SEC: Jesse Grandy

Grandy plans to transfer from Ole Miss

February, 9, 2011
2/09/11
10:47
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Ole Miss had hoped that Jesse Grandy would provide more big plays in the passing game last season, but that never really materialized.

Now, Grandy is gone. The Rebels' top kickoff and punt returner plans to transfer and won't return next season. He wants to be closer to home because of a family illness.

Even though Grandy caught just 20 passes last season, his speed made him a threat.

The Rebels will be looking for more of that speed, not to mention more big plays, from their playmakers next season. Markeith Summers led the team with six touchdown catches, but he was a senior. Melvin Harris and Ja-Mes Logan will both be back, and they combined for five touchdown catches. The 6-7 Harris was suspended for the finale against Mississippi State, but is back in good standing now after catching 30 passes as a sophomore.

Ole Miss signed one of its most heralded crop of receivers ever in this class, and you can bet a couple of those guys will find their way into the rotation next fall. Tobias Singleton of Madison, Miss., was an ESPNU 150 selection, while Nick Brassell of Batesville, Miss., was also a four-star prospect and ranked as the No. 29 receiver nationally. Donte Moncrief of Raleigh, Miss., was ranked 54th nationally among receiver prospects.

Running back Brandon Bolden led Ole Miss in receiving last season with 32 catches and had an excellent season, but the Rebels will need more production and more consistency out of their wide receivers in 2011 if that offense is going to take a step forward under new offensive coordinator David Lee.

The Rebels also signed junior college player Philander Moore, who's already enrolled in school. He's a strong candidate to step in for Grandy as Ole Miss' return guy.

SEC Players of the Week

October, 4, 2010
10/04/10
11:49
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The SEC league office has released its top performers for Week 5:

OFFENSE

LSU running back Stevan Ridley: He delivered his second straight 100-yard rushing performance with 123 yards on 22 carries against Tennessee, including the game-winning 1-yard touchdown run. Ridley is averaging an SEC-best 111.4 rushing yards per game.

DEFENSE

Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw: He finished with seven total tackles, including four for loss, in Alabama's 31-6 win over Florida. Upshaw also recovered a fumble at the Alabama 1 and had two pass deflections.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Ole Miss receiver Jesse Grandy: He accounted for 145 all-purpose yards, including a 73-yard punt return, in Ole Miss' 42-35 win over Kentucky. Grandy's punt return set up the Rebels' final touchdown. He has returns longer than 50 yards in each of his past two games.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Alabama guard Chance Warmack: He received the top grade on Alabama's offensive line in the 31-6 win over Florida. Warmack had key blocks on both of Mark Ingram's touchdown runs, and he didn't allow any sacks or pressures in the game.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Auburn tackle Nick Fairley: Three of his four tackles in the 52-3 thrashing of Louisiana-Monroe were for losses, and one of those was a sack. Fairley leads the SEC with 11.5 tackles for loss and five sacks.

FRESHMAN

Mississippi State running back LaDarius Perkins: He had a team-high 10 carries and rushed for 48 yards in the 49-16 win over Alcorn State. Perkins also had his first career touchdown in the game, a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter.

SEC position rankings: Special teams

July, 29, 2010
7/29/10
12:16
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Coaches will tell you that shoddy special teams play will lose you a game quicker than anything.

At the same time, superior special teams play can be the difference in playing to get to a nice bowl game and playing for championships.

Here’s a look at the top special teams units in the SEC heading into the 2010 season:

1. Georgia: Try finding a better place-kicker/punter combination anywhere in the country than Blair Walsh and Drew Butler. You won’t. Walsh was 20-of-22 on field goals. Butler averaged 48.1 yards a punt. The Bulldogs also led the league in net punting, and Brandon Boykin is back after tying an SEC record last season with three kickoffs returned for touchdowns. He’s not the only dangerous return man on the roster, either.

2. Florida: The Gators have consistently had the best special teams in the league since Urban Meyer arrived in 2005. That's not a coincidence. They will be right there at the top again this season. Nobody’s better than Florida at blocking kicks or covering kicks. Caleb Sturgis has unlimited range on field goals, and senior punter Chas Henry is back after averaging 43.4 yards a kick last season. Chris Rainey will see his role expand in the return game.

3. LSU: The Tigers have one of those clutch senior place-kickers that proves so valuable in the tight games. Josh Jasper was 6-of-8 on field goals over 40 yards. After missing a 52-yarder against Auburn, he connected on his last seven attempts. LSU was also first in the league in kickoff coverage and third in the league in net punting with Jasper and Derek Helton sharing those duties. Trindon Holliday is gone, but watch out for Patrick Peterson and Russell Shepard in the return game.

4. South Carolina: The Gamecocks struggled in kickoff coverage last season, but they’re strong everywhere else on special teams. It starts with senior Spencer Lanning, who handles the place-kicking and punting chores. He only missed once inside 40 yards, that lone miss coming in the first game, and he averaged 41.9 yards a punt. Stephon Gilmore will return punts, and he’s one of the most electrifying athletes in the SEC.

5. Auburn: Senior place-kicker Wes Byrum took his game to another level last season, making 15 of his 16 field goals. He doesn’t have the biggest leg in the league, but inside 45 yards he was automatic. The Tigers also return the SEC’s top kickoff returner, Demond Washington, who averaged 31.1 yards to rank sixth nationally. Washington had a 99-yard return for a touchdown. Senior Ryan Shoemaker will battle true freshman Steven Clark for the punting job. Clark was one of the top punter prospects in the country .

6. Vanderbilt: Anybody who kicks the ball to Warren Norman this season had better beware. He returned three kickoffs for touchdowns last season as a freshman on his way to leading the league in all-purpose yardage. Sophomore place-kicker Ryan Fowler made a nice recovery after a rocky start a year ago and has range up to 50 yards. The Commodores were fourth in kickoff coverage last season, but have to replace dependable punter Brett Upson.

7. Ole Miss: The first order of business is replacing place-kicker Joshua Shene, a four-year starter. Sophomore Bryson Rose and junior David Hankins both have big legs, but Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt is looking for consistency. The Rebels are strong everywhere else. Tyler Campbell was one of the best freshman punters in the country last season, averaging 44 yards a kick, and Jesse Grandy took two kickoff returns back for touchdowns.

8. Kentucky: If the Wildcats had a proven place-kicker, they’d probably be ranked several spots higher. Junior punter Ryan Tydlacka will also do the kicking this season. He tied for ninth in the league in punting last season and has excellent hang time. He hopes to give the Wildcats some consistency on field goals after Lones Seiber’s up-and-down career. Where Kentucky will be outstanding is the return game with Derrick Locke and Randall Cobb, both of whom had touchdowns last season.

9. Alabama: Just about all the key components from Alabama’s special teams units last season are gone, including All-America kicker Leigh Tiffin and record-breaking return man Javier Arenas. It looks like the Crimson Tide will have both a true freshman place-kicker (Cade Foster) and true freshman punter (Jay Williams). Alabama wasn’t particularly good in kickoff coverage last season, finishing 10th in the SEC. Julio Jones should give the Crimson Tide some pop in the return game.

10. Mississippi State: The Bulldogs still have a little battle going on as to whom will be doing their kicking and punting this season. There were times when they struggled in both departments last season and finished 11th in the league in net punting. However, junior Derek DePasquale took over the field goal duties midway through the season and ended up 10-of-12. The Bulldogs should be set in the return game with the Leon Berry-Chad Bumphis combo.

11. Tennessee: Tennessee and Arkansas were the only teams in the league to finish in the bottom four in both net punting and field goal kicking a year ago. The Vols were also next to last in kickoff coverage. Obviously, there’s a new staff in place, and Tennessee also has two new freshman kickers. More than anything, the Vols need to make a few field goals (or just keep them from being blocked), and that’s where high school All-American Michael Palardy comes in.

12. Arkansas: Inconsistency has plagued senior place-kicker Alex Tejada throughout his career, and it reared its head again this spring. The Hogs were also last in the SEC in net punting a year ago. The coverage units have improved with the addition of John L. Smith, the former Louisville and Michigan State head coach, to the staff. Dennis Johnson is one of the more dangerous return men in the league.
When you look at Ole Miss' roster for next season, there's a group of talented sophomores who really need to come through for the Rebels if they're going to stay at that nine-win level.

One of those sophomores is receiver Patrick Patterson, one of the most highly recruited players in Houston Nutt's second class at Ole Miss.

But unfortunately for Patterson (and unfortunately for the Rebels), he's well on his way to earning a dubious distinction that's not good for anyone in Oxford?

Can you say ... bust?

For the second time in less than a year, Patterson finds himself suspended for violating team rules. He won't be practicing this spring with the rest of the team. The Rebels open spring drills on Saturday.

Nutt acknowledged to reporters earlier this week that Patterson was down to his last chance. We'll see if he responds.

At 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, he has the physical tools to be a great receiver in this league. He's also one of those players who torments coaches. He looks like Randy Moss on one play and then runs the wrong route, drops a key pass or doesn't go full speed on the next few plays.

The first thing that has to change if Patterson is ever going to help the Rebels is his work ethic, and Nutt hasn't been shy about that.

"You saw the inconsistency this year," Nutt said. "You saw the dropped balls. He hasn’t been right. He hasn’t been the same, and you want that from him. We expect a lot from him and he knows that."

Missing 15 practices this spring sure isn't going to help Patterson in terms of being a better football player. But maybe it will make him a hungrier football player.

That one's on him.

In the meantime, Ole Miss has to prepare without him. Counting on Patterson at this point would be foolish.

Look for sophomores Melvin Harris and Jesse Grandy to play bigger roles in the Rebels' passing game. The 6-foot-7 Harris is especially intriguing, while Grandy has already shown in the return game that he can be a difference-maker.

It's also a big year for seniors Markeith Summers and Lionel Breaux. Four of Summers' 17 catches were touchdowns last season, and he averaged 23.2 yards per catch.

The Rebels are going to need big plays from somebody at receiver in 2010.

Auburn needs to hang on ... or else

October, 31, 2009
10/31/09
3:07
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Just when you thought that Auburn was going to run away from Ole Miss and snap its three-game losing streak, the Rebels jump right back into the game with a 82-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Jesse Grandy and a 79-yard touchdown run by Dexter McCluster.

It’s been one of the crazier games of the season in the SEC, as Auburn blocked the extra point after McCluster’s touchdown and leads 33-20 late in the third quarter.

Of course, it was a 31-7 lead for Auburn until the two big plays by Ole Miss.

The Tigers’ defense had been outstanding until McCluster’s touchdown run, one of their better performances of the season on that side of the ball.

This is a game Auburn simply can’t blow, or the Tigers’ season may officially be over.

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