Ole Miss Football Spring Review

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Mike Marry was named the Chucky Mullins Courage Award winner this spring. (photo by Joshua McCoy)

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Mike Marry was named the Chucky Mullins Courage Award winner this spring. (photo by Joshua McCoy)
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

May 8, 2013

Spring Review (PDF)

The last few months have created quite a buzz with Ole Miss Football.

In its first season under the leadership of Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss won seven games and earned the program’s first bowl berth since 2009. A 41-24 rout of Mississippi State made the Rebels bowl eligible, and they capped off the season with a 38-17 triumph over Pitt in front of an ecstatic fan base at the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham.

The momentum was bolstered the next month by the best recorded signing class in school history, ranked as high as No. 2 nationally by 247Sports and No. 5 by ESPN.

A fast-paced series of spring practices followed in March and April. Despite a number of injuries that sidelined some of the Rebels' top players, the spring was capped in front of approximately 28,000 fans at the 2013 BancorpSouth Grove Bowl inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

Freeze and the Rebel coaching staff welcome back 58 lettermen from last season, including 19 of 22 position starters, and look to speed up their tempo offense even more in 2013.

Below is a position-by-position breakdown after the conclusion of spring drills.

QUARTERBACKS
• Returning starter Bo Wallace was held out of any throwing drills this spring after offseason clavicle surgery.
• Wallace won the 2012 Conerly Trophy after passing for the third-most yards (2,994) and fourth-most TDs (22) in a season in school history.
Barry Brunetti and Maikhail Miller saw the majority of spring snaps.
• Brunetti was fourth on the team in rushing last year (277 yards), with three touchdowns.
• Signees Ryan Buchanan and Devante Kincade will join the team in the fall.

RUNNING BACKS
• Six lettermen return, including leading rusher Jeff Scott (846 yards).
I'Tavius Mathers won the Eli Manning Award as the team's most improved offensive player in the spring.
• Two lettermen were lost to graduation, including co-starter Randall Mackey.
• Scott ranks 9th in school history with 1,804 rushing yards, 9th with 2,966 all-purpose yards and 10th with 15 rushing TDs.
• Rising sophomores Jaylen Walton and Mathers combined for 152 rushing yards in the BBVA Compass Bowl win.
• Highly rated signee Mark Dodson enrolled early out of high school and joined the team for spring drills. He showed off good skills, as did Hinds CC transfer Darryan Ragsdale.
• Other highly rated signees – Eugene Brazley, Kailo Moore and Jordan Wilkins – will join the team in the fall.

WIDE RECEIVERS
• Eight of nine WRs that lettered last year are back, including starters Donte Moncrief and Vince Sanders.
• Moncrief tied the school record with 10 TD catches and racked up 979 receiving yards last year.
• The wideouts accounted for 16 of the team’s 24 TD catches a year ago.
• Others who contributed during the spring were Ja-Mes Logan, Korvic Neat, Cody Core, Jordan Holder and Quadarias Mireles.
Collins Moore only participated in non-contact drills this spring as he recovered from shoulder surgery.
• Three WR signees, including highly rated recruits Laquon Treadwell and Quincy Adeboyejo, will join the team in the fall.

TIGHT ENDS
• Ole Miss has to replace the top three TEs from last year, including full-time starter Ferbia Allen, who was picked up by the Miami Dolphins as a rookie free agent.
Justin Bigham, who played mostly on special teams, is the lone letterman returning.
• Other players who stepped into the rotation this spring included early enrollee freshman Christian Morgan, along with non-scholarship TEs Matt Brown, Jack Nuismer and Dylan Dyer.
• Morgan missed the second half of spring with a knee injury.
• Joining the team in the fall will be signees Evan Engram and A.J. Jackson.

OFFENSIVE LINE
• The Rebels return four of five starters from last year – left tackle Emmanuel McCray, left guard Aaron Morris, center Evan Swindall and right tackle Pierce Burton.
• Starting right guard A.J. Hawkins graduated and was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs as a rookie free agent.
• Swindall won the team's J. Richard Price Courage and Compassion Award in the spring.
• Morris missed spring drills recovering from shoulder surgery, while Darone Bailey (knee) and Patrick Junen (toe) also missed practice time with injuries.
• A total of 11 lettermen return along the OL.
• Candidates to compete for the starting job at right guard include Junen and Justin Bell.
• Four signees will join the team this fall, including highly rated recruits Laremy Tunsil and Austin Golson.

DEFENSIVE ENDS
• Three lettermen return from last year, including starters C.J. Johnson and Cameron Whigham.
• The Rebels lost Jason Jones and E.J. Epperson to graduation. Epperson was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs as a rookie free agent.
• Johnson led the team with 6.5 sacks in 2012. He suffered a fracture in his fibula during the first week of spring, but his return by fall camp is expected.
• Johnson's absence allowed back-ups Channing Ward and Carlos Thompson to get more reps with the first team this spring.
• The ends helped Ole Miss lead all SEC teams and rank 4th in the nation in TFLs (7.9/game) and rank 2nd in the SEC and 11th nationally in sacks (2.9/game) in 2012.
• Ole Miss signed the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit, Robert Nkemdiche, who will join the team in the fall.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES
• Four of six lettermen return from last year, including starters Issac Gross and Bryon Bennett.
Gilbert Pena and Uriah Grant were lost to graduation. Both were picked up as rookie free agents by NFL teams.
• Gross missed most of the spring recovering from sports hernia surgery, which allowed Woodrow Hamilton and Carlton Martin to earn more reps in his stead.
• Gross was a first team Freshman All-America pick after racking up 40 tackles, 10.0 TFLs and 2.5 sacks.
• The tackles helped Ole Miss lead all SEC teams and rank 4th in the nation in TFLs (7.9/game) and rank 2nd in the SEC and 11th nationally in sacks (2.9/game).
• Top-rated JUCO signee Lavon Hooks joined the team for spring drills and showed impressive athleticism.

LINEBACKERS
• Five lettermen return, including starters Denzel Nkemdiche (OLB) and Mike Marry (MLB).
• Three lettermen were lost, including senior contributors Joel Kight and Aaron Garbutt.
• Nkemdiche was a first team Freshman All-America pick and second team All-SEC selection after leading the team in tackles, TFLs, forced fumbles and interceptions.
• Senior D.T. Shackelford returned to the practice fields after missing two years due to knee injuries and provided immediate energy and leadership.
• Also contributing this spring were Serderius Bryant, Keith Lewis and Temario Strong.

SAFETIES/HUSKIES
• Seven lettermen return, including starters Cody Prewitt (Free Safety), Trae Elston (Rover) and Dehendret Collins (Huskie), who is now at cornerback.
Chief Brown won the Jeff Hamm Memorial Award as the team's most improved defensive player in the spring.
• Brown, Quintavius Burdette, Mike Hilton and Brishen Mathews also saw extensive game action last year.
• Highly rated signee Tony Conner will join the team in the fall.

CORNERBACKS
• The Rebels return all but two lettermen at cornerback, including starters Senquez Golson and Charles Sawyer.
• Departed senior Wesley Pendleton signed a rookie free agent deal with the Tampa Bay Bucs.
• Golson tied for the team lead with three interceptions last year.
• Sawyer has started 25 consecutive games for Ole Miss, between corner, strong safety and free safety. He missed the latter portion of the spring with a sprained knee.
• JUCO transfer Nick Brassell made an impact at corner this spring, as well as converted running back Carlos Davis, Dehendret Collins and Anthony Standifer.
• Brassell was a two-way standout at WR and CB for Ole Miss as a freshman in 2011 before transferring to East Mississippi CC.

SPECIALISTS
• Redshirt seniors Tyler Campbell (punter) and Andrew Ritter (kicker) return to lead the special teams group.
• Last year’s starting punter, Jim Broadway, and kicker, Bryson Rose, graduated.
• Other specialists returning include holder Chris Conley and long snapper Will Denny.
• January enrollee Andy Pappanastos should also compete for a kicking role.

Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    • Loading Tweets...
      1 second ago
    Blog
    • Five Rebels Tabbed Preseason All-SEC in The Birmingham News

      Tuesday, June 30, 2015 -

      Five Ole Miss Rebels were chosen as preseason All-SEC selections by some of the people who work closest with the student-athletes, the football media relations directors. The 14 football media relations directors of the Southeastern Conference institutions voted in the... read more

    • Lindy's Sports Gives Seven Rebels Preseason Recognition

      Wednesday, June 24, 2015 -

      The preseason accolades just don't stop for the Ole Miss football team. Everywhere you look, Rebels can be found on preseason All-America teams. Lindy's Sports recognized seven Rebels for preseason honors, including four All-Americans. Four Ole Miss Football Rebels were... read more

    • Five Rebels Named Preseason All-America by Athlon Sports

      Tuesday, June 23, 2015 -

      With the season just 74 days away, members of the 2015 Ole Miss football team continue to earn recognition on Preseason All-America lists. Athlon Sports, the latest media outlet to release its 2015 college football preseason All-America team, gave five... read more

    • Sporting News Tabs Four Rebels to Preseason All-America Teams

      Monday, June 15, 2015 - Football

      Preseason All-America football teams continue to roll in, and Ole Miss has been well represented each time.Today, the Sporting News unveiled its preseason All-America first and second teams, which includes a total of four Rebels.OT Laremy Tunsil and DT Robert... read more

    • Athlon Sports Names Nine Rebels Preseason All-SEC

      Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - Football

      Individual preseason accolades continue to pile up for the Ole Miss football team as college football magazines look toward the 2015 season. Athlon Sports is the latest magazine to release its preseason all-conference teams, June 10; the magazine named nine... read more

    • Eleven Rebels Garner Phil Steele Preseason Honors

      Monday, June 1, 2015 - Football

      The start of summer heat and vacations is also the start of another tradition - preseason college football magazines.One of the first to produce a magazine every year is Phil Steele, whose 2015 version includes about as many Ole Miss... read more

    • Football Signees Report for Summer Classes

      Friday, May 29, 2015 - Football

      Although they will not begin competing for the Rebels until the fall, several members of the 2015 signing class have arrived at Ole Miss to begin their college journey this summer. The first of two summer sessions offered at the... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (April 28-May 4, 2015)

      Monday, May 4, 2015 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewApril 28-May 4, 2015Baseball - The Rebels started the week defeating the Bulldogs, 11-1 in the annual Governor's Cup. The 10-run win for the Rebels marked the largest margin of victory in the 36-year history... read more

    • VIDEO: Rebel Road Trip 2015

      Monday, May 4, 2015 - Athletics

      Rebel Road Trip 2015 from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • More on Steelers' Selection of Golson

      Friday, May 1, 2015 - Football

      Welcome to Pittsburgh...and welcome to #SteelersNation, @Quez_G! #SteelersDraft pic.twitter.com/oY8wZc10Kk-- Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 2, 2015 Congrats Senquez Golson! Drafted 56th overall in the 2015 #NFLDRAFT by the Pittsburgh Steelers. #HottyToddy #FinsUp pic.twitter.com/EPGayDNOu7-- Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) May 2, 2015 Ole... read more

    • Six Rebels Among Inaugural Scott County HOF Class

      Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - Athletics

      Six men with ties to Ole Miss were part of the inaugural class of 25 athletes and coaches inducted into the Scott County Hall of Fame this past Saturday at Roosevelt State Park in Morton. It is believed that this... read more

    • Freeze, Tuohy Conclude Play at Charity Golf Tournament

      Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - Football

      In a tie for 7th place at 7-under, @OleMissFB takes home $30,000 in charity and scholarship. #CFAPBGolf pic.twitter.com/qd0JzilyYR-- #CFAPBGolf (@CFAPeachBowl) April 28, 2015 The Ole Miss team of head football coach Hugh Freeze and Sean Tuohy turned in a strong... read more

    • Tennis Teams React to NCAA Tournament Selections

      Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - Men's Tennis

      The Ole Miss men's and women's tennis team learned their postseason destinations, as the men's and women's NCAA Tournament fields were announced Tuesday. The men, ranked No. 13 in the nation, are the No. 14 overall seed and will be... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (April 21-27, 2015)

      Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewApril 21-27, 2015Baseball - During the five-game homestand, Ole Miss went 3-2 with a midweek win over Central Arkansas as well as claiming a weekend series over Alabama.  - The Rebels recorded 68 hits throughout... read more

    • Freeze Wins Long Drive Competition

      Monday, April 27, 2015 - Football

      With a distance of 287-yards, the 2015 #CFAPBGolf Coaches Division Long Drive Champion is @CoachHughFreeze! pic.twitter.com/ProCdgbbg9-- #CFAPBGolf (@CFAPeachBowl) April 27, 2015 Ole Miss head football coach Hugh Freeze took home the long drive title at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge... read more