.
"It's not like we're going to change our scheme around just because Baylor did so well," Ole Miss co-offensive coordinator Dan Werner said. "That's something they do every week, and they do a good job with it. There are things they do that we do also. So obviously, that's stuff we'd put in and maybe emphasize more than we usually do. We're going to run our offense, do what we do best and go fast and let these guys play and make plays."
Rest, Treatment Beneficial to O-Line
Ole Miss used the same starting five offensive linemen for each of the first seven games, all wins, before mixing and matching combinations against LSU, Auburn and Presbyterian, and then returning to full strength against Arkansas and Mississippi State.
Even then, sophomore offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil battled a right shoulder injury, while junior center Ben Still continued to push through a knee injury.
With some time off between the regular-season finale against Mississippi State and the start of bowl practices, the duo and the entire offensive line are in much better shape entering their matchup with No. 6 TCU.
"I'm getting old, man," Tunsil said. "Everything was hurting. Mainly, it was just my right shoulder, having a torn labrum, but I feel better since I have healed up and had some treatment."
"It's been good because I injured my knee against Tennessee, and it never really got back all the way, so it was a good time for some time off to get it back," Still said.
The Rebels, however, will be without junior offensive guard Aaron Morris, who underwent surgery to repair his torn ACL. In his place, junior Justin Bell will move from right guard to left guard, and freshman Rod Taylor will make his second career start, at right guard.
"He's caught on a whole lot," said Still of Taylor. "You don't have to say much to him. From day one to now, he's improved exponentially. It's great. You used to have to tell him everything. Now, we can trust him."
"He plays with passion and helps us out tremendously," said Bell of Taylor. "It makes it a more enjoyable experience, getting a young guy in there and knowing he's going to play 60 minutes, give it everything he has."
When No. 9 Ole Miss faces No. 6 TCU in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Wednesday, the Rebels will be without each of their top two receivers in sophomore wide receiver Laquon Treadwell (leg, ankle) and senior wide receiver Vince Sanders (ACL).
In their place, sophomore tight end Evan Engram has emerged as a favorite target for senior quarterback Bo Wallace, hauling in five passes for a career-high 176 receiving yards, the fourth-most in a game in a game in Ole Miss history, in a win over then-No. 4 Mississippi State.
"Hopefully he will play the way he did against Mississippi State and we expect that, because he's so explosive and a guy that's a mismatch," Wallace said. "So we know we're down some guys, but we have guys that are going to step up and fill the void."
An All-America second team and consensus All-SEC first team selection, Engram leads all SEC tight ends with 651 receiving yards and 17.6 yards per catch. He is also tied for the national lead with 11 plays of 20-plus yards and six plays of 30-plus yards this season.
"He's not a tight end," TCU senior linebacker Tank Carder said. "He's a receiver. Those guys moving in and out of formations, get a lot of one-on-ones, and I compare him to probably a Jimmy Graham because of the way those guys use him. Sometimes he's outside, sometimes he's inside. He's very fast to me, when I watch him. He blocks very well. So he's a tight end mixed with a receiver, but he's amazing. He's probably one of the best tight ends I've faced this year and probably last year also."
Known more as a receiver, Engram said one of the biggest things he learned from getting hurt last season was dropping his feet when called on to block, adding that he feels a lot more confident and comfortable against defensive end and linebackers this season.
"That's the thing with this offense," Engram said. "It can be either one. They can throw me in there to be physical at the line of scrimmage and throw up a block and try to open up a run and then split me out wide and run a post down the field. This offense is very versatile. There's a lot of positions a lot of people can play."
Engram has had some of his biggest games on the biggest stage and against the best competition. In addition to a career game in the win over Mississippi State, Engram caught three passes for 71 yards against then-No. 1 Alabama and eight passes for 118 yards and a touchdown against then-No. 3 Auburn.
"It's the pressure," Engram said. "It's a different atmosphere. I'm just trying to help my team win, stepping up when my name is called. In the big games, they need everybody and everything clicking, and I'm part of that, so I have to show up and do my job. In the big games, that's when it's most important."
As sophomores, Engram and the historic 2013 signing class have grown into larger roles and helped Ole Miss to its first nine-win regular season since 2003 and its highest final regular-season ranking since 1963.
"Last year, all the freshmen were quiet and didn't know what was going on," Engram said. "As we started getting our feet wet in the SEC and playing in the big games in front of big crowds, we started getting more comfortable and definitely getting more experience."
When they signed on National Signing Day 2013, the Rebels were coming off a 7-6 season, capped by a win over Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl. From there, they have raised the program to national relevance, and with a win over the Horned Frogs, they move that much closer to their ultimate goal.
"When we all signed here, we wanted to help try to bring a national championship here," Engram said. "Last year, we had some injuries and we had a promising season, but some of those injuries hurt. This year, maybe if one or two plays went differently, we would possible have one loss and possibly looking at a playoff berth.
"We're gradually getting to our goal. Coming in here and being a class that's turn the program is a huge privilege, but it takes a lot of work and dedication. We're so dedicated to helping turn things around. We're getting closer and closer."
From a 2-10 season, when many players from this year's senior class were freshmen, to perhaps the program's seventh 10-win season in program history, Ole Miss has climbed the ladder to national relevance, and a matchup with No. 6 TCU in the first "New Year's Six" bowl game is the next rung on the ladder.
"We went from Birmingham, to Nashville, and now we're in the Peach Bowl," senior linebacker Serderius Bryant said. "It's rising. We're taking ladders. Instead of taking a step up, we're taking elevators and we're taking floors up."
"This is the first year of the Playoffs and we're really privileged to be here," sophomore tight end Evan Engram said. "It's going to be a fun feeling to have all eyes on us with everyone waking up to spend New Year's Eve watching us ball."
Ole Miss started the season 7-0 and rose as high as No. 3 in the polls, debuting at No.4 in the first College Football Playoff top 25 rankings, before finishing the season 9-3 and ranked No. 9 in the final College Football Playoff rankings.
After a 7-0 start, the Rebels lost three straight Southeastern Conference games, three of four games overall, before closing out the regular season with a 31-17 win over then-No. 4 Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl.
"We thought we could have done better, personally, and I know a lot of the other guys feel that way too," sophomore defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche said. "We have to take every game, one game at a time. Sometimes during this past season, we started looking ahead and we started overlooking some games, and it caught up with us."
"We looked ahead against Arkansas, worried about Mississippi State," sophomore offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil said. "That's a big lesson learned. You can't overlook any team, not even the weakest team. You can't overlook a team. You see what Arkansas did to us."
A win over TCU, players have said throughout bowl preparations, would give the program confidence and momentum heading into the 2015 season.
"It's a big game for our program, so we want to get this 'W,'" Nkemdiche said. "This game is going to help set us up for next year and give us big things to look forward to."
"For our program that is on the rise, we feel like that's a big step for our program," junior cornerback Mike Hilton said. "This New Year's Six Bowl is going to be a good one. It could take our program to the next level."
The Ole Miss football team arrived in Atlanta on Christmas Day, holding their first team meeting and enjoying Christmas dinner together ahead of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 31.
"It's been fun," sophomore tight end Evan Engram said. "There were a lot of warm welcomes. It's a great staff here. We had a great dinner last night and I got to spend some time in the game room with my teammates."
Academically, the football team posted their highest GPA in recorded history, and everyone is eligible to play in the bowl game.
"From where we were when I got here, to where we are now, I could not be more pleased with the progress that has been made there," head coach Freeze said. "A lot of credit goes to Derek Cowherd and his staff. Everyone is eligible, so that's a good thing and we're progressing nicely there."
Other than the season-ending injuries, which include junior offensive guard Aaron Morris, who underwent surgery to repair his torn ACL, Freeze said they're healthy going into the bowl practices in Atlanta.
"As far as the ones we have here, we're healthy," Freeze said. "We have a couple of issues with flu-like symptoms, which is always the case this time of year. One of my prayer requests this morning was that we would stay away from the sickness stuff."
As part of their first day in Atlanta, the players also received their bowl gifts, which included an Apple TV, a Fossil watch, a $300 Visa gift card, a Chick-fil-A gift card and a Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl football they can get signed and keep for themselves.
The team will enjoy a joint team welcome party with the TCU football team at the College Football Hall of Fame and later tour the museum. Other team activities this week include a team party at Andretti Indoor Karting and Games and a hospital visit to Scottish Rite Hospital.
"Because of the off time, it's almost like you're starting over again," Freeze said. "You're never quite sure what that means for each individual on the team. Playing an opponent of the quality of TCU in one of the "New Year's Six" bowls helps hold their attention. We'll see how practices goes."
"The hardest part is staying focused on the task at hand, which is the football game," Engram said. "We have a lot of events planned out for us this week. We get to hang out and we have a decent amount of free time. That's the main part, staying focused on on the task at hand, which is getting a 'W' in the Georgia Dome next Wednesday."
Favorite Plays of the Year
Senquez Golson's Game-Saving Interception vs. Alabama
On one of the biggest weekends in Ole Miss football history, Senquez Golson turned in one of the biggest plays in Ole Miss football history, as he picked off Alabama quarterback Blake Sims with 37 seconds left in the game to secure a 23-17 win over No. 1 Alabama.
The game-tying touchdown, from Bo Wallace to Vince Sanders, the forced fumble by Channing Ward, and the game-winning touchdown, from Wallace to Jaylen Walton, deserve mention, but Golson's interception is the signature play that effectively ended the game.
Austin Anderson's Walk-Off HR vs. Auburn
The baseball team showed its toughness all season, on the way to Omaha and the College World Series, winning more than its fair share of close games, and none were more dramatic than Austin Anderson's 13th-inning, walk-off home run against Auburn.
The Tigers had intentionally walked him in the 9th and 11th innings, and intended to intentionally walk him in the 13th, but the Auburn pitcher left the ball too close to the plate, and Anderson sent the ball over the fence in right field.
Jaylen Walton's Long TD Run vs. Mississippi State
In the face of adversity and a three-game SEC losing streak, the football team reclaimed the Egg Bowl to cap a 9-3 regular season, their best season since 2003.
Jaylen Walton turned in a career game, rushing for 148 yards on 14 carries, highlighted by a 91-yard touchdown run that made SportsCenter's Top 10 plays and proved to be the game-winning score in a 31-17 win over Mississippi State.
Errol Robinson's Relay Throw vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
The baseball team had its share of big plays in Game 2 and Game 3 of the Super Regional against Louisiana-Lafayette that sent the Rebels to their fifth College World Series appearance and their first since 1972.
There were some big scoring plays in the two games, such as Preston Overbey's solo home run of Game 2, or Holt Perdzock's bases-clearing triple in Game 3, but I'm going to highlight the relay play from Braxton Lee to Errol Robinson to Will Allen to keep the game-tying run off the board in the seventh inning of Game 3.
(Go to 16:45 mark for Robinson's play)
Sam Kendricks' Championship Jump
Sam Kendricks delivered another national championship for Ole Miss, as he cleared 18-8.25 to become the first back-to-back NCAA outdoor champion for the Rebels since 2000-2001 and the first back-to-back outdoor pole vault champion since 2006-07.
Kendrick elected to forego his senior year of eligibility with the track & field team to pursue professional and international athletic opportunities, as he prepares for U.S. and World Championships and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Favorite Games of the Year
Football Knocks Off Top-Ranked Alabama
A weekend that began with the program's first appearance on College GameDay was closed out with a thrilling 23-17 victory over No. 1 Alabama, the program's first win over a top-ranked opponent.
Down 14-3 at halftime, the Rebels outscored the Crimson Tide 20-3 in the second half to improve to 5-0 for the first time since 1962. After the win, the fans stormed the field and tore down the goal posts. Ole Miss would go on to start the season 7-0 and rise as high as No. 3 in the national polls.
Baseball Secures a Berth in the College World Series
The baseball team preached toughness all season and it was on display as the Rebels secured a berth in the College World Series with a 10-4 win over Louisiana-Lafayette in the rubber-game of the Super Regional in Lafayette.
A well-executed relay play kept the game-tying run off the board in the seventh, and Holt Perdzock broke things open in the ninth with a bases-clearing triple as part of five-run inning for Ole Miss.
Football Recaptures Egg Bowl
Ole Miss reclaimed the prize of the football program with a 31-17 win over No. 4 Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl. It marked the first time the Rebels notched two wins over top-five teams since 1969.
The win capped a 9-3 regular season, the program's best regular season since 2003, and sent them to the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. It also closed the door on the Bulldogs' College Football Playoff hopes.
Baseball Clinches Key Series over Mississippi State
There might have bigger wins for the baseball team, but the series-clincher over Mississippi State, from the environment, to the circumstances, to the way they won, appeared to have changed the trajectory of the Rebels, who went on to advance to Omaha and the College World Series.
Coming off an extra-inning loss in the Game 2 of the series, the Rebels pounded out 20 hits to race past Mississippi State for a 12-2 win in Starkville.
Billy Chadwick Goes Out a Winner in Last SEC Home Match
Likely needing a win to advance to the postseason, the Ole Miss men's tennis team delivered legendary head coach Billy Chadwick a 4-3 win over No. 10 Texas A&M. Stefan Lindmark cliched the win with a three-set win at No. 4 singles.
The win not only sent Chadwick out a winner in his last SEC home match, but it also helped the Rebels earn their 21st straight NCAA Championship bid.
Favorite Stories of the Year
Return of the Powder Blues: How They Came to Be
As part of the Memphis home football game weekend honoring the life and spirit of Chucky Mullins, the Ole Miss football team wore powder blue helmets, replicas of the ones worn by the Rebels in 1989, the year Mullins was injured and paralyzed during the Vanderbilt game.
Kendricks Wears Two Uniforms
In one world, Sam Kendrick is a national champion and an Olympic hopeful. In another world, he is an Army officer in trainer and on track to accept a commission and begin his military career.
The historic 2013 football signing class has been instrumental in helping change the culture around the football program, helping lead the Rebels to the first nine-win regular season since 2003 and a "New Year's Six" Bowl game.
Buy-In Paying Off for Golson
Senquez Golson became the first consensus first team All-American and first unanimous choice since Michael Oher in 2008. His success on the field, he has said and his coaches have said, came from buying into the program change under head coach Hugh Freeze.
Scholtz Turns the Page on Outstanding Junior Season
Nik Scholtz became the fourth Ole Miss men's tennis player to be named SEC Player of the Year and the first to earn SEC Freshman and Player of the Year honors during his career. He earned a final national ranking of No. 14 in singles, making him a three-time All-American.
Favorite Videos of the Year
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Dec. 15-21, 2014
- Ole Miss overcame a 17-point deficit to knock off Coastal Carolina 71-68 Thursday night.
- Senior LaDarius White scored a career-high 26 points including a career-best 6 3-pointers in the victory.
- The Rebels will face Southeast Missoui Monday night in Southaven before an eight-day holiday break.
-Ole Miss extended its win streak to three straight with wins over Southern Miss and Alabama A&M. Ole Miss who had dropped its previous two contests is moves to 9-3 on the seasons with a chance to close the non-conference slate with a 10-3 record, which would be the best non-conference record since 2011-12.
-Tia Faleru posted her 23rd career double-double against Alabama A&M with 24 points and 14 rebounds. It was her first double-double since nabbing 29 points and 19 rebounds in a win over Southern on Nov. 20. Additionally, with Faleru's 24 points Ole Miss had its first 20-point scorer since the Nov 28 Utah game when Toree Thompson had a career-high 23 points.
-A'Queen Hayes earned her first career start against Southern Miss and also started the Alabama A&M game. In her first career start Hayes tallied 10 points for her second career game in double figures. In her two carer starts, Hayes is averaging 9.5 points.
-Tia Faleru played her 100th career game against Alabama A&M joining Danielle McCray as active players to play in 100 career games. Amber Singletary will also join the century club this season. Additionally, head coach Matt Insell earned his 20th career victory against Southern Miss.
The students were off for the first week of winter break, but Observations from the Best Seat in the House presses on, as the football team moves closer to the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and the men's and women's basketball teams near the end of non-conference play. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:
- Monday was a milestone day for the Forward Together campaign, as Ole Miss unveiled the master plans for the Vaught-Hemingway Stadium renovation and expansion. The three main takeaways are the expansion to 64,038 by the start of the 2016 season, accommodating 5,500 more Rebel fans, the student section expansion and move to the soon-to-be bowled-in end zone and the emphasis on quality of experience compared to quantity of number of fans. Here are two video related to the announcement: Forward Together: North End Zone Expansion and Forward Together: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Expansion Fly-Through
- Wednesday was also a big day for the football program, as head coach Hugh Freeze inked the nation's top quarterback (Chad Kelly), defensive tackle (D.J. Jones) and cornerback (Tony Bridges) on junior college national signing day. All three have the potential to play key roles on next year's team.
- Congrats to former linebackers coach Tom Allen who was named the defensive coordinator at South Florida. He is one of the most engaging and personable coaches you will meet, and talking to his players and fellow coaches, you can tell he was admired and respected at Ole Miss.
- Interestingly, this is only the second coaching staff change under head coach Hugh Freeze and the first since co-defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach Wesley McGriff left for the New Orleans after the 2012 season. Between the on-field success and the increase in the salary pool for the football staff, Ole Miss should be competitive in filling the position.
"That was the only thing I asked for," said Freeze of the increase. "Let's up that so we will remain competitive in this conference in that regard because I really like continuity. Unless a guy gets an opportunity, like a Tom Allen, where you get to run your own defense or offense. You have to understand those moves. I took those chances, and I want others to get the same opportunity. I don't want to lose someone just because it's a lateral move and we're not competitive."
- To quote the oft-used sports metaphor, the Ole Miss men's basketball team's win over Coastal Carolina was a tale of two halves. Down as many as 17, the Rebels erased a 41-28 halftime deficit behind a career-high 26 points from LaDarius White and 60.9 percent shooting in the second half.
- LaDarius White continues to be a revelation for the Rebels in his senior season, averaging 13.6 points per game, second on the team behind Stefan Moody, including 14.2 ppg over his last nine games. He's also shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor and 51.4 percent from 3-point range.
- With a win over Southeastern Louisiana after the Christmas holidays, the Ole Miss women's basketball has a chance to go 10-3 for its best non-conference record since the 2011-12 season. The Rebels open Southeastern Conference on Jan. 2 at home against Arkansas.
- Congrats to the Ole Miss student-athletes who achieved the highest cumulative grade point average (2.96) in recorded history and the 10 student-athletes who received their degrees.
Senior quarterback Bo Wallace, like his head coach, stepped into a program that had won just two games in 2011 and had lost 14 straight games.
Three years later, Wallace helped lead the ninth-ranked Rebels to their first nine-win regular season since 2003 and a berth in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, one of the "New Year's Six Bowls."
"I was just trying to come in and play and compete," Wallace said. "I came here because it was probably my best chance to play. For us to kind of turn it around, it's special."
Already the school's all-time leader in total offense and the first quarterback to defeat two top-five teams since Archie Manning in 1969, Wallace has a chance to make some more history with a win over No. 6 TCU in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 31 in Atlanta's Georgia Dome.
With a win, which would be his 25th as the team's starting quarterback, Wallace would pass Eli Manning as the winningest quarterback in modern Ole Miss history, and he would also become the first Ole Miss quarterback in school history to start and win three bowl games.
"I'm really kind of looking forward to practice and all that just because I know I'm not going to get to do it much longer," Wallace said. "I'm just taking advantage of every day. We're excited about going to Atlanta, to be going to a New Year's Six bowl and have a chance to get 10 wins and elevate this program to another level."
Wallace said he's planning to train and pursue a potential professional career after the bowl game. Asked about his legacy, when his Ole Miss career is over, Wallace said it's not for him to decide but getting that milestone win is important to him.
"I don't know," Wallace said. "I really don't care. I mean, I do care, but everybody's going to have a different opinion. It is what it is."
TCU's Boykin Draws Manziel Comparisons
The Ole Miss defense has faced the likes of Alabama's Blake Sims, Auburn's Nick Marshall and Mississippi State's Dak Prescott, and now the nation's top scoring defense prepares for another unique challenge in TCU's Trevone Boykin, who finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting.
The Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and an AP second team All-American selection, Boykin leads the league and ranks third nationally in total offense (363.0). He is also on pace to become just the third quarterback since 2009 to average over 300 yards passing (309.5) and 50 yards rushing (53.5), joining a pair of Heisman Trophy winners Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel.
"You can be in the right spot and have everything covered, and there's a 20-yard gain because of the ability of Trevone Boykin," head coach Hugh Freeze said. "It makes them difficult to defend. Schematically, it isn't something you are just wowed by, but they have really good players. And then they have a dual threat quarterback that's very difficult to contain, and they do it at tempo."
Ole Miss coaches and players alike have compared Boykin to Manziel, who led Texas A&M to wins over Ole Miss in 2012 and 2013. Senior cornerback Senquez Golson, a unanimous first team All-American selection, said this will probably be the most athletes they have played on one side of the ball this season.
"He's a very good athlete, and he improved his throwing as the season progressed," defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said. "They take a lot of shots deep, so I can see a lot of similarities. Their passing game is very similar to Texas A&M as well. All of those guys came from the same background."
"Johnny would sit in the pocket a little bit more," junior defensive end C.J. Johnson said. "Trevone Boykin, he likes to get out of the pocket a little bit. And they do a lot more with him in the run game than A&M did with Johnny. They use a lot of empty personnel, so the way they run the football is kind of the same, but the way they use him in the offense is a little bit different."
Boykin has completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 3,714 yards with 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions, and he's also a threat on the ground with 642 yards rushing and eight touchdowns.
"Going into this game, you have to have really good pocket awareness," Johnson said. "It all comes down to the fundamentals of football. Spread offenses, they like to get you out in space and make you tackle. We're a good tackling defense. We don't give up many yards after the catch. We don't give up many big plays. We rush the quarterback. We stop the run. It's going to be a good challenge for us with all the stuff they present on offense. If everybody stays locked in on defense and we do what we have to do, I think we'll be fine."
Johnson to Return, Golson '50-50' on Baseball
When asked about underclassmen who requested an evaluation from the NFL's College Advisory Committee, head coach Hugh Freeze said junior defensive end C.J. Johnson may have but he's confident he will return for his senior season. Johnson said the same earlier in the week.
"Not really," said Johnson, when asked if he had thought about submitting paperwork to the NFL. "I'm planning to be back."
Senior cornerback Senquez Golson, once an eight round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox, and now consensus and unanimous first team All-American, said he remains undecided on whether to play baseball for Ole Miss in the spring or focus 100 percent on preparing for the NFL Draft.
"I haven't really decided, probably going to decide more after the bowl game," Golson said. "I still don't know. It's definitely 50-50 right now."
A finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which goes to the national defensive player of the year, Golson leads the SEC and ranks second nationally with nine interceptions and has been a key cog in the nation's top-ranked scoring defense.
"With my success this season, football is definitely more attractive now," Golson said. "Three or four months ago, I was definitely going to play baseball, but it's a different situation now. I'm not sure exactly how it will play out, but I'm still thinking about it."
Good News on Injury Front
Head coach Freeze had good news to report on the status of Tee Shepard (toe), Denzel Nkemdiche (ankle) and Laqon Treadwell (leg, ankle), who all suffered season-ending injuries earlier in the season.
"Tee (Shepard) started running this week," Freeze said. "The injured area remains tender, but started his running, so when he gets back after Christmas, we will really pick up his rehab. Denzel (Nkemdiche) and Laquon (Treadwell) are off the scooters. Laquon is on one crutch, and Denzel is in just a boot. They're much more active, so things are progressing nicely.
"We definitely expect Tee and Denzel to be back with us in the spring. Laquon is going to be right at that time, so we expect him to be in some of spring practice."
Ole Miss officially announced the signing of Chad Kelly, a NCJCAA first team All-American selection and rated the No. 1 quarterback in the nation by the all the major recruiting services.
Kelly, the nephew of Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, looks to step in and battle rising sophomores Ryan Buchanan and DeVante Kincade for the opportunity to replace record-setting senior quarterback Bo Wallace, another former EMCC standout.
"Bringing in a JUCO quarterback is something we gave a lot of thought to as far as creating the depth and competition we needed to," head coach Hugh Freeze said. "We followed Chad throughout the year and we were very, very impressed with the job he did running the offense for East. Probably toward end of year, once I had some face-to-face conversations with him, he came to a couple games and then the official visit, and I did my home visit with he and his family after their championship game, and I was convinced he was the guy we wanted to go on. It was something that happened over time."
"When Ryan is confident and going through his reads, he's really smart with the football," Wallace said. "DeVante is a great athlete, great player, and he has a great arm. And I have watched Chad play. He's going to be a good player, too. He's a talented kid. He signed with Clemson out of high school, and then you watch him at East. He really ran that offense well. He threw a lot of touchdowns and not a lot of picks, so he should come in and definitely compete."
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Kelly completed 66.9 percent of his passes and threw for 3,906 yards with 47 touchdowns and eight interceptions, as he led East Mississippi Community College to a 12-0 record and the national championship. His 47 touchdowns was tied for the nation's lead and his 3,906 yards ranked second in the nation.
In limited action this season, Buchanan is 12-of-22 for 75 yards with an interception, while Kincade is 15-of-17 for 116 yards with a touchdown and has rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore tight end Evan Engram has seen a difference in them with the anticipated addition of Kelly.
"Our coaching staff, we recruit the best in the country," Engram said. "That's no shock to us. It's just going to better us and better this team, add more depth. We got to have depth in the SEC. That definitely starts a fire under them. I know Chad's a good quarterback, definitely, because he's coming here. We wouldn't be bringing anybody who's not good enough. That sets a fire under Ryan and DeVante. It's going to be an interesting battle."
Buchanan and Kincade have received a lot of reps with the number-one offense in bowl practices this week due in part to the coaches taking it easy with Wallace, who suffered a sprained ankle against Arkansas on Nov. 22.
"They have responded wonderfully," Freeze said. "They have had great practices the last few weeks, and I think both of those guys have bright futures. At this level, if you want to be great, you have to create competition. Both have responded really well. They're not concerned about the competition, and I don't think Chad is either. We'll get them all here in the spring and figure out what's best for the team."
14 For '14,
2013 World Championships,
2014 Season Highlight,
2014 World Cup,
2014 World Cup Brazil,
2014 Year in Review,
2015 NFL Draft,
2016 Summer Olympics,
3 Things About Gameday,
3 Things You Should Know About Gameday,
38: The Chucky Mullins Effect,
A Year in Review,
Alabama Crimson Tide,
Armintie Price Herrington,
Athletics Week in Review,
BBVA Compass Bowl,
Be The Fan,
Best of the Season,
Best Seat in the House,
Billy Van Devender,
Boise State Broncos,
Boise State Football,
Bram ten Berge,
By The Numbers,
C Spire Conerly Trophy,
Cal Ripken Senior League,
California Collegiate League,
Can't Be Denied,
Cape Cod League,
Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge,
Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic,
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl,
Chucky Mullins Award,
Chucky Mullins Courage Award,
College Baseball Tournament,
College Football Hall of Fame,
College Football Live,
College Game Day,
College World Series,
Collegiate Summer Leagues,
Colorado Springs Sky Sox,
Dr. Jamil Northcutt;,
Egg Bowl Motivational,
Egg Bowl Motivational Video,
Engineers Without Border,
Episode 1 Sneak Peak,
Episode One Sneak Peak,
ESPN College Gameday,
Evan St. Laurent,
Florida State Seminoles,
Florida State Soccer,
Forward Together Campaign,
Franklin American Mortgage Company Music City Bowl,
Franklin American Music City Bowl,
From The Vault,
Georgia State Baseball,
Georgia Tech Baseball,
Give To Athletics,
Hall of Fame,
Hard Core Fighter,
Health and Sports Performance,
Home is Ole Miss,
Jackson Touchdown Club,
Jacksonville State Baseball,
Jacksonville State Gamecocks,
Jeff Scott Hugh Freeze,
Kentucky Men's Basketball,
Lafayette Super Regional,
Lock The Vaught,
Look Back Video,
Los Angeles Sparks,
LSU Men's Basketball,
Lynnette Johnson; SEC Women's Golf,
Mai El Kamash,
Mary Ashton Nall,
mary ashton nall,
Meet The Rebels Day,
Mel Kiper Jr.,
Men's Tennis Tennis,
Miss Men's Basketball,
Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum,
Mississippi State Basketball,
Mississippi State Bulldogs,
Mississippi State Episode,
Mississippi State Football,
Mississippi State Men's Basketball,
Mississippi State Volleyball,
Mississippi State Women's Basketball,
Mississippi State Women's Hoops,
Music City Bowl,
National Signing Day,
National Women's Soccer League,
NCAA Baseball Tournament,
NCAA Doubles Final Four,
NCAA Lafayette Super Regional,
NCAA Oxford Regional,
NCAA Super Regional,
NCAA Tennis Final Four,
New Basketball Arena,
New Softball Coach,
New Year's Six,
NFL Draft 2014,
NFL Draft Combine,
NFL Draft Projections,
NFL Mock Drafts,
NFL Pro Bowl,
NFL Scouting Combine,
Nike Asia Tour,
North Carolina State,
Observations from the Best Seat in the House,
Off Square Books,
Ole Miss Athletics,
Ole Miss Athletics Foundation,
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review,
Ole Miss Baseball,
Ole Miss Baseball Fans,
Ole Miss Basketball,
Ole Miss Cross Country,
Ole Miss Defense,
Ole Miss Engineering,
Ole Miss Fans,
Ole Miss Football,
Ole Miss Football 2014,
Ole Miss Football 2014 Season Highlight,
Ole Miss Football 2014: A Year in Review,
Ole Miss Football Schedules,
Ole Miss Football Top 25 2014,
Ole Miss Football Video,
Ole Miss Foundation,
Ole Miss Hoops,
Ole Miss Media Day,
Ole Miss Men's Basketball,
Ole Miss Men's Golf,
Ole Miss Men's Hoops,
Ole Miss Men's Tennis,
Ole Miss Pix,
Ole Miss Pro Day,
Ole Miss Programming,
Ole Miss Rebels,
Ole Miss Regional,
Ole Miss Rifle,
Ole Miss Soccer,
Ole Miss Softball,
Ole Miss Solo Cups,
Ole Miss Sports,
Ole Miss Sports Productions,
Ole Miss Tennis,
Ole Miss Top 25 2014,
Ole Miss Track,
Ole Miss Track & Field,
Ole Miss Track and Field,
Ole Miss Volleyball,
Ole Miss Week in Review,
Ole Miss Women's Basketball,
Ole Miss Women's Golf,
Ole Miss Women's Golf; Dori Carter,
Ole Miss Women's Golf; Kaitlin Voll,
Ole Miss Women's Golf; Katie Voll,
Ole Miss Women's Golf; Katilin Voll,
Ole Miss Women's Hoops,
Ole Miss Women's Soccer,
Ole Miss Women's Tennis,
Ole Misss Rifle,
Opening Day 2014,
Postgame Press Conference,
Powder Blue Helmets,
Rebel Media Day,
Rebel Road Trip,
Rebels Choice Awards,
Rebels' Choice Awards,
Red & Blue Classic,
Red And Blue Classic,
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.,
Rifle Video Promo,
Road To Omaha,
Run On Opening Day 2014,
School of Education,
Season Highlight Video,
SEC Baseball Tournament,
SEC Basketball Teleconference,
SEC Basketball Tournament,
SEC Championship Game,
SEC East Opponents,
SEC Football Media Days,
SEC Football Schedules,
SEC Football Teleconference,
SEC Media Days,
SEC Men's Basketball,
SEC Men's Basketball Teleconference,
SEC Men's Basketball Tournament,
SEC Men's Tennis Tournament,
SEC Player of the Year,
SEC Tennis Tournament,
SEC Track and Field,
SEC Track and Field Championships,
SEC Track and Field Indoor Championships,
SEC Women's Basketball Teleconference,
SEC Women's Basketball Tournament,
Shelby Jo Fenter,
SiriusXM College Sports Nation,
SiriusXM College Sports National Camp Tour,
Soldier Returns Home,
Soldier Surprises Family,
Solo Cup Races,
South Carolina Basketball,
Southeast Athletic Trainers' Association,
Southeastern Conference Basketball,
Southeastern Conference Record,
Spain National Team,
State of Ole Miss Athletics,
Studio 18 Live,
Super Bulldog Weekend,
TCU Horned Frogs,
TD Ameritrade Park,
Texas A&M Aggies,
Texas A&M Basketball,
Texas A&M Football,
Texas Tech Baseball,
Texas Tech Red Raiders,
The Dan Patrick Show,
The Pavilion at Ole Miss,
The Season Ole Miss,
The Season Ole Miss Baseball,
The Season Ole Miss Football,
The Season Ole Miss Football Auburn Episode,
The Season Ole Miss Football Episode 1,
The Season Ole Miss Football Episode 10,
The Season Ole Miss Football Episode 11,
The Season Ole Miss Football Episode 12,
The Season Ole Miss Football Episode 13,
The Season Ole Miss Football Episode 2,
The Season Ole Miss Football Episode 4,
The Season Ole Miss Football Episode 5,
The Season Ole Miss Football Episode 6,
The Season Ole Miss Football Episode 7,
The Season Ole Miss Football Episode 8,
The Season Ole Miss Football Episode 9,
The Season Ole Miss Football LSU Episode,
The Season Ole Miss Football Tennessee Episode,
The Season Ole Miss Football Texas A&M Episode,
The Season Ole Miss Soccer,
The Season Ole Miss Volleyball,
The Season: Ole Miss Football,
The University of Mississippi,
Three and Out,
Track & Field,
Under-19 World Championship,
Under-20 European Championships,
University of Mississippi,
USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships,
USA Track & Field,
Vanderbilt Men's Basketball,
Vanderbilt Women's Basketball,
Vanderbilt Women's Hoops,
Walk Out Music,
Walk Out Songs,
Way Too Early Rankings,
Way Too Early Top 25 Rankings,
We Are Ole Miss,
Week 2 SEC Football Teleconference,
Week 6 SEC Football Teleconference,
Week in Review,
What They're Saying,
William & Mary,
William Winter Institute,
Women's Basketball; Yolanda Moore,
World Cup Brazil,
Year in Review,
Year In Review,