Turning The Corner

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Jeff Scott

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Jeff Scott
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

Oct. 15, 2013

By Lauren McMillin
Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations

One minute and seven seconds remain. Defeat is palpable. Regardless, the Rebels continue to play, determined to drive the ball down the field. Quarterback Bo Wallace takes the snap and hands the ball to running back Jeff Scott, with plans for Scott to run out of bounds to stop the clock. The next thing he knows, however, Scott is sprinting along the sidelines, dodging Commodores and refusing to put on the brakes until he prances into the endzone. Ole Miss has risen above Vanderbilt and the Commodores are stunned. Thanks to Scott, victory is in the hands of Rebel Nation.

Scott is key to the Rebel offense, but his lightning-quick speed and power did not emerge overnight. Scott’s ability has been a work in progress over the years, going all the way back to his early stages in life.

“My dad told me when I was around three years old, I used to run around the house all the time,” Scott said. “I think about age six, he took me out there to little league football, and that’s when I began playing football.”

A native of Miami, Fla., Scott began to seriously consider collegiate football at the start of his ninth grade year. Like many young athletes, he dreamed of becoming an NFL star, but he knew the path would be difficult.

“I always dreamed of playing in the NFL since the age of six, and to get to that route, you’ve got to go to college,” he said. “So I’m here.”

When it came down to choosing a college, Scott had options. “I had about six offers in total, and Ole Miss was my only SEC offer,” he said. “I just wanted to play in the best conference. I watched Dexter McCluster my senior year, and I saw we were pretty much similar backs, and I pictured myself doing what he was doing. So I was like, okay, that’s where I want to go.”

His first two seasons with the Rebels, Scott played under then-head coach Houston Nutt. At the start of his junior season, however, Scott and his teammates faced a new head coach (Hugh Freeze) with a new system, a drastic change that would turn around the Ole Miss program.

Scott had more adjustments to make than a new offense. In order to succeed, Scott knew he had to make his own changes.

“The difference between last year and this year is my decision making,” he said. “I watched film a lot this summer and (during) the spring. I saw a lot of mistakes that I made. Last year was my first time running this offense, so I wasn’t really familiar with the blocking schemes and the passing schemes.  This year I not only know what I have to do, (but also) what the receivers have to do and the offense has to do.”

Working with running backs coach Derrick Nix has helped propel Scott to success.

“It’s been huge, he’s been here since my freshman year, and he recruited me,” Scott said. “He’s like a second father figure to me, and I can go to him and talk to him about anything. He taught me and helped me and took my game to a whole new level. He’s a big reason why I’m successful now.”

While Scott has made improvements on the field, his new outlook has also helped him improve in the classroom, a change that was necessary if he wanted to remain with the Ole Miss program.

“I was struggling with academics,” he said. “When you first come to college, you’re wide-eyed, and everything is just so new to you. I’d never been so far from home by myself, and you just have to grow up. I think I have, and Coach Freeze helped me. Coach Freeze cares about the little things, whether you’re one minute late to class or one minute late to tutoring, and he’s right, he’s correct. I think once I noticed what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go in my life, I had to get my priorities right. Once I got my priorities right, I just started getting more successful.”

Setting his priorities straight has allowed Scott to move into a leadership position with the team.

“When I first came in as a freshman, I looked up to all the older guys, people like Brandon Bolden,” he said. “I know once he left, I had to fill some big shoes. The freshmen, they always look up to the older guys. That’s what I did when I first came in. I think that’s very important that you lead those guys down the right path. I’m always constantly giving advice, so they won’t make the same mistakes that I made when I was a freshman.”

As a senior, Scott hopes to leave his mark on the Rebels football program. “I would love to finish as the all-time leading rusher,” he said. “From what I was told, I would need about 926 yards. I probably want to take back maybe a couple more punt returns this year, but most importantly, I just want to win.”

Although this is his last year as a Rebel, Scott has big hopes for the team’s future.

“I know the program’s going to be successful,” he said. “It’s only going to get better. Coach Freeze, he’s running a great program. He changed the program around in a matter of a year, and so far, he’s started off the year pretty good. We still have a young team, so it’s only going to get better.”

With a general studies major, Scott hopes to have a chance to play in the NFL, but his ultimate desire is to give back to the people and communities that have given him so much over the years.

“I just want to coach one day,” he said. “Just get back to my community, whether it’s coaching in little league football or coaching high school, maybe one day I think I’d be able to coach at the college level being a running back coach.”

With two major runs at Vanderbilt and Texas, Scott is feeling optimistic about his final season. “It really motivates me a lot. I’m not satisfied, and as a team we’re not satisfied. We just have to continue to go out there and keep playing hard.”

Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    • Loading Tweets...
      1 second ago
    Blog
    • Rebels Knock Off Defending SEC Champs

      Wednesday, October 1, 2014 -

      Playing in front of a nationally-televised audience on the SEC Network, the Ole Miss volleyball team notched their biggest win of the season, knocking off defending SEC Champion Missouri in three sets. The win also snaps the Tigers' 20-match SEC... read more

    • Freeze, Saban Preview Saturday's SEC Showdown

      Wednesday, October 1, 2014 - Football

      Highlights from Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and Alabama head coach Nick Saban on the SEC teleconference Wednesday, ahead of Saturday's much-anticipated matchup. For the full SEC teleconference, go here. Alabama head coach Nick Saban (starts at 36:16 mark)... read more

    • Striking The Right Balance Offensively

      Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss has been held under 100 yards rushing in each of its last meetings with Alabama, a 33-14 loss in 2012 and a 25-0 loss in 2013. Running the ball effectively and finding a balance is one area, the... read more

    • 3 Things About Gameday - Ole Miss vs. Alabama

      Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - Football

      read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Sept. 22-28)

      Monday, September 29, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewSept. 22-28, 2014Football- No. 10 Ole Miss used a dominant defensive effort to put away Memphis 24-3 on Saturday, setting up one of the biggest games in recent history this coming Saturday against the Alabama... read more

    • PHOTOS: Week-Long Timeline of Powder Blues

      Monday, September 29, 2014 - Football

      1. Tuesday 9/23 at 4PM @CoachHughFreeze reveals the helmets to the @olemissfb team at team meeting. pic.twitter.com/8jpVCvny4p— OleMissPix (@OleMissPix) September 29, 2014 2. Wed 9/24 at 4PM @OleMissFB practice hidden indoors so that team practice in helmets for safety reasons. pic.twitter.com/vA0Oo6Ps7S— OleMissPix (@OleMissPix) September... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House

      Sunday, September 28, 2014 - Athletics

      It's Sunday, so that means it's time for this week's Observations from the Best Seat in the House. I'll handle the bulk of the notes this week, but we also have some insight from Austin Miller here as well. Let's... read more

    • Upset Bid Falls Short Against No. 10 A&M

      Sunday, September 28, 2014 - Soccer

      Seeking its first win over a top-10 team since 2009, Ole Miss took a 1-0 lead but fell short to No. 10 Texas A&M, 2-1, Sunday afternoon. "I'm really happy with the team's performance," head coach Matt Mott said. "I'm... read more

    • Defense Honors Mullins with Dominant Effort

      Saturday, September 27, 2014 - Football

      Wearing the lighter blue helmets for the first time since 1994 to honor the late Chucky Mullins, the Ole Miss defense also honored his memory with perhaps the most dominant defensive performance of the Hugh Freeze Era. "Chucky would have... read more

    • VIDEO: Ole Miss-Memphis Motivational

      Saturday, September 27, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss vs Memphis: Official Team Motivational from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Three and Out: Keys to Ole Miss-Memphis

      Saturday, September 27, 2014 - Football

      Three areas to watch as No. 10 Ole Miss faces Memphis Saturday. Battle of the Quarterbacks Ole Miss and Memphis have both gotten steady quarterback play, as both teams rank inside the top-15 nationally in scoring offense.  Senior quarterback Bo... read more

    • Rebels Rebound with Hard-Fought Draw

      Thursday, September 25, 2014 - Soccer

      Playing in their fourth overtime game of the season, the Ole Miss soccer team played Arkansas to a 1-1 double-overtime draw on Thursday night.  The teams combined for 30 shots, including 13 on goal, but the game was characterized more... read more

    • 3 Things About Gameday - Ole Miss vs. Memphis

      Thursday, September 25, 2014 - Football

      read more

    • Freeze Stresses Focus, Attention Ahead of Memphis

      Thursday, September 25, 2014 - Football

      Highlights from Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze's time on the SEC teleconference Wednesday, ahead of the Rebels' matchup with Memphis on Saturday (6:30 p.m. CT, Fox Sports Net). Freeze's time on the call begins at the 1:21:20 mark. For... read more

    • Memphis Not Fazed by Big Stage

      Wednesday, September 24, 2014 - Football

      Memphis is 2-1 heading into Saturday's matchup with wins over Austin Peay (63-0) and Middle Tennessee (36-17) and a 42-35 loss at No. 11 UCLA. The Tigers scored two early fourth-quarter touchdowns to tie the Bruins at 35-35 with 13:44... read more