Our former players continue to excel in the NFL, and this week provided another reminder. 49ers stud Patrick Willis was named to the Pro Bowl once again,
becoming the first player in that franchise's rich history to go Pro
Bowling in each of his first six seasons. Willis' selection makes a
Rebel to be chosen for 15 of the last 17 Pro Bowls, including three
representatives for the 1999 and 2012 all-star games.
leading a defensive unit that led the NFL for much of the season, Willis
also picked up conference player of the week honors in week 4 of the
campaign. He is one of three Rebels garner the weekly accolade this year,
joining Cassius Vaughn in week 13 (defense) and Micheal Spurlock in week
16 (special teams). Here are highlights of their award-winning
The December signing period started today, and the Rebels already received paperwork from three talented football players - JUCO transfer Quadarias Mireles and graduating high school seniors Mark Dodson and Christian Morgan. Here are some clips of the newest Rebels that are floating around youtube.
Quadarias Mireles, ATH, Delray Beach, Fla. (Atlantic/Hinds CC) - Q is #3 in the highlights
Mark Dodson, RB, Memphis, Tenn. (Whitehaven)
Christian Morgan, TE, Plano, Texas (Prestonwood Christian Academy)
QB - Eli Manning (New York Giants)
RB - BenJarvus Green-Ellis (Cincinnati Bengals)
WR - Dexter McCluster (Kansas City Chiefs) & Mike Wallace (Pittsburgh Steelers)
OT - Michael Oher (Baltimore Ravens) & Bobby Massie (Arizona Cardinals)
OG - John Jerry (Miami Dolphins)
DE - Greg Hardy (Carolina Panthers)
DT - Peria Jerry (Atlanta Falcons)
ILB - Patrick Willis (San Francisco 49ers)
CB - Cassius Vaughn (Indianapolis Colts)
FS - Kendrick Lewis (Kansas City Chiefs)
Since the bowl destination was determined on Sunday, athletics department staff have been working hard on preparations for the Rebels' trip to the seventh annual BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 5. We're just five days out from the announcement, and ticket sales are already around 16K. Visit the athletics ticket site if you have not ordered yours. I'm not sure if Birmingham has ever seen the party that Rebel Nation will be bringing to town.
Because I've been asked, here are a few items of interest on bowl week: - The team will report to Birmingham on January 1. - The official team hotel is the Sheraton Birmingham. Unfortunately there are no rooms left for bowl week. - The team will practice at Birmingham Southern. - The BBVA Compass Street Fest will be Friday, January 4 from 2 to 8 p.m. at Five Points South with a team pep rally from 5 to 6 p.m. Visit Bowl Central for a complete list of events for bowl week. - Ole Miss will be the home team for the game. - The official fan color for the game is red. Dress appropriately.
If you are among the unfortunate few that cannot make the trip, olemisssports.com will have daily reports, including video and photos, from the Magic City on all of the happenings of bowl week. Visit Bowl Central to make your plans, and we look forward to seeing you there.
As a freshman in college, Devin Britton took the nation by storm becoming the youngest NCAA Singles Champion in men's tennis history and just the third freshman ever to win the event. One of the other two in that select company is seven-time grand slam singles champion John McEnroe.
If you take a look at the top 100 on the ATP Tour, probably less than a handful played collegiate tennis. John Isner, who achieved a career-high No. 9 in the world and played four years at Georgia, is a rare exception to the rule.
Britton's goal is to get to that same stage one day. Since turning pro in the summer of 2009, he has played on the Futures and Challengers Circuit. This past year the results started to show the hard work and improvement that Britton has made in his game.
Playing in 24 tournaments in 2012, Britton achieved a career-high ranking of No. 129 in doubles and No. 404 in singles including 12 titles, 11 in doubles.
"I feel good about the progress I have made this year. I feel like the hard work is definitely starting to pay off," Britton said. "There is a lot of work left to be done though. I still have a lot of room for improvement. I look forward to keeping the numbers moving in the right direction in 2013."
To see how far Britton has come, you have to know where he started. Unlike his professional counterparts in other team sports, Britton didn't get to walk in on a Super Bowl contending team and experience a high level of success right away. He started his pro career ranked somewhere over a 1,000 in both singles and doubles. That's a long way away from the current No. 1 player in the world, Novak Djokovic.
Steadily improving since making his debut at the 2009 U.S. Open against the greatest player ever (Roger Federer), Britton began the 2012 season No. 741 in singles and No. 358 in doubles before his year-end rise.
"I think I have definitely matured a lot since I first hit the tour," he said. "It is easy to let the losses get to you out here. I think it takes time to learn how to handle the ups and downs of the tour. I have definitely gotten stronger physically and mentally along the way as well."
Britton has visited Ole Miss many times since he left, including attending this past Saturday's "Egg Bowl" win over arch-rival Mississippi State. His former coaches and teammates still keep up with him and are not surprised by his results.
"We always believed that it was just a matter of time before Devin was going to make a jump," said Rebel associate head coach Toby Hansson. "We are really excited for him and look forward to following his continued progress in 2013."
Britton's most recent title came at the JMS Challenger in Champaign, Ill., two weeks ago, where he teamed up with fellow NCAA Champion Austin Krajicek (Texas A&M) for their fifth title of the year.
"Austin and I grew up playing together at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla. I have known him forever, and we know each other's games very well," Britton said. "We complement each other well on the doubles court. He is also left-handed, which is a bonus.
"He won the NCAA doubles title for Texas A&M in 2011, so the only downside is having to see his maroon attire all the time," Britton continued, laughing. "I'm only kidding, but yes we will continue to play together next year. I am hoping we will get our rankings up enough to get into the French Open and Wimbledon next year."
There is limited time for Britton to reflect on this past season's accomplishments, because 2013 is right around the corner.
"The next step is to continue to improve. I have to bust it in December to get ready for a big 2013," he said.
They said it was as if no time had passed since they'd last seen each other. In reality, it had been months, and former Rebel volleyball players Morgan Springer and Regina Thomas were no longer in Oxford, Miss., digging and killing their way into the Ole Miss record books, instead, they were walking the historic and beautiful streets of Denmark.
Life has changed in a big way for the former Ole Miss libero and middle blocker, but volleyball remains a constant. Springer, the Ole Miss career digs record holder, lives in Brondby, Denmark, which sits about 20 minutes outside Copenhagen. Thomas, a two-time All-America selection by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, lives in Ljungby, Sweeden.
For Springer, life overseas has been wonderful. She lives with two other Americans and a Brazilian, and said she has loved learning about the country and its culture.
"I have noticed people in Denmark are very eco-friendly," Springer said. "Everyone here recycles and most people take public transportation or rides bikes. We ride our bikes daily to the gym and to the grocery. I have also noticed there is a lot more history to be seen here in Denmark. The towns and cities in Denmark are filled with very old buildings and streets. It's pretty awesome to walk down the streets of the city and experience all the history around me."
The volleyball season for Springer lasts seven months. Four matches in, the Louisville, Ky., native's team is currently atop the Danish league, but with three matches against each team in the league, there is still a lot of volleyball to be played. Recently, Springer's team swept a hard fought match, and she was named the Player of the Game following their first match of the season.
Thomas is playing for the Ljungby Volleyball Klub, where her head coach was an assistant at the 2012 Olympics with the Great Britain men's team. Thomas said one of the differences between the play in Europe and back home is the independence.
"You really have to be responsible for yourself," Thomas said. "Our coaches trust us to do our own workouts. There's no one over your shoulder, but you better make sure you're doing what you need to be doing or it'll show."
Similar to Springer, the season is young for Thomas' team, but she has already been named player of the game twice in her team's first five matches.
A few weeks ago, the two former Ole Miss stars got to get together in Denmark and relished the opportunity to catch up.
"It was great to see Regina in Denmark," Springer said. "She was the first person I had seen from home that I knew before coming to Denmark. It was like no time had passed since we had last seen each other. I was able to take her into the city and show her around."
"Seeing Morgan was great," Thomas said. "I drove with my coach, who was actually meeting his girlfriend there, and then I took a train into her town. Figuring out the train on my own was quite the adventure, but we had a great time. We went into the city, did some shopping, had dinner with her roommates and just hung out. I actually got to watch her play the next day too which was nice. She has a very talented group of girls on her team."
While Thomas is enjoying her time overseas, she said there is one thing she misses that she didn't think she would.
"I miss school," Thomas said. "I just miss that challenge. When we're here our only focus is volleyball, nothing else. Back at home we had more to juggle and I found that fun."
Senior Day is rapidly approaching for our football team, and one of the many good guys in this class is running back Devin Thomas, who has piled up the accolade off the field. Among them, the San Antonio native was named to the SEC Community Service Team, Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges and the university's Outstanding Junior in the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering. Devin was the subject of a recent feature on the main site as well as the following interview with the Geology department.
Former NCAA Doubles Champion Mahesh Bhupathi has won 12 grand slam titles during his illustrious pro career, but the one thing he has yet to take home is the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals trophy. Four times a runner-up, Bhupathi will get another shot at the elusive trophy today with his current partner and fellow countryman, Rohan Bopanna, as the two take on the Spanish team of Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez in the final.
Tennis Channel will air the final at Noon CT. This match will serve as an appetizer to the main course, the singles final featuring Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
Bhupathi and Bopanna, who won the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy in Paris last week, reached the finals in London for the first time as a duo, beating Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek in three sets. Click here for a recap of Bhupathi and Bopanna's thrilling semifinal win on Sunday.
On hand in London this week to watch their former teammate are a couple of Rebel standouts themselves--All-Americans Johan Landsberg and Ali Hamadeh, who teamed up with Bhupathi to win the 1995 NCAA Doubles title.
At Ole Miss, we strive to have the best possible gameday experience at all of our venues. We pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service and useful amenities as well as using audio and video to create an environment that gives our Rebels a home court advantage.
While a new arena is on the horizon, we recognize the need to constantly improve Tad Smith Coliseum. Here are some changes that you'll see at tonight's basketball doubleheader:
- Approximately six traffic coordinators have been added around campus to improve the flow of traffic pre-game and post-game.
- All ticket takers and security personnel have been given extensive customer service training.
- Exterior graphics at the main entrance will be installed over the next several weeks.
- To encourage student participation, the student section has been rebranded "Club Red."
- The student section has been completely repainted to align with the Club Red concept.
- All exterior doors with the exception of the student entrance have been painted grey.
- All portal signage has been made more efficient, therefore eliminating clutter.
- Additional signage has been added for restrooms.
- Various in-bowl signage has been updated.
- Various areas of the concourse and restrooms have been repainted, with additional aesthetic improvements coming.
- A new "leg room" section has been created. To learn more, call the UMAA Foundation at: 888-REB-TKTS.
- All carpet in the court side seating section has been replaced.
- All chairs in the court side seating section will be replaced in January.
- In-seat wait service will be available to all patrons in the court side seating section.
- Queue lines for concessions have been added to reduce congestion in the concourse.
- TVs will be added near concessions locations.
- Chops BBQ has been added between portals 6 & 7.
- Chick-fil-A and Papa Johns have been located between portals 13 & 14.
- A brand new Rebel Grill has been added outside portal 3 and will service fresh grilled burgers with homemade chips.
- The popular refillable souvenir soda has been added to the concessions offering for only $5.
- Bottled water price has been reduced from $4 to $3 at all basketball games.
- Kids meals (hot dog, chips, and CapriSun) have been added for $5.
- The informative bottom line "ticker" will be present on the video board at all times.
- Look for a new and improved www.olemisshoops.com next week as we transition the site into a gameday central. It will feature all of the upcoming game information including promotions, a feedback button for all fans, and much more.
The women tip-off at 5:30 p.m. and the men tip-off at 8:00 p.m. So come check out the Rebels. Don't worry about dinner, because with all of the new food amenities, we have everything you need. See you at the game!
GREAT JOB THIS YEAR GUYS - WISHING THE REBELS THE VERY BEST IN THE COMPASS BOWL - LETS PICK A FIGHT WITH PITT AND SHOW THEM WHAT OUR REBELS ARE ALL ABOUT. HOTTY-TODDY - GO REBELS. BE BLESSED AND GOOD LUCK!
Very awesome to hear Dori!! I am a very fortunate to be able to caddie in Portland's Safeway Classic every year and this year had caddied for a good friend of yours (Lacey) and met you. I see great things in your future Dori. Keep up the good work