Stock Report: Five to Watch

Ole Miss opens conference play against Vanderbilt Saturday at 11:20 a.m. Go inside for five players to keep an eye on as kickoff approaches.

Decatur, Ala. | SO-1L
SIZE: 6-1/235
STOCK: En Fuego
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: With Ole Miss unable to field a consistent pass rush through its first two games of the 2010 season, defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix has tried to be creative, mixing and matching his most talented athletes to bring pressure sorely lacking. Some, most notably sophomore linebacker D.T. Shackelford, have played out of position on occasion. Against both Jacksonville State and Tulane, Shackelford lined up at defensive end, predominantly on passing downs. He'll only see his new role expand when the Rebels kickoff with Vanderbilt Saturday, considering he produced when called upon, freeing up his fellow linebackers to get to the quarterback. No player benefited more than Jonathan Cornell, who logged three sacks in New Orleans. In short, Ole Miss needs another viable pass rusher. Almost entirely, Kentrell Lockett commands the opposition's attention off the edge. Also, Ole Miss' stout defensive tackle rotation has seen every blocking scheme in the book, from two-man to even three-man sets. They need, collectively, room to roam. Shackelford can help provide that insurance.
QUOTABLE: "In one way, it makes me think (Coach Nix) wants to use me and that I'm reliable. I can play different positions and make my role more valuable, just more responsibility. I just feel delighted that he trusts me with that amount of responsibility. That's something he asked me to do, and I'll do it to my fullest ability."
WEEK 2 TOTALS: 3 tackles
BEN'S BOLD PREDICTION: 7 tackles, 3 sacks

Olive Branch, Miss. | SR-3L
SIZE: 6-3/205
STOCK: Rising
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: It was a long time coming, but senior wide receiver Markeith Summers exploded in a 27-13 road win at Tulane, setting a new career best with 165 yards receiving. It was the seventh-highest single-game total in Ole Miss history. He was starting quarterback Jeremiah Masoli's go-to receiver, making big play after big play, with none more meaningful than a 61-yard reception in the fourth quarter. Placekicker Bryson Rose added a 29-yard field goal three plays later to virtually seal the game in the Rebels favor. A week later, Summers is set for an encore. The three-year letterman is Ole Miss' greatest vertical threat, a true burner with an ability to blow the top off of coverage downfield. He worked hard in the offseason to sharpen his route-running and explosion out of his cuts, all in an attempt to become the team's clear-cut No. 1. The hard work has paid off so far, but as Ole Miss enters its Southeastern Conference schedule, he'll need to raise his game even more. Similar to Shay Hodge and Mike Wallace before him, Summers is a gifted talent with unlimited potential. He's a wide receiver in the truest form, even if he's a late bloomer. His time is now, starting Saturday.
QUOTABLE: "We've been practicing all them plays and they worked out just how we planned them (against Tulane)."
WEEK 2 TOTALS: 5 receptions, 165 yards, 1 touchdown
BEN'S BOLD PREDICTION: 7 receptions, 126 yards, 1 touchdown

Azusa, Calif. | SR-3L
SIZE: 6-1/235
STOCK: Rising
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Jonathan Cornell is the driving force of Ole Miss' much-maligned defense. Of all the problem areas thus far, he's been the one constant, a one-man wrecking crew who fits where he's supposed to and almost always makes the sure tackle. He's a reliable veteran if there ever was one, sometimes even flashing dominance from his middle linebacker position. So it came as no surprise when defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix leaned on one of his captains at Tulane. The defense was struggling to slow the Green Wave's offense in the second half, almost yielding another comeback against an inferior opponent. All Cornell did was respond to the call of his coach, setting career highs in both total tackles and sacks. He also caused a crucial fumble by Tulane running back Payten Jason with the Green Wave threatening inside the Rebels' 10-yard line. Jason Jones recovered, ending a threat that could have very well swung the game drastically in Tulane's favor. It's safe to assume Cornell will be called upon again Saturday, especially in blitz packages, where he proved effective. And if he keeps at his torrid pace, he'll likely find himself considered for many postseason honors.
QUOTABLE: "Jonathan isn't a flashy player. He's not a big hitter, he's not real flamboyant in his style of play, but I promise you, he is effective," Nix said. "Jonathan is a fundamental tackler. He gets people on the ground, and he's smart enough to understand that is the name of the game, not the ooh and aah hits. Sure, the fans like that, but it's about putting ball carriers on the ground."
WEEK 2 TOTALS: 11 total tackles, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble
BEN'S BOLD PREDICTION: 10 tackles, 2 sacks

#81 K - Bryson Rose
Raleigh, N.C. | SO-SQ
SIZE: 6-0/193
STOCK: Same
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Not often will a placekicker find himself in a stock report, but the work being done by sophomore Bryson Rose bears mentioning. He's made good on all four of his field-goal attempts, as well as his nine point-after attempts. He leads the team in scoring with 21 points, with a long of 41 yards, the best of his career. Rose tops the SEC in every kicking category, including scoring, field goals, field goal percentage and PAT percentage. But more than anything, Rose makes the list because of the upcoming opponent. As any Rebel fan knows, Vanderbilt arguably plays Ole Miss harder than any other conference foe, mainly because the Commodores circle this game as one they can possibly win. Four of the last five meetings between the schools have been decided by 14 points or less. The lone exception was 2009, when the Rebels notched a 23-7 win in Nashville. With bowl ramifications riding on the outcome of Saturday's matchup, Rose could very well decide the outcome. Again, this is Vanderbilt. Just ask Jonathan Nichols about the value of a kicker against the Commodores.
QUOTABLE: "Bryson has been extremely good, a very pleasant surprise for us," Nutt said. "We were worried after spring training because none of our placekickers did very well, but in August Bryson stepped up. I didn't know how he'd respond in front of large crowds, but it has not fazed him. He's been on the money so far."
WEEK 2 TOTALS: 2 for 2 FG, 3 for 3 PATs
BEN'S BOLD PREDICTION: 1 for 1 FG, 4 for 4 PATs

#62 G - Michael Brown
Lexington, Texas | FR-RS
SIZE: 6-5/305
STOCK: Same
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Like Josh Tatum a week ago, redshirt freshman guard Michael Brown makes the list by default. Not only has Ole Miss dealt with the dismissal of the oft-troubled Rishaw Johnson, but Tatum (ankle) was hurt at Tulane. Now Nutt and company dip into their shallow pool of capable linemen, Brown being the next in line. Brown needs to have a strong showing in his first career start, if for nothing more than building continuity within the interior of the offensive line. The front has been a cruel game of musical chairs since August practices, when offensive line coach Mike Markuson was experimenting with multiple combinations to find the best five to put on the field. Size isn't the question with Brown. Worrisome is his youth and inexperience. He's being rushed into action out of sheer necessity. If he can take advantage, it will go a long way in solidifying the most blatant problem area this team has to offer.
QUOTABLE: "I have to get ready. I don't have a choice. It's do or die. I will be accountable. I understand my teammates are counting on me to step it up and that's what I intend to do."
2009 TOTALS: N/A

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