Is Ole Miss ‘Wide Receiver University?’


With so many schools attempting to stake their claim as ‘linebacker U’ or ‘quarterback U’ or any position, really, it’s hard to make sense of which school has dibs on which positions. It has become cliche to even claim a position as your own, because, well, what’s the point? If 10-plus other schools are claiming that position, too, it’s hard to establish that particular position as your own. With that said, other than being something fans like to boast about, the ‘(enter position here)U’ can be quite the recruiting pitch to prospective recruits.

"“Everyone’s goal is to get to the NFL.”  “It makes recruiting easier when you show them the guys who’ve done it before them,” Ole Miss wide receiver coach Grant Heard."

And as is common knowledge, it seems, recruiting runs things for lack of a better way of saying it.

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s becoming harder and harder for any university to argue against Ole Miss being the current wide receiver U or WRU, though. It started with the production of Donte Moncrief and the “Feed Moncrief” phenomenon, which in turn helped them land Laquon Treadwell. Once those two were Rebels the case was already being made for Ole Miss to be able to claim themselves to be WRU. After all, you only need two guys who are fresh in the minds of fans for them to claim a position. However, while maybe it was premature then, it’s becoming real now. Moncrief is making a name for himself in NFL circles, Treadwell just capped off a fantastic college career and could end up as the first receiver off the board in the upcoming NFL Draft and other highly-rated receivers have matriculated to Oxford to follow in their footsteps.

The arrival of Hugh Freeze brought an awakening for the passing game, therefore, creating a receiver-friendly offense. Just take a look at Moncrief’s numbers from 2011, his sophomore season and Houston Nutt’s final season: 31 catches for 454 and four touchdowns. Then in 2012, his junior campaign and Freeze’s debut season: 66 catches for 979 yards and 10 touchdowns. And as I mentioned, his professional career is beginning to take shape, as well. In two NFL seasons as an Indianapolis Colt he has totaled 96 catches for 1,177 yards and nine touchdowns.

"“Those guys are all talented,” Hugh Freeze said of his receivers to Edward Aschoff of"

Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /

Treadwell picked up where Moncrief left off. Last season he became on the second receiver in Ole Miss history have more than 1,000 receiving yards in a season(Shay Hodge was the first in 2009) when he caught 82 passes for 1,153 yards and 11 touchdowns. Treadwell finished his career with 202 receptions for 2,393 yards and 21 touchdowns. He put a cherry on top of his chocolate fudge sundae of a career by catching three touchdowns against Oklahoma State in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day.

Prolific numbers aren’t the only things Moncrief and Treadwell have in common, though, as both became larger-than-life figures during their time at Ole Miss. Moncrief, as I mentioned, became famous for a video made by two students about his exploits. While Treadwell became beloved for his charming smile and magnetic personality. Not only did prospective recruits want to follow in their footsteps, but they wanted to play alongside those guys. While Freeze was able to sell recruits on being able to put up similar numbers as those two guys, they were creating relationships that were also drawing the guys to Ole Miss. Just check out Moncrief and Treadwell on Twitter, they are ace recruiters.

Also worth noting is Cody Core, whom Freeze signed as a two-star recruit in the 2012 class. He put on quite an impressive performance recent NFL combine testing, including 4.45 40-yard dash after measuring in at nearly 6’3. Core progressed well over his final two seasons as a Rebel and some feel that he will have a future in the NFL due to his size and speed.

Now let’s take a look at what is currently on the roster for the 2016 season:


Nov 29, 2014; Oxford, MS, USA; Mississippi Rebels wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo (8) catches the ball as Mississippi State Bulldogs defensive back Jamerson Love (5) defends at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The Rebels won 31-17. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 29, 2014; Oxford, MS, USA; Mississippi Rebels wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo (8) catches the ball as Mississippi State Bulldogs defensive back Jamerson Love (5) defends at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The Rebels won 31-17. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports /

Quincy Adeboyejo is perhaps the fastest receiver on the team and he flashed that speed on this particular play last season. That play turned the tide, no pun intended, for the Rebels last season. Adeboyejo totaled 38 catches for 604 yards and seven touchdowns last season. He has been particularly effective downfield on seam routes in his career, but will have to expand his game next season as he is the Rebels’ best combination of talent and experience coming back.

Derrick Jones seemed poised to breakout in 2015. In fact, many teammates hinted as much prior to the season. His career has seen its twists and turns, as he was recruited as an athlete before contributing as a cornerback his freshman season. His sophomore season was slowed due to a transition back to receiver. Last season he was unable to take advantage of early opportunities and never showed a consistent ability to catch the football from Fall practice on. His speed makes him a potentially dangerous target on the outside. Perhaps he can replace the production left behind by Core, but he has to start nabbing the ball out of the air more regularly.


Damore’ea Stringfellow seemed to have turned a corner in the Egg Bowl last season catching five passes for 84 yards and two touchdowns. His talent is unrivaled by any returning receiver with significant experience for the Rebels and his size draws the inevitable comparisons to Treadwell. If he comes anything close to that comparison next season, I think there will be no questioning Ole Miss as WRU.

Markell Pack has been a quiet, but effective performer in his time so far in Oxford. A 4-star coming out of Purvis, Mississippi, the Rebels fought to pry him from Florida State. Not only will there be more opportunity for him in 2016, but he is a guy who has shown he is not afraid to go over-the-middle to make tough grabs. With plenty of players who the speed, size and skill set to play outside, the Rebels will need a receiver to go make catches in the middle of the field in 2016 and Pack should be just the man for the job.

Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports /


Damarkus Lodge was considered one of the top prep receivers in the 2015, earning five-stars. The Cedar Hill, Texas, native followed his good friend Adeboyejo to Oxford. However, he also wanted to make an impact similar to that of Treadwell. His chance will come this Fall as he could be the most talented and complete receiver on the Ole Miss roster. He burned a redshirt last season, but other than a leaping touchdown grab against UT-Martin. Speed, body control and that leaping ability are what set Lodge apart.

Redshirt Freshman

Van Jefferson was the “other” receiver in the Rebels’ 2015 recruiting class, but would have made for quite the haul even if he had been the only receiver. Like Pack, Jefferson’s skill set will likely bet suit him for the slot position. Jefferson is fast, but more impressive is his quickness. After spending a year getting stronger and watching from the sidelines it’s hard not to see him making an impact this fall. He is simply too goo not to. His father works in the NFL so there’s no doubt Jefferson knows what it takes to get to that level, but he also has the talent to do so.


Photo via Ole Miss Sports
Photo via Ole Miss Sports /

The debate as to who was Mississippi’s best high school receiver between DK Metcalf and AJ Brown last season became heated. For a while it seemed as if your answer depended on if you were a fan of Ole Miss or Mississippi State, but that was all for naught as both ended up in the Rebels’ boat. The show they put on in the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star classic in December was unforgettable and was also a catalyst in Mississippi ending their losing streak to the guys from the Yellowhammer State. Brown, of Starkville High, is a 6-2 receiver who also put on a show in the Under Armour All-American game. His combination of strength and speed remind many onlookers of Treadwell. While Metcalf or “Optimus Metcalf” as he became known by his peers at Oxford High, is more of a unique specimen. His 6-4 frame is chiseled but could even add more weight, and even more ridiculous is his ability to contort his body to make acrobatic catches. The flexibility displayed on said catches is almost as impressive as the numerous one-handed catches he made during his career as a Charger.

Tre Nixon comes to Ole Miss from Florida and was a bit of a surprise pickup when he spurned the favored Georgia Bulldogs in late January in favor of the Rebels. His sub-4.4 speed and 6-1 frame make him a terror, similar to Jefferson, in the slot. Nixon also projects as a threat in the return game which adds exponentially to his value.

While some will now write Ole Miss off as a potential candidate to be WRU with Treadwell gone, those around Oxford or familiar with the Ole Miss program know that the depth they have at receiver going into 2016 is unparalleled by anyone else in college football. The only question is who will emerge as the alpha dog of this immensely talented group of pass catchers.