Friday, June 28, 2013
Strong and weak: Ole Miss Rebels
By Edward Aschoff
Every year, players come and go in college football. With the turnover, teams can either grow or take steps back.
It's time to check out Ole Miss' strongest position and weakest position heading into the 2013 season:
Strongest position: Wide receiver
The Rebels have a lot of talent coming back at wide receiver and should get use out of a highly ranked freshman as well. Everything starts with junior Donte Moncrief, who is still one of the most underrated receivers in the SEC. He'll enter the 2013 season riding a wave of momentum from a 2012 season in which he led Ole Miss with 66 catches for 979 yards and 10 touchdowns. He turned into one of the league's best deep threats, and while he doesn't possess elite speed, he isn't afraid to outmuscle defenders for the ball with his size (6-foot-3, 216 pounds). He'll get good help with Ja-Mes Logan and Vince Sanders both returning. Last year, they combined for 82 catches and 994 yards and five touchdowns. Philander Moore was dismissed this spring, but he'll likely be replaced by incoming frosh Laquon Treadwell, the top receiver in the 2013 recruiting class. Treadwell will eventually replace Moncrief and should make an immediate impact as a downfield threat. Collins Moore is another upperclassman who returns as well. There are some depth issues behind the top four guys, but the Rebels have a very strong starting lineup.
Weakest position: Tight end
Ole Miss is starting over at tight end with three seniors leaving. The Rebels had just one scholarship tight end on the roster this spring -- and true freshman Christian Morgan suffered a torn meniscus, leaving his status for the upcoming season unknown. Coming out of spring, walk-on senior Jack Nuismer was listed No. 1 on the Rebels' depth chart, but he hasn't caught a pass in his career. What certainly doesn't help is that freshman A.J. Jackson was ruled academically ineligible for the 2013 season, meaning the Rebels will have throw incoming freshman Evan Engram into the fire immediately this fall. The Rebels just don't have quality bodies at this position.