SEC: Collins Moore

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.

Opening spring camp: Ole Miss

March, 15, 2013
Schedule: The Rebels open spring practice at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, and will conclude the spring at 2 p.m. ET April 13 with the BancorpSouth Grove Bowl at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Practices are open to the public this spring.

What's new: After losing cornerbacks coach Wesley McGriff to the New Orleans Saints last month, the Rebels replaced him with former Oklahoma State assistant Jason Jones. Jones will coach Ole Miss' cornerbacks, and holds the title of co-defensive coordinator.

On the mend: Starting quarterback Bo Wallace will miss all of spring practice as he recovers from offseason clavicle surgery. Junior wide receiver Collins Moore will only take part in non-contact drills this spring, as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery. Junior left guard Aaron Morris is expected to miss spring drills after having shoulder surgery.

On the move: With Wallace out for the spring, senior Barry Brunetti will take the majority of the first-team snaps at quarterback, but there's a chance he could play multiple positions this fall when Wallace returns. Junior college transfer Quadarias Mireles arrived at Ole Miss this spring as an athlete and will start the spring at cornerback. Moore could play safety once his shoulder heals. Sophomore wide receiver Cody Core could also plays some safety this spring, and redshirt freshman Temario Strong is moving from defensive tackle to linebacker.

New faces: The Rebels welcomed Mireles and defensive tackle Lavon Hooks from juco this spring. Freshman running back Mark Dodson and freshman tight end Christian Morgan also enrolled early. Nick Brassell is also back with the team after going the juco route in 2012 due to academic issues. He was a two-way player for the Rebels at both receiver and cornerback as a freshman in 2011, but will start the spring at corner.

Question marks: The Rebels return four starters along the offensive line, but will be without their best lineman from a year ago in right guard A.J. Hawkins. Ole Miss has some solid options to work with this spring, but replacing a guy like Hawkins won't be easy. The Rebels have to replace their top three tight ends from last season, including full-time starter Ferbia Allen. Senior Justin Bigham, who mostly played on special teams last season, is the lone letterman returning to the position. Morgan and redshirt freshman John Youngblood will also compete there this spring. Starting kicker Bryson Rose is gone, leaving redshirt senior Andrew Ritter and freshman Andy Pappanastos to compete for that spot.

Key battle: The departure of Hawkins leaves the Rebels with a major hole on the offensive line. He had the best season of any of Ole Miss' offensive linemen last season, and replacing him will be very tough. Versatile senior Patrick Junen will take the first snaps at right guard this spring, but he will really be challenged by athletic sophomore Justin Bell. The coaches expect a few others to compete for Hawkins' old spot as well.

Breaking out: Sophomore defensive end Channing Ward arrived at Ole Miss last year with a lot of hype surrounding him. He played in 12 games, registering 21 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss, but much more is expected from him in Year 2. Ward has all the tools to be a major player up front for the Rebels. Senior wide receiver Philander Moore could be poised to have a big spring as well. He only played in eight games last season, catching four passes for 38 yards and touchdown, but he's been around the program long enough that the coaches are looking for him to take the next step. The coaches are also excited to see what redshirt junior defensive end Carlos Thompson and senior wide receiver Korvic Neat can do this spring.

Don't forget about: Senior linebacker D.T. Shackelford is finally back on the playing field after two straight years with knee injuries. Even during his absence from the playing field, he's still been one of the team's top leaders. That role should only expand with him coming back. He's an extremely versatile players, who has played well at both linebacker and defensive end during his career. He registered five sacks back in 2010 and was a part of the SEC All-Freshman team in 2009. He should be 100 percent this spring, and having him on the field this fall will instantly make this defense better.

All eyes on: Brunetti has had a very interesting career with the Rebels, but he's getting yet another chance to prove that he can be the quarterback when his number is called. Coach Hugh Freeze liked to switch Brunetti and Wallace in and out at times last seaosn, but Brunetti was used as more of a runner. This is a great chance for him to develop more as a passer and become an even bigger weapon for the Rebels this fall.

Lunchtime links

October, 9, 2012
What's all this baseball stuff I see on TV? Isn't it fall?
Ole Miss received some tough news on Monday when it was announced that junior safety Charles Sawyer will miss at least a month after tearing his quadriceps muscle during Sunday's practice.

Sawyer was second on the team with 70 tackles last year and led the Rebels with four interceptions last season.

First-year coach Hugh Freeze didn't have a lot of bodies to work with overall, and losing someone of Sawyer's stature really hurts. He has the ability to play all over and has solid coverage skills. Freeze felt pretty good about his secondary this spring and heading into fall camp, mainly because Sawyer was leading things back there.

The good news is that Sawyer won't be lost for the season. If he comes back in the four to six weeks that Freeze expects, he could be back for the Rebels' second game against UTEP. But it wouldn't be a surprise if he sat out until the Texas game on Sept. 15. Making sure Sawyer comes back 100 percent is the most important thing at this point.

It was also announced that sophomore wide receiver Collins Moore has a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He needs surgery, but he'll try rehab and attempt to play through the pain before surgery. Losing bodies at wide receiver can't happen for the Rebels, so Moore will try and play as along as he can at this point.

Rounding up some weekend SEC news

August, 6, 2012
Each SEC team completed its first weekend of fall practice, so let's take a look at some things that came out of team camps:
  • It looks like Georgia won't be down one of its top defensive backs after all. Coach Mark Richt announced that cornerback Branden Smith won't face suspension to start the season after Smith was arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession in March. Richt said he felt Smith didn't deserve to be suspended after he reviewed all of the facts of Smith's incident. This is a big break for the Bulldogs because it not only adds some much-needed depth in their defensive backfield but Malcolm Mitchell could now get back to offense earlier. And that's something Richt would like to see. For more from Georgia's camp, check out's DawgNation.
  • LSU didn't receive such great news over the weekend, as coach Les Miles confirmed that incoming freshman receiver Avery Johnson and offensive lineman Fehoko Faniaka won't enroll at LSU until January. "Both guys will be delayed in their reporting date based on qualification issues," Miles told reporters. "We would expect they would be here in January without any loss of eligibility. It's not optimal but it certainly isn't bad news. It's survivable." Johnson said he won't enroll this fall because the SAT score he was waiting on didn't qualify and he is headed to Hargrave Military Academy. For more from LSU's camp, check out's GeauxTigerNation.
  • Texas A&M will be down a couple of players this fall as well. Coach Kevin Sumlin announced on Friday that sophomore running back Will Randolph left the program. Randolph has played in one career game, where he rushed for 37 yards on 10 carries. Sumlin also said that freshman defensive lineman Edmond Ray didn't qualify academically and is headed down the junior college route. Junior tight end Hutson Prioleau has left the program after he met with Sumlin over the weekend. For more notes from Aggies camp, check out's GigEmNation.
  • Alabama linebacker Adrian Hubbard might have undergone two hernia surgeries during the offseason, but it hasn't slowed him in practice early on. Hubbard said he was limited in the conditioning department for about a month over the summer, but he's full go to start fall practice. "Everyone always thinks a hernia is a big deal, but I got back in probably a month," Hubbard said. "Right now it doesn't bother me anywhere." For more from Alabama's camp, check out's TideNation.
  • Missouri running back Henry Josey is being awfully optimistic about his chances of playing this season. Josey, who suffered a devastating knee injury in Week 9 of the 2012 season, said that there's a "good chance" he'll play this fall. Others around him might not be so ready to back Josey's statements, but Josey says he's "70-80" percent healthy right now. Josey ran some sprints, but watched most of practice with a red non-contact jersey on.
  • Ole Miss watched as four projected starters all went down with injuries Sunday, as safety Charles Sawyer (knee), defensive end C.J. Johnson (foot) and wide receivers Donte Moncrief (thigh) and Collins Moore (shoulder) all got banged up. Sawyer's injury will be monitored closely, as coach Hugh Freeze said there's an indention where the muscle pull is. "That can be something that could last all year if we don't get it well, so we'll try to make sure we get it well," Freeze said. "You just want to make sure it's nothing he'll miss significant time from." Moore could be out several days, but the other injuries aren't expected to be serious.



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