Ole Miss’ spring football was an exciting time.
There are big expectations and a lot of big time talent.
This spring was also about getting everyone fully healthy and keeping them healthy. There are however a few holes and a few surprises on the depth chart as OleMissSports.com released their official Spring Review complete with a tentative roster.
Lets take a look at how the roster shapes up heading into the fall.
Everyone wants to talk about quarterback and the battle at the backup position between Ryan Buchanan and Devante Kincade. Is Buchanan performing better than Kincade? Is Kincade separating himself?
Well, according to this early roster, Kincade is the number two guy.
We know Laquon Treadwell (along with Cody Core) is moving out to take over the flanker position left open by Donte Moncrief, but it is somewhat interesting to note that career backup Collins Moore is listed ahead of Vince Sanders at the split end.
Adeboyejo and Quintavius Burdette are listed at the slot.
Markell Pack and Dayall Harris will come in as freshman in the fall and will have a shot to get on the field also.
They did not list 7-8 names on the roster at running back, but they could have. The official after spring roster shows I’Tavius Mathers number one, with Jaylen Walton, Mark Dodson and Jordan Wilkins behind him in that order.
This position is likely a 1a – 1b situation as Walton will get plenty of time on the field just like last year.
Juco transfer Akeem Judd will join the team in the fall and attempt to upset this order
Evan Engram, Nick Parker and Channing Ward are listed at the tight end position. This offense seems to work so much better with Evan Engram on the field. Adding Channing Ward to the position allows you to have a better blocking option on the goal line or in running situations. He is also a threat to catch the ball if you need to fake everyone out.
This is perhaps the most important position on the field. Specifically who takes over for long time center Evan Swindall? Ben Still is listed as the starter with Chase Hughes and JUCO transfer Craig Frigo will backup.
Sixth year senior Aaron Morris returns at left guard with converted d-lineman Carlton Martin behind him.
Justin Bell and Daronte Bouldin are listed at right guard.
Laremy Tunsil and juco transfer Talbot Buys hold down left tackle.
Right tackle is missing Austin Golson, but Robert Conyers and Davion Johnson are listed as number one and two.
This combination at right tackle is not a bad replacement for Golson. (who at least didn’t pull a Tuberville. He did give us a little notice). Davion Johnson can be a star on the line.
Many of these guys can slide over and play multiple positions which is nice, however you should notice how many of these guys are transfers or freshman or first year players. There are not many options if we have an injury.
My man, Cody Prewitt and his young protégé CJ Hampton will keep quarterbacks up at night at the free safety position.
Then add Trae Elson and Anthony Alford at Rover, you have potentially four starters at this position.
Once a position of two or three guys that honestly weren’t great, is now a position with good depth and it could get even better in the fall.
On the wide side of the field, senior Senquez Golson is number one with Cliff Coleman and Kailo Moore.
On the boundary side, Mike Hilton, Derrick Jones and Carlos Davis.
Hopefully, highly touted Juco Tee Shepard can make it to Oxford and we may have to play four cornerbacks as well.
There is no weakness here but I am personally concerned about the development behind the first string.
Serderius Bryant, Keith Lewis and Denzel Nkemdiche will cover the outside. Deterrian Shackelford, Christian Russell and Temario Strong cover the middle. Tonny Conner and Chief Brown are the nickel backs.
I’m really pulling for Temario Strong and Ray Ray Smith to force their way on the field. Ole Miss has three senior linebackers, but next year we get smaller and lose a lot of experience. This is the year to bring everyone up to speed.
Juco transfer Fadol Brown has edged out Carlos Thompson at one end and CJ Johnson and spring surprise true freshman Marquis Haynes hold down the other side of the line.
Robert Nkemdiche slides down to the tackle position ahead of Bryon Bennett and Issac Gross, Woodrow Hamilton and Lavon Hooks work at nose guard.
The run stopping ability will be there for this bunch, the question is can anyone get to the quarterback besides CJ Johnson and Carlos Thompson?
Senior Andrew Fletcher is listed as place kicker with Andy Pappanastos behind him.
Punters Will Gleeson, Grant Warren (both freshman)
Handling kickoffs will be Nathan Noble and Pappanastos.
Ryan Buchanan is listed as the starting holder? (Watch for the fake!)
Long snapper, Will Denny and Will Few.
Kicker returners are Jaylen Walton, Anthony Alford and Kailo Moore, while Carlos Davis and Adeboyejo will return punts.
I expect Pappanastos to take over most of the kicking duties before the year begins, which is frightening as he is a freshman.
I’m still holding out hope for Kailo’s Heisman campaign which could take off with a few nice kick returns.