Nickolas Brassell was in a deep enough hole academically when Hugh Freeze took the Ole Miss job back in December that Freeze never counted on having Brassell on the field next season.
Sure, Freeze was always hopeful and did all he could to help Brassell, one of the most dynamic freshmen in the SEC last season, but the official word came down Friday. Ole Miss announced that Brassell was academically ineligible and would transfer.
Brassell, who became the first Ole Miss player since 1988 to start on both offense and defense, missed all but a few practices this spring to try and get his academics in order. Ultimately, he didn't pass the required 18 credit hours over the last two semesters.
It's always tough to lose a player of his ability. Again, though, Freeze knew it was going to be a long shot for Brassell to be eligible.
The plan was to use him at cornerback and then play him situationally at receiver. The good news for the Rebels is that both Wesley Pendleton and Dehendret Collins had big springs, and there's also some depth at cornerback. Senquez Golson will be back from baseball in the fall after starting four games as true freshman at cornerback last season. Also, heralded signee Trae Elston will be on campus this summer.
The Rebels are still looking for more playmakers on offense, and Brassell would have certainly helped there. He also returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown last season.