Ole Miss Football: Matt Luke Releases Surprising Week-One Depth Chart

OXFORD, MS - OCTOBER 28: Head Coach Matt Luke of the Ole Miss Rebels watches his team warm up before a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Hemingway Stadium on October 28, 2017 in Oxford, Mississippi. The Razorbacks defeated the Rebels 38-37. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
OXFORD, MS - OCTOBER 28: Head Coach Matt Luke of the Ole Miss Rebels watches his team warm up before a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Hemingway Stadium on October 28, 2017 in Oxford, Mississippi. The Razorbacks defeated the Rebels 38-37. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

Ole Miss football coach Matt Luke, at his weekly Monday press conference, released the two-deep depth chart for the season opener and there are surprises.

With the 2018 Ole Miss football season just days away we have been focusing on every nugget of information for weeks now. Monday at his weekly press conference, Matt Luke delivered what most of us believe is the holy grail just before the season opener. Luke announced the week-one two-deep depth chart for the game in Houston against Texas Tech. As expected there were the players we knew would be starters and then there are a few surprises.

Of course, Ole Hotty Toddy had made some projections about the Rebels starters for Texas Tech and we were fairly accurate. However, there were some late surprises which clearly point to the depth and talent level of some of the younger Rebels. On the offensive side of the ball the Rebels offensive line will see red-shirt freshman Ben Brown making the start at right guard. On the defensive side of the ball junior Montrell Custis will make the start at nickle-back (STAR) while true freshman Kevontae’ Ruggs gets the start at outside line-backer. Freshman wide-receiver Elijah Moore gets the special teams start on punt return.

Experience Or Youth?

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On the offensive side of the ball the Rebels starting line-up looks very familiar, however there is the move by Luke for red-shirt Ben Brown at right guard. The only other new face we see on that side of the ball is JUCO transfer Scottie Phillips. Both Brown and Phillips had excellent fall camps and obviously impressed Luke and his staff enough to get the starts.

Naturally in 2018 there are quite a few new looks on the defensive side of the ball. The Rebels took a big hit from graduation and the NFL draft and there were gaps left to be filled. After some fierce battles in fall  camp the spots are now filled. Junior Austrian Robinson will be making the start at DE while junior Montrell Custis gets the start at STAR. True Freshman Kavontae Ruggs gets the start at LB.

There are also a number of true-freshmen who are second and third on the depth chart. On offense Elijah Moore is in support behind junior wide-receiver AJ Brown while Miles Battle sits at No.3, behind starter DK Metcalf. Isaiah Woullard will be 3 deep at the running back position behind Phillips. Of course Matt Corral will be the Rebels backup quarterback behind senior Jordan Ta’amu.

On defense Jacquez Jones is slotted to play backup for sophomore Mohamed Sanogo at middle line-backer while Keidron Smith will be backing up Jaylon Jones at corner-back. Another player to watch is JUCO transfer Tariqious Tisdale who will be backing up Austrian Robinson at DE.

Complete Rebels Depth Chart


DaMarkus Lodge, Senior
Braylon Sanders, Sophomore

A.J. Brown, Junior
Elijah Moore, Freshman
Floyd Allen, Senior

Greg Little, Junior
Royce Newman, Sophomore

Javon Patterson, Senior
Bryce Mathews, Sophomore

Sean Rawlings, Senior
Eli Johnson, Sophomore

Ben Brown, RS Freshman
Jordan Sims, Senior

Alex Givens, Junior
Tony Gray, RS Freshman


Dawson Knox, Junior

Octavious Cooley, Junior

D.K. Metcalf, Junior
Alex Weber, Senior
Miles Battle, Freshman

Jordan Ta’amu, Senior
Matt Corral, Freshman

Scottie Phillips, Junior
Eric Swinney, Junior
Isaiah Woullard, Freshman

Offensive Observations

The 2018 Ole Miss starting offensive line-up is very solid. Even with a few younger players on the field Saturday in Houston the Rebels offense should be able to simply hit reset, then start and pick up where they left off in 2017. The experience is certainly there and the depth is also very good.

The fact we get to see freshman receivers Elijah Moore and Miles Battle on the depth chart which shows they have developed thru fall camp. They are the future of the NWO and are both exciting players who will see significant targets 2018.

Offensive line size and experience will make a huge difference in the running game in 2018. This could be a huge year for JUCO transfer Scottie Phillips, junior Eric Swinney and freshman Isaiah Woullard who are all very talented RBs. Expect the Rebels to click fast on offense.


Austrian Robinson, Junior
Tariqious Tisdale, Sophomore

Josiah Coatney, Junior
Sincere David, RS Freshman

Benito Jones, Junior
Ross Donelly, Senior

Qaadir Sheppard, Junior
Victor Evans, Senior
Ryder Anderson, Sophomore

Mohamed Sanogo, Sophomore
Jacquez Jones, Freshman
Zikerrion Baker, RS Freshman

Kevontae’ Ruggs, Freshman
Willie Hibbler, Junior

Montrell Custis, Junior
Vernon Dasher, Junior
Cam Ordway, Senior

Myles Hartsfield, Junior
Javien Hamilton, Senior

Zedrick Woods, Senior
C.J. Miller, Sophomore

C.J. Moore, Senior
Kam’Ron White, RS Freshman

Jaylon Jones, Junior
Keidron Smith, Freshman
Ken Webster, Senior

Defensive Observations

I know it sounds like a broken record but a lot of Ole Miss football fans have been worried about the Rebels defense in 2018. Looking at the depth chart and seeing a lot of freshman doesn’t really do much to calm most fears, especially starting at outside LB in the season opener. However, from what I have heard Ruggs is the real deal at line-backer and a vicious hitter. If he can get used to the speed of the college game and get over the growing pains he will be exciting to watch.

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I believe Austrian Robinson on the outside will be a nightmare for opposing offenses. With Qaadir Sheppard on the other end and Benito Jones and Josiah Coatney in the middle the defensive line will be solid. Having experienced big-bodied backups on the depth chart will aid greatly against the run and take some of the pressure off the linebackers at the second level.

The secondary is exciting and entering 2018 with a lot of talent and experience. The starters are all veterans with a lot of valuable in-game experience. When you look at the entire depth chart you also recognize some familiar names as No.2s. We are certain to see all of theses players in the rotation this season. True freshman Keidron Smith will be one for Ole Miss fans to keep an eye on. Smith had a great fall camp and is a legit corner.


Luke Logan, Sophomore
Patrick Nasiatka, Junior

Mac Brown, Sophomore
Spencer Cole, Junior

Luke Logan, Sophomore
Spencer Cole, Junior

Mac Brown, Sophomore
Floyd Allen, Senior

Jack Propst, Sophomore
Mike Taylor, Junior

Jaylon Jones, Junior
Elijah Moore, Freshman
Tylan Knight, Freshman

Elijah Moore, Freshman
Tylan Knight, Freshman

Special Teams Observations

It’s really difficult to make projections when very little word comes out of Oxford when it comes to special team. What we do know is Luke Logan has already seen D1 action when he replaced an injured Gary Wunderlich. I like to go with experience here because Logan has it. Logan also has a very long and accurate leg and will be solid on kickoffs. Mac Brown as the punter will also be the holder on FGs which I really like.

When it comes to the return game we can see coach Matt Luke is going to have two true freshman handling punts returns. Both Elijah Moore and his back-up Tylan Knight will be fun to watch. I really like not having wide-receiver AJ Brown in the return game unless it’s the only option. Jaylon Jones has developed from a good 2017 will be exciting to watch on kick-off returns. Jones is backed up by both Moore and Knight. The return game should be on cue.

Next. Season Predictions!. dark

Well there it is Rebel Nation. Now we know who our starters and backups will be for the season opener. Overall, I believe the depth chart for Texas Tech looks good. With the possibility of this game being a very fast paced and high scoring shootout it is very likely we will may see a lot of substitutions. The Rebels have a good bit of experience and a lot of talent in their No.2s and No.3s. Of course, even though the Rebels look good on paper we will want to see them look good on the field this coming Saturday. Good luck to the Rebels against Texas Tech. Hotty Toddy!