- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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It was obvious back in the spring that junior college newcomer Damien Jackson was going to be a key component of Ole Miss' defense.
Defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix couldn't stop talking about Jackson's knack for being around the ball and making plays.
With senior free safety Fon Ingram scheduled to have arthroscopic knee surgery on Thursday, Jackson becomes even more important to the Rebels. He was already pushing to be a starter, but now it's a given. Ingram could miss up to four weeks after injuring his knee in Saturday's scrimmage.
Get ready to see a slew of new faces in the Ole Miss secondary this fall. The good thing with Jackson is that he's older and had a chance to go through spring practice. The backups, though, at safety are true freshman Brishen Matthews and redshirt freshman Dele Junaid, at least with Ingram sidelined. Matthews has been especially impressive during fall camp.
Redshirt freshman Charles Sawyer is also pushing to be a big part of the rotation at cornerback and is essentially a third starter right now.
The only holdover from last season in the Ole Miss secondary is senior strong safety Johnny Brown. Everybody else will be a first-time starter, and at least four of the players expected to be a part of the secondary rotation will be playing their first snaps in a major college game.